Faiz Ahmad Faiz was an influential left-wing intellectual, revolutionary poet, and one of the most famous poets of the Urdu language from State of Pakistan. A rising figure and notable member of the Progressive Writers' Movement (PWM), Faiz was an avowed Marxist-communist, long associated member of Russian-backed Communist Party and was a recipient of Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union in 1962. Despite being repeatedly accused of atheism by the political and military establishment, Faiz's poetry suggested his complicated relationship with religion in general and Islam in particular. He was, nevertheless, inspired by South Asia's Sufi traditions.
Faiz was controversially named and linked by Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan's government for hatching the conspiracy against Ali Khan's government, being Plot's central leader which was supported by left-wing military sponsor Major-General Akbar Khan. Having being arrested by Military police, Faiz among with others received a maximum sentence by JAG branch, although his sentence was commuted after the assassination Liaquat Ali Khan in 1951.
One of the foremost poets in the Indian sub-continent, Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born in Sialkot in Pakistan. He studied philosophy and English literature, but poetry and politics preoccupied him more than anything else. For writing poetry that always antagonizes the ruling Žlite and challenges colonial and feudal values, like such rebellious writers as Ngugi of Kenya and Darwish of Palestine, Faiz had to go to jail repeatedly during both colonial and postcolonial times in Pakistan. Inspired by the Marxist ideology, Faiz's poetry exhibits a strong sense of commitment to lower-class people, yet it always maintains a unique beauty nourished by the long, rich tradition of Urdu literature. His love poems are as appealing as his political poems, and he is considered primarily responsible for shaping poetic diction in contemporary Urdu poetry. Which poems deal with love, and which ones with politics? What evidence is there that Faiz is a courageous poet? What is his attitude towards loneliness and death?
Faiz was the first Asian poet to be awarded the Lenin Peace Prize, the Soviet Union's equivalent to the Nobel Prize in 1963. He used traditional meters and rhythms to compose poetry that was a blend of Romanticism and realism. Before his death he was also nominated for the Nobel Prize.
A Prison Evening
Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so very close
as if someone just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon - lovingly, generously -
is turning the stars
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember
this separation from my lover.
This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, so today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment anywhere on this earth.