June 18, 2021
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Remembering Faiz

Remembering Faiz

1984 was tragic for another reason: Faiz Ahmed Faiz died on November 20, 1984,  making it his 25th death anniversary today.

Here's a tribute to the poet -- a film directed by sharjil baloch and shown on BBC Urdu last year: Part I

and Part II:

It might be easier to choose songs that have embedding disabled -- particularly for the rare recordings by the likes of Ustad Barkat Ali Khan -- from this link for the playlist above. Lyrics of most of the ghazals and nazams in the playlist are available on urdupoetry.com

Some translations are here: by V.G. Kiernan from Outlook archives, by Agha Shahid Ali (okay, there are actually transcreations) -- and some juvenilia.  And here's a wonderful commentary -- “The Sky, the Road, the Glass of Wine: On Translating Faiz” -- by Frances W Pritchett.

Aligarians.com has some transliterations and recordings in Faiz's own voice. There are some transliteratins in Roman and Devnagri and in Nastaliq here

More resources

raat yuuN dil meN terii khoii huuii yaad aaii
jaise viraane meN chupke se bahaar aa jaae
jaise sahraaoN meN haule se chale baad-e-nasiim
jaise biimaar ko bevajah qaraar aa jaae


By V.G. Kiernan
Poems By Faiz, p.49

Last night your faded memory so came into the heart
As spring comes in the wilderness quietly,
As the zephyr moves slowly in deserts
As rest comes without cause to a sick man


Last Night
Last night your faded memory filled my heart
Like spring's calm advent in the wilderness,
Like the soft desert footfalls of the breeze,
Like peace somehow coming to one in sickness.


By  Vikram Seth
Mappings, Pg 43

Last night your faded memory came to me
As in the wilderness spring comes quietly,
As, slowly, in the desert, moves the breeze,
As, to a sick man, without cause, comes peace.


By Daud Kamal
The Unicorn and the Dancing Girl, Pg 28
The Curve of Memory

Last night
I thought
Of you
All the deserts
With zephyrs.
Was everywhere
My dying heart
Came back
To life.


By Shiv K. Kumar
Faiz Ahmed Faiz: Selected Poems, Pg 3

Last night a fugitive memory of you slid into my heart
as though a wilderness was quietly touched by springtide,
as though some breeze came soughing through a desert,
as someone sick, for no reason, felt reclaimed


By Agha Shahid Ali
Rebel's Silhouette, Pg 3

Last Night

At night my lost memory of you returned

and I was like the empty field where springtime,
without being noticed, is bringing flowers;

I was like the desert over which
the breeze moves gently, with great care;

I was like the dying patient
who, for no reason, smiles


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