Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born in 1911 in Sialkot and was educated in Lahore, where he studied English literature and philosophy. As a poet, Faiz began writing on the conventional topics of passion and beauty, but soon these conventional themes get submerged in the bigger social and political events of the day. The traditional grieves of love get fused with the travails of the afflicted humanity, and Faiz uses his poetry to champion the cause of socialism humanism. Consequently, the familiar imagery of a love-poet acquires new meanings in the hands of Faiz... This turning away from romanticism to realism, is beautifully suggested on his verse forms. His verse is a vehicle of serious thought, and not a mere pleasurable pastime.
A big heap of his poetry follows the conventions of Ghazal, the classical form of traditional Urdu poetry, which had been influenced by Persian literature, Faiz often addresses poems to his "beloved", a central word in the Ghazal vocabulary. His most famous Ghazal poem is “Before you came”. Visual and colorful in its effects, the poem opens with an indication of the demarcation lines of sight, what the eye cannot see and what the heart cannot behold. Each color moves on from the merely visible to the vividness of mental imagery and emotion. So it is the yellow and then the color of delight in a vision of the beloved and then the color gray, the time of boredom and apathy. The color of poison, the color of blood and the vividness of the dark night and colors reflected in an ever-changing mirror, stretch the visible to its limits, acquiring new shades and evocative of moods and tones. Such is the power of Faiz’s poetry that he makes colors speak a different language. Faiz is a poet of unexpected colors and colors...
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... observation of changing light in his prison cell and the pain of separation from the beloved creates the energy of hope while in prison. Paradoxically, the anguish of separation becomes a condition of hope and makes possible the energy of political commitment and the poem that expresses it.
There is a lot more than one could say about Faiz’s poetry, such as the measured pace of his couplets that strike a note of sorrowful reflection, and his use of the grammatical properties of Urdu and Persian to create compounds of meaning and shades of subtlety that evoke the complex energies of political commitment.
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