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Old Tuesday, February 21, 2006
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Default Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was born in 1911 at Sialkot and was educated at Lahore, where he studied English literature and philosophy. He began his career as a lecturer
in English at Amritsar. After the second World War, he turned to journalism and distinguished himself as the editor of The Pakistan Times. He was charged
with complicity in the Rawalpindi conspiracy case and was condemned to four years' imprisonment in 1951. The jail term gave him a first-hand experience
of the harsh realities of life, and provided him with the much-needed leisure and solitude to think out his thoughts and transmute them into poetry. Two
of his books, Dast-e-Saba and Zindan-Nama are the products of this period of imprisonment.

As a poet, Faiz began writing on the conventional themes of love and beauty, but soon these conventional themes get submerged in the larger social and political
issues of the day. The traditional griefs of love get fused with the travails of the afflicted humanity, and Faiz uses his poetry to champion the cause
of socialistic humanism. Consequently, the familiar imagery of a love-poet acquires new meanings in the hands of Faiz... This turning away from romance
to realism, from Eros to Agape, is beautifully suggested in his poem (a nazm), "mujh se pehli si mohabbat meri mahboob na maang."

In the matter of diction and style, Faiz may be called the inheritor of the tradition of Ghalib. His admiration for Ghalib is also reflected in the title
of his first published work, Naqsh-e-Faryadi, which comes straight from the opening line of the first ghazal of Diwan-e-Ghalib. Although he has written
poems in a simple, conversational style, he has a marked preference for polished, Persianised diction, the diction of the elite rather than of the commoners.
But because of the universality of his thought and sympathetic vision, and because of his perfect handling of the ghazal, his poetry is read and admired
in both parts of the Indian sub-continent.

Faiz is a "committed" poet who regards poetry as a vehicle of serious thought, and not a mere pleasurable pastime. He does not accept the maxim of "art
for art's sake". An admirer of Karl Marx and a poet of the people, Faiz was honoured by Soviet Russia with the prestigious Lenin Award for Peace and his
poems have been translated into the Russian language. His poetical collections include Naqsh-e-Faryadi (1943), Dast-e-Saba (1952), Zindan-Nama (1956) and
Dast-e-Tah-e-Sang (1965).

Faiz passed away in 1984.


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