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Faiz of Pashto poetry also deserves reverence

June 23, 2013

WITH the name Faiz, legendary and progressive Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz comes to one’s mind. The listener or reader becomes sure that it is about Faiz Ahmed Faiz if the word poet and poetry is also mentioned with the name.

It is because most of the Urdu readers don’t know that there is another Faiz, who is perhaps the youngest poet of Pashto language. Even the new generation of Pashto readers also knows little about this great poet, who left a treasure of poetry despite the fact that he spent a short span of time in this world.

Sa ghajanay shan naghmay awredal kegi Pa sehra kay charta Faiz ghazal sara day (Listen to the tragic songs It seems Faiz is humming in the desert)

Faizullah Faiz died of tuberculosis in 1967 when he was only 24, which was considered an incurable disease at that time, but he is still alive in his poetry as he has personified his grief, sorrow, hope and the circumstances of his age in his poems and ghazals.

Born in 1943, Faiz couldn’t continue his studies after grade V as he was affected by tuberculosis. He was admitted to Liaquat Memorial Hospital and then taken to Dadar Sanitarium for treatment but he couldn’t survive.

Being a TB patient he was kept in isolation as healthy people were afraid of being infected by the disease due to interaction with the patient. Though the disease couldn’t dent his will, yet he complained to Allah Almighty against his loneliness.

Ma pa yo moti zarhgi kay ta abad krahy Sta pa domra loi jahan k may zai nishta (I have accommodated you in my fist-like small heart But there is no room for me in your vast world)

Faiz, a native of Karak district, died young as one of his teachers, Wazir Zada, had predicted about him. “Such brilliant children don’t live for long. He will become famous across the world if death doesn’t snatch him from us,” the teacher was quoted as saying about him.

Faiz didn’t surrender to the disease and continued to write tirelessly until his last breath. He wrote his masterpiece poem ‘TB’ just one week before his death. He struggled with the disease but didn’t stop to read books, newspapers and magazines despite the instructions of doctors to take as much rest as he could.

His first poetry book ‘Da Zwand Pegham’ (The message of life) was published when he was only 15 but even his preliminary writings have all the qualities of great poetry.

“Faiz is not a graduate of the college of arts and literature. He has not got an opportunity to read the books of great writers of other countries. However, nature has taught him in its own school the knowledge, which can’t be confined to a building of college,” says Andesh Shamsul Qamar, a renowned Pashto poet and friend of Faiz.

The foreword of his first book was written by Andesh as both the great poets were admitted to Dadar Sanitarium for treatment of tuberculosis.

According to Andesh, Faiz deeply studied his society, people and collective life of his nation. He is a representative writer of his age and a poet of love and humanity.

The second book of Faiz ‘Khob au Khial’ (Dream and thought) was published in 1964 while his third book ‘Nemgarhi Armanoona’ (The unaccomplished wishes) was published in 1980 well after his death.

Recently Qadir Shah and Siraj Khattak have collected and compiled all the published and unpublished poetry of Faiz to pay homage to this great poet and introduce him to the new generation of Pashto readers. The book entitled ‘Da Faiz Kulyat’ has been published by a literary organisation of district Karak, Al-Noor Adabi Tolana Ganderi Khattak.

However, it is difficult to say that the book contains all his unpublished poetry. The compilers of the book themselves say that they have some other poems of Faiz but they are suspicious about their authenticity so they haven’t been included in the book. Now it is for the researchers and academicians to come forward and determine the authenticity of these poems.

The articles of renowned writers Andesh Shamsul Qamar, Hamesh Khalil, Ikramullah Ikram, Prof Rehmatullah Dard, Abdul Rahim Majzoob, Dr Mohammad Azam Azam (late), Saleem Raz, Dr Iqbal Naseem Khattak, Dr Rajwali Shah Khattak, Prof Fazl Wali Nagar, Heran Khattak, Dr Israr, Akhtar Zaman Khattak and Banaras Khan Khattak are also included in the book that made it more interesting and informative.

The poetic tribute of M.R. Shafaq, Prof Noor Shahjehan Anwar, Saleem Raz and Hazrat Zubair Zubair are also part of the book.

Akhtar Zaman Khattak (late) in his article on Faizullah Faiz compared him with English poet Keats. Both of them died at a young age and contributed a lot to the literature of their respective languages.

Love, humanity, nationalism and sufferings of downtrodden are significant topics of Faiz’s poetry. Besides glorifying Islamic virtues in his poetry, Faiz has also written heart touching pieces on his personal sufferings and generalised them to make them a common property of the entire human race.

His poems on sufferings of downtrodden placed him among top progressive poets. Some of his poems like ‘TB’, ‘Srheekay’ and ‘Da Loyo Loyo Qudratoono Khudaya’ can be termed, without any exaggeration, masterpieces of Pashto poetry.

The compilers of ‘Da Faiz Kulyat’ have vowed to collect and publish his letters and prose soon. The publishing of 640-page ‘Da Faiz Kulyat’ is a laudable effort on the part of the compilers, however, other Pashto writers and researchers should contribute in this regard to rediscover the great poet, who deserves reverence but is receding into oblivion.