Faiz Ahmed Faiz: The Luminary of Urdu Poetry

A Poet, Visionary and a true Philosopher of All Seasons

Faiz Ahmed Faiz stands out as one of the best remembered poets of the country. His poetry not only challenged the repressive regimes of that time but also represented strong political views highlighting the concerns of the oppressed.  Faiz Ahmad Faiz was born to Sultan Mohammad Khan in the city of Sialkot on February 1911 hundred and eight years ago. His Father Mohammad Khan was in one point of time the senior minister and interpreter of the king of Afghanistan nearly a hundred years ago. Faiz received his initial education at the prestigious Scotch Mission High School during his school days he showed an extra ordinary interest in Persian, English, Urdu and Arabic.  Later he got admission in the Murray College Sialkot. Faiz had an extraordinary academic life and acquired a B.A and a B.A honors degree besides obtaining two Master’s degrees.  During his Government College days he had a close association with Ahmad Shah Bukhari “Patras” however, Faiz always considered Ghulam Mustafa Tabassum his poetic luminary. Faiz began his first job at Amritsar Anglo Oriental College in 1935.

Faiz Ahmad Faiz owing to his exceptionally profound poetry emerged as one of the most popular poet of the contemporary Urdu poetry.  His style of writing experienced transition in the 1930’s as he shifted his attention from traditional romantic to serious themes for instance, community and politics.  The changing world affairs in the 30’s had a significant bearing on his perspective and resultantly his poetry experienced a paradigm shift that supported pro socialist ideas. Consequently he supported pro socialist and anti-fascist progressive writers of the 1930’s. Moreover he himself initiated the progressive writer’s movement.  During his stay at Amritsar Faiz met his future wife Alys who was a member of the British communist party. In 1941 the couple got married in Srinagar the wedding ceremony was simple with a few guests from the progressive writers besides family and friends. In the aftermath of the partition of Indian Sub-continent Faiz resigned from the British Indian Army and joined Pakistan Times.  Faiz’s extraordinary brilliance caused Pakistan Times to emerge as one of the most sought after dailies of the nation in a short span of time.

  In 1951 Faiz was arrested as part of the Rawalpindi Conspiracy case and was labeled as chief conspirator and a communist representative. He was released in 1955 after spending four years in imprisonment he was of the view that the country had been sold to the neo- imperialist bloc.  Faiz was an ardent communist and therefore his work became immensely popular in Russia and was translated in Russian. Moreover, in 1963 he was awarded the Lenin peace prize.

                                 Some interesting and less known facts about Faiz Ahmed Faiz

  • Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s father Sultan Mohammed Khan and Allama Iqbal shared a great friend ship.
  • In the autumn of 1929 Faiz sought admission in Government College Lahore with an introductory letter addressed to the Principal written by Allama Iqbal.
  • Allam Iqbal was the guest of honor at the Government College annual Mushaira of 1931 therefore Faiz making use of the opportunity recited his poem Iqbal. Faiz won the first prize for this Mushaira moreover his poem was published in the literary journal Ravi.
  • Faiz was instructed by the doctors not to travel by air owing to his failing health. Resultantly Faiz had to travel by train and Sea to Moscow to receive the Lenin Prize that he was awarded.


 The imposition of martial law by General Zia ul Haq caused Faiz to go into exile to Beirut.  During his stay in the foreign land he travelled to many countries. The poems he wrote during his exile not only depicted his frame of mind but implied that he was depressed to be far away from his homeland.  His life was a struggle to establish a society whose foundation was laid on the principals of impartiality and justice.  He used his poetry as a medium to criticize various oppressive regimes and his work enkindled the readers to stand up against all forms of oppression. There is no denying the fact that Faiz is and would always be remembered as a luminary in Urdu literature. His body of work has always provided his reader a sense of direction and purpose. His contributions to the world of literature are astounding as his work speaks volumes. Some of his most popular poems include Subh e Azadi, Dasht e tanhai, Bol ke lab Azaad hai tere and Bahar ayyai.  He passed away in 1984 in the city of Lahore shortly after the news of his nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize in the field of literature surfaced. He shall always be remembered as an ardent supporter of Justice and equality and a true gem of our society.

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