When Faiz wrote, laut jaati hai udher ko bhi nazar, kya kijiye, I felt that

November 26, 2023

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was not just the voice of those times and that generation, his words still – and possibly always will – resonate with people, anywhere.

When Faiz wrote, laut jaati hai udher ko bhi nazar, kya kijiye, I felt that


here is nothing more electrifying, energizing, than being young and full of revolution. Except, of course, for being older, settled, and full of revolution, because you suddenly realize there is only so much active life allotted to everyone, and if you don’t start at least taking small steps to the change you want to see in the world, you may as well never be it.

Nothing further lights a fire under you faster than realizing that, whether the world or simply your own limited society, your life and its residue, is the legacy you’re leaving behind for the children, some of which might even be your own.

You may have these thoughts during sleepless nights, or in the middle of a regular day, or as you scroll through the news so readily available to you on your phone. And if you think that you aren’t doing anything worthwhile with that fire, and no one could ever relate to the rage and impotence you feel simultaneously, please meet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Although Faiz has not only been a prominent voice calling for change, which fortuitously met his literary calling, he has also been one of those romantic figures from the olden days who were jailed and exiled, or worse.

When Faiz wrote, laut jaati hai udher ko bhi nazar, kya kijiye, I felt that

The man has an MBE, while you have the crushing weight of zero assets, and an infinite barrage of information slung at you every second of the day. What do you, you absolute nobody, have in common with Faiz Ahmed Faiz?

If you go through his work, and can’t help but pick favorites, you will find that you have plenty in common with one of Pakistan’s strongest poetic and political voices. You’re both human, Pakistani, and regardless of station in life, at the mercy of global politics and economics, and the whims of whoever is in seats of power at any given time.

One of Faiz’s most popular and most-sung poems has to be Mujh Se Pehli Si Mohabbat Mere Mehboob Na Maang. The poet famously turned over ownership of the poem to Madame Noorjehan, who sung it first, cementing the iconic tune and the place it has held in Pakistani music since.

Mujh Se Pehli Si Mohabbat… can be looked at as a lover asking his beloved to forgive him for not loving them as they did before, or not loving them with the innocence of first love.

In Naqsh e Faryadi, the collection that holds this particular poem, the age of innocence has passed.

When Faiz wrote, laut jaati hai udher ko bhi nazar, kya kijiye, I felt that

While most of us don’t share Faiz’s life experiences, we do share the sentiment. We cannot help but be pulled down by events that may not directly have anything to do with us. We could still have a roof over our heads and be grateful for that, but we will anguish for basic amenities that while unavailable across the board – like gas in the winter – will hit certain neighborhoods and businesses harder.

We could be angry about the fact that in maybe 65 years of stabilized existence, Pakistanis have been failed time and again by government and structure for the most basic things. We could rage silently over how as a nation, we will still fall into petty squabbles when discussing broader world issues and their impact on us, like the war in Palestine. Quite like Faiz, we have learnt, the hard way, aur bhi dukh hain zamane mein mohabbat ke siwa: later Pakistani generations were never given a chance to breathe before the next crises hit.

When Faiz speaks, we listen, and through the decades, even almost 40 years on since his death, we feel it. 

When Faiz wrote, laut jaati hai udher ko bhi nazar, kya kijiye, I felt that