Message from Faiz

Faiz Ahmad Faiz is the voice of the conscience of the suffering humanity of our times. A voice which is a song as well as a challenge, which has a burning faith and cries out against the agony of its era, a constant endeavor and the thunder of the revolution, as well as the sweet recital of love and beauty. This had particularly affected the colonial economy of India. Thus, according to Faiz:

    The young, smart lads of college, who considered themselves all-powerful, were grovelling in the country lanes in search of livelihood. These were the days when the laughter of the children ceased. Bankrupt farmers left their farms and looked for menial work in cities. Respectable women took to prostitution.

When personal sorrow drank the elixir of world-sorrow, the lovers' love became doubly strong:

    My heart repents neither this love nor the other,
    My heart is spotted with every kind of sorrow,
    Except the mark of repentance.

Faiz is a poet of beauty and love. His message is the reign of beauty and love in the country. The passion for enjoying the beauty of life, his deep attachment to love of self and the agony of the world, his love of humanity, his patriotism, his passion for revolution, his sense of justice, are all metaphors of the agony of love. That agony of love which is the soul of his imagination and feeling, on account of which he illuminates the beauty of both worlds with the desolation of his heart.

He does not agree with the doctrine of art for art's sake, or of existentialism that artistic and social values are things apart. Referring to the poet Keats's famous lines that beauty is love and love is beauty and a beautiful object is an eternal source of joy, Faiz says that, notwithstanding what Keats may have felt, beauty can only be eternal when it is creative, when it inspires the onlooker's enthusiasm, thought and action with promoting more beauty. For Faiz, the testing power of beauty is in its creativity. Beauty is not mere artistic value, it is also a social and moral value:

    The candle of a look, the star of imagination, All these illuminations have come from your gathering.
    Whichever be the source of pain, we ascribe it to you,
    Whatever complaints we have, are on account of you.

If it be the agony of the world, if it is the beloved's face or the hand of the rival,
We responded towards all of these with love.

Faiz wrote a sad revolutionary battle-song, the like of which is not be found in any language of the world:

    For the love of your flower-like lips,
    We were sacrificed on the dry branches of the noose,
    For the desire of the candles of your hands
    We were killed on half-dark paths.

And with revolutionary dignity:

    On our lips the words of the ghazal,
    And the torch of misery in our hands,
    Gather our banners from the place of murder,
    Caravans of other lovers will emerge,
    For whose path our feet have shortened the distances of pain.

Faiz Sahib has said that poetry is not only seeing, it is also struggle and in this struggle, one's participation according to one's ability is not only a demand of life, it is also a demand of art.

Faiz Sahib's philosophy of love is derived from his philosophy of beauty. He was very fond of the verse of Hafiz Shirazi in which the poet considers love to be of everlasting reality. The repetition of this verse is to be found in Faiz Sahib' poetry. In the Lenin Peace Prize speech he had said:

    I believe that humanity which has never been defeated by its enemies will, after all, be successful; even now and at long last, instead of wars, hatred and cruelty, the foundation will rest on the message of Hafiz, an old Persian poet: "Every foundation you see is defective, except the foundation of love, which is faultless.

And Faiz Sahib prays:
    Let us too lift our hands,
    We who do not remember the customary prayer,
    We who do not remember any idol or God except love.

This agony of love is not only a part of the human condition but it is a relationship which extends from one end of the world to another. Faiz Sahib's love for humanity is free from the prejudices of race, colour or nationality. The new literature of protest suggests a radical change and, in the words of Faiz, it confers on us the power of "forcefully spurning the hand of the killer". It does not accept defeat because it is convinced that darkness should and must end.