Faiz Ahmad Faiz was born in 1911 at Sialkot and is one of the most highly regarded Urdu poets of the 20th century. As a poet, Faiz began writing on the conventional themes of love and beauty, but soon these conventional themes got submerged in larger social and political issues of the day. The traditional grief of love gets fused with the travalls of the afflicted humanity, and Faiz used his poetry to champion the cause of socialistic humanism.
The poetic works of the late legendary poet has won the hearts of the people of south asia. His first published accumulation was naqsh-e-faryadi, which inspired many young poets. In 1971, after the bifurcation of united Pakistan, the newly elected government appointed him as a cultural adviser, the period, in which he laid the foundation of the Pakistan national council of arts(PNCA). Faiz’s poems flash a deep background against righteous and impishness, though he tried to pull out these things from the society so everyone could leave with peace and love. His remarkable books were nuskha-e-haiwafanaqsh-e-faryadidast-e-sabazindannama and dast-e-tah-e-sang.
Faiz was the first Asian poet who was awarded with the lenin peace prize by the former soviet union in 1963. He was also nominated for the noble prize shortly before his death in 1984. He remained extremely influential in Pakistan and his work continues to influence the country’s literature and arts. Faiz was publicly honored by the Pakistan Government after his literary work was publicly endorsed and posthumously honored him with nation’s highest civil award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, in 1990 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.
At the ceremony held in grand Kremlin hall in Moscow, Faiz received the award with stage full of Russian attendees, Faiz thanked the Russian government for conferring the honour, and delivered the acceptance speech at the ceremony, which appears as a brief preface to his collection Dast-i-tah-i-Sang (Hand under the rock) is a great piece of humanist literature, as he delivered:
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 was one the greatest urdu poets. He gave a new dimension to Urdu poetry by introducing new phrases and innovative terms in it. He wrote on various subjects. Most of his poetry is autobiographical. His poem ‘Yad’ is one of the masterpieces of Urdu poetry. His love poems are as appealing as his political poems, and he is considered primarily responsible for shaping poetic diction in contemporary Urdu poetry.
Freedom’s Dawn- Faiz Ahmed Faiz
These tarnished rays, this night-smudged light –
This is not that Dawn for which, ravished with freedom,
we had set out in sheer longing,
so sure that somewhere in its desert the sky harbored
a final haven for the stars, and we would find it.
We had no doubt that night’s vagrant wave would stray towards the shore,
that the heart rocked with sorrow would at last reach its port.
Friends, our blood shaped its own mysterious roads.
When hands tugged at our sleeves, enticing us to stay,
and from wondrous chambers Sirens cried out
with their beguiling arms, with their bare bodies,
our eyes remained fixed on that beckoning Dawn,
forever vivid in her muslins of transparent light.
Our blood was young – what could hold us back ?
Now listen to the terrible rampant lie:
Light has forever been severed from the Dark;
our feet, it is heard, are now one with their goal.
See our leaders polish their manner clean of our suffering:
Indeed, we must confess only to bliss;
we must surrender any utterance for the Beloved – all yearning is outlawed.
But the heart, the eye, the yet deeper heart –
Still ablaze for the Beloved, their turmoil shines.
In the lantern by the road the flame is stalled for news:
Did the morning breeze ever come? Where has it gone?
Night weighs us down, is still weighs us down.
Friends, come away from this false light.
Come, we must search for the promised Dawn
Theme of the Poem
The poet writes this work on the eve of Indian independence, with a sense of melancholy about the fruits of labour, he verifies that this is not the independence that was sought after. The poem begins on a dark note with disillusionment, the bittersweet nature of the triumph. It goes on to describe the single mindedness with which the voyages of this journey resisted the temptations of fancy., and when dawn finally appeared, when the storm clouds cleared then came a sense of clarity between the struggle and the goal. The poet then goes on to describe that the comrades are changing, how in which gratification is sought more than angst, and the pain of partition does not weigh on their apparent disposition. The fine breeze of dawn has just passed by and the wayside lamp barely noticed. The gravity of night has not lightened, and the time for redemption has not yet arrived, so the poet urges his comrades and compatriots to keep walking, for that destination is not in sight.
The isolated experience of confinement led Faiz Ahmed Faiz to compose verse. The theme of this emotionally charged poems is the disillusionment surrounding the partition of India. In an evocative poem entitled Subh-e-Azad (Freedom’s Dawn) Faiz has alluded to Indian Independence in 1947 as a “much-stained radiance”. His disappointments originated from the belief that despite the acquisition of political freedom from pre-partition tyranny, the scope for economic freedom was still very bleak.
Critical Appreciation of Freedom’s Dawn
Faiz Ahmad Faiz was an influential, intellectual and revolutionary poet. Faiz’s poetry has a more naunced relationship with religion in general and with Islam in particular. He wrote to arise patriotic feelings in people of the country. Due to this reason, he was sentenced by government for a short period of time. His writing style was influenced by Ghalib in diction and style. His language is simple with elite diction.
The Dawn of Freedom is a bitter lamentation of the false dawn of independence and the betrayal of the ideals of the movement to gain freedom, dignity and economic justice. Faiz’s poem “Freedom’s Dawn, August 1947, captures the desolation of independence and partition. It is a lyrical rendition that represents the aesthetic mood of an unrequited love and shies away from the violence and dehumanisation of partition. Crucially the journey to freedom remains unfinished.
In the poem “Freedom’s Dawn”, there is a sense of tragedy. Faiz wrote this poem in August 1947 when Pakistan came into being. In the poem, there is an expression of tragedy and possibility of ordinary people caught in the world wind of historical events such as refugee crisis, communalism, rape and horror of partition. The poet says that although this is the same dawn, we have been waiting for a long time. We expected this morning of freedom be filled with brightness, sense of security and victory but it is not so. The poet is hopeful of finding such a dawn:
Dil kay aywaan main liye gulshada shamon ki qatar
Noor Khurshid say sehmay huay uktaiy huay
Husan-e-mehboob kay sayal-e-tasawar ki tarah
Apni tariki ko bhenchay huay lapetay huay
He resembles the hope of finding peaceful place to live with the hope of finding water in desert or finding the last group of star before rising sun. His claiming of sky as desert is dejecting which shows that he is worried for his country’s miserable condition. He still has the hope of fearless and peaceful meaning without injuries or suffering. He says continuous struggle can fulfill our dream of restful dawn, a dawn without worries, bloodshed and sorrows of losing our dear ones in wars, bomb blasts or other acidents. He says that the time of pain is moving slowly but we should be hopeful that the bad time will vanish soon. The hurdles which we are facing due to partition would be leapt soon, our emotional anguish would find rest, is the hope of the poet.
He, in the second stanza, says that when youth sets out on mystic journeys to win the battle of their rights, there are many people who attempts to stop them; their family, home, relations, comforts etc. But the charm of freedom has far more attraction in it. They want to see the nation (muslims) free from the oppression of tyrant rulers, so that they can live happy and with contment. The dream of separate homeland is dearer to tiredness, sufferings and troubles.
But when the battles of freedom came to an end, there is the waiting of fruits of struggle. But at the moment, what observes is that success is a journey and not a destination. There is much to be done. Apart from other grief, there is another problem which people are going to face. The grief is corrupted behaviour of leaders. He says that although there should be the scenes of joy and celebration but there is something which is making the dawn sorrowful. Perhaps he wants to say that tyranny of foreign people is sad but the disloyality of own people is heart breaking. He asks himself that if the war is over then why there is no feeling of security. The lights and brightness of freedom are still dim. He advises his companions in the end, that war is not over yet. It is just the change of phase. Our enemy is changed now. The enemy, now, is more strong and clever. We still need to work harder and harder to reach the destination of what we dreamt for, a place to live according to riles of Islam.
Symbolism in Faiz’s Poem ‘Dawn of Freedom’
First of all Dawn (from an Old English verb dagian “to become day”) is the time that marks the beginning of the twilight before sunrise. Dawn means the first appearance of daylight in the morning.
As a symbol, the dawn can have most of the meanings generally associated with light (e.g., enlightenment, vitality). More particularly, the dawn is the emergence of a new stage of life, a new understanding, or a new start, and the emergence from darkness.
Ye dagh dagh ujala, ye shab-gazida sahar,
Wo intizar tha jis-ka, ye wo sahar to nahiñ,
Ye vo sahar to nahiñ jis-ki arzu lekar
Chale the yar ke mil-jaegi kahiñ na kahiñ;
In the first stanza Faiz has drawn the picture of dawn. He has used the imagery with the words “day break”, “desired crack”, “stars in the sky”. From this imagery he has conveyed the enriching situation of the Muslims of that day. He has referred to the struggle of the independence of Muslims of the sub-continent. The meaning beneath this stanza refers to that ideology for which Muslims of the sub-continent fought against.
Falak ke dasht main taroñ ki akhiri manzil,
Kahiñ to hoga shab-e sust mauj ka sahil,
Kahiñ to jake rukega safina-e-gham-e-dil.
In the second stanza Faiz is hopeful for the day and the misery and struggle will come to an end. He has symbolized the struggle that is going on within Muslims community, mauj ka sahil, and safina-e-gham-e-dil. In the next two lines he has represented the tragedy of Muslims as ‘Jawan Lahu’ which in English is something “exicted or passionable in nature”. The aim of the Muslims to get an independent state was fresh but on the other hand Faiz says that ‘Chale jo yar to daman pe kitne hath pare’ in English represents the hurdles as well as hindrances which stopped Muslims to achieve their purpose.
Jawañ lahu ki pur-asrar shahrahoñ se
Chale jo yar to daman pe kitne hath pare;
In the above two lines of third stanza the poet depicted the thoughts of Muslims. It is about what they thought while fighting for a separate nation. They had a lot expectation with this demand for separate nation. He closed the words which inspires soul to the poem. He has told us that how firm believe Muslim had in this demand they thought independent nation will bring a full stop to their tragedies. This paragraph has captured the temptation that was residing in Muslim’s heart. This is about their faith, their hope and expectations.
Faiz’s Dawn of Freedom was written in August 1947 on the 60th anniversary of India’s Independence and the eve of Bhagat Singh’s Birth Centenary.
Its words are as hauntingly familiar, as evocative, as inspiring as they were 60 years ago. Then, its view of “this night-bitten dawn”, stained by the communal bloodshed of partition,
mocked at the triumphalism of Nehru’s Tryst With Destiny speech which announced that “India will awake to life and freedom”.
His tone varies from stanza to stanza for example in his first stanza pessimistic tone has been found as it reminds us of gloomy and dark situation .In the second stanza deep and reflective tone has been found that analyze the content of the independent war. His third stanza is satirical and realistic. He has told us about the harsh realities but in the end he gives faith to Muslim that destiny is not much far. In the last stanza the poet adopts harsh tone and he seems to be in satirical mode. He declares that fancy has become the reality but it has not brought the fruit “that all the battles have been fought” but he stress that the main aim for which the struggle was set on is yet unfulfilled. He symbolizes this independence as a “false dawn”. He does not consider this independence as a real independence and he forces that this desire remained unfulfilled.
The whole poem can be summed up in one line where he asks “when did it comes and where has it gone”. He is saying that we have forgotten our real aim and adopted a false one. The real aim was establishment of a peaceful society in a cordon with this aim where no anarchy flourishes but the outcome has been opposite to what it should have been. Last four lines reflect Faiz’s in the union of humanity when he negates “the moment of our freedom”. He dictates us the lesson of brotherhood and unity. He says that we can only reach to our freedom and destination when we believe in peace.
Subh-e Azadi” (“Dawn of Freedom”) by the brilliant Urdu Marxist poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, best expresses to me the sense of tragedy and possibility of 1947 for ordinary people caught in the worldwind of historical events: an independence brokered through ethnic cleansing, refugee crisis, communalism, rape, and horrors of partition.
The poet writes this work on the eve of Indian independence, with a sense of melancholy about the fruits of labour, he verifies that this is not the independence that was sought after. The poem begins on a dark note with disillusionment, the bittersweet nature of the triumph. It goes on to describe the single mindedness with which the voyages of this journey resisted the temptations of fancy., and when dawn finally appeared, when the storm clouds cleared then came a sense of clarity between the struggle and the goal. The poet then goes on to describe that the comrades are changing, how in which gratification is sought more than angst, and the pain of partition does not weigh on their apparent disposition. The fine breeze of dawn has just passed by and the wayside lamp barely noticed. The gravity of night has not lightened, and the time for redemption has not yet arrived, so the poet urges his comrades and compatriots to keep walking, for that destination is not in sight
The darkness of the night has not ended yet. The moment of liberation of hearts and minds Has not come yet. Keep going, for we have not come To the end of our journey yet!? The Dawn of Freedom is a bitter lamentation of the false dawn of independence and the betrayal of the ideals of the movement to gain freedom, dignity and economic justice. So, Faiz’s poem Freedom Dawn also symbolizes Muslims faith, their expectations, their hope, their determinations as well as their sufferings in particular.