Kalyna Review

Faiz Ahmad Faiz translated from the Urdu by Vinita Agrawal

About the author


Faiz Ahmad Faiz (Punjabi, Urdu: فیض احمد فیض ‎, born 13 February 1911 – 20 November 1984) MBE, NI, Lenin Peace Prize was a Pakistani intellectual, revolutionary poet, and one of the most highly regarded writers of the Urdu language, having been nominated four times for the Nobel Prize for literature.


About the translator


Author of Words Not Spoken, Vinita is a Mumbai based, award winning poet and writer. Her poems have appeared in Asiancha, Constellations, The Fox Chase Review, Pea River Journal, Open Road Review, Stockholm Literary Review, Poetry Pacific and over a 100 other national and international journals.  She was nominated for the Best of the Net Awards 2011, awarded first prize in the Wordweavers Contest 2014, commendation prize in the All India Poetry Competition 2014 and won the 2014 Hour of Writes Contest thrice. Her poems have found a place significant national anthologies like Suvarnarekha and Dance with the Peacocks in several international anthologies compiled in Australia.  Recently, she was co judge for the Asian Cha Poetry Contest 2015. She has given readings at two SAARC events in Delhi and Agra. She also read her poetry at Hyderabad at an event organized by the U.S. Consulate to celebrate the Women Poets Of India. She also read for Delhi Poetree where twenty four of her poems were compiled in an anthology titled WordWine and at Cappucino Readings, Mumbai an eclectic platform showcasing poets from all over India.

Original Poem in Urdu, written in London 1978


Mere Dil Mere Musafir

mere dil mere musafir

hua phir se hukm sadir

ke vatan badar hon hum tum

dein gali gali sadayen

karen rukh nagar nagar ka

ke surag koi payen

kisi yar-e-namabar ka

har ek ajnabi se poochen

jo pata tha apne ghar ka


hamein din se rat karna

kabhi is se bat karna

kabhi us se bat karna

tumhein kya kahun ke kya hai

shab-e-gham buri bala hai

hamein ye bhi tha ganimat

jo koi shumar hota

hamein kya bura tha marna

agar ek bar hota




My heart, My Accompanier

Once again it is decreed

that you and I live in exile

that we pine for our land from narrow alleys.

That we wander town to town

looking for our familiar messenger  

that we beseech every stranger

for the address of our old house.

That we trudge amidst these strange dwellings

straying from morning to night

drifting from person to person.

How do I tell you

what a terrible curse are the long nights of grief

but I'd accept even these

if they were numbered.

I wouldn't lament death

if it came to me but once.

Just once.


Ghazal written on 29 January 1959, in the Montgomery Jail


gulo.n me.n rang bhare, baad-e-naubahaar chale

chale bhii aao ki gulshan kaa karobaar chale

qaffas udaas hai yaro, sabaa se kuchh to kaho

kahii.n to bahr-e-Khudaa aaj zikr-e-yaar chale

kabhii to subh tere kunj-e-lab se ho aaGaaz

kabhii to shab sar-e-kaakul se mushkabaar chale

ba.Daa hai dard kaa rishtaa, ye dil Gariib sahii

tumhaare naam pe aaye.nge Gam_gusaar chale

jo ham pe guzarii so guzarii magar shab-e-hijraa.N

hamaare ashk terii aaqabat sa.Nwaar chale

huzoor-e-yaar huii daftar-e-junuu.N kii talab

girah me.n leke garebaa.N kaa taar taar chale

maqaam 'Faiz' koii raah me.n jachaa hii nahii.n

jo kuu-e-yaar se nikale to suu-e-daar chale



Come! So that colors return to flowers and the soft new breeze of spring blows again

Come! So that the garden resumes its business of blooming once more


The cage of my body is sad, my friends

For God's sake, implore the winds to mention my beloved's name at least somewhere today


May at least one dawn begin beneath the bower of lips

May at least one evening advance beneath musk-fragrant tresses


The bonds of pain go deep, no matter how poor the heart

Just the mention of your name will bring my sympathizers to me, I know


Think nothing of the agonies I endure during nights of separation

It is enough that my suffering in solitude safeguards your future


In the fanatic excitement of proving the insanity of their love

Lovers rush dementedly to their beloved clutching their tattered clothes like a knot in their hands


Nothing ever appealed to Faiz more than the beloved's house

When he left her abode, he walked straight to the gallows of death









Aaye kuchh abr kuchh sharaab aaye

us ke baad aaye jo azaab aaye

baam-e-miinaa se maahataab utare

dast-e-saaqii me.n aaftaab aaye

har rag-e-Khuu.N me.n phir charaaGaa.N ho

saamane phir wo benaqaab aaye

umr ke har waraq pe dil ko nazar

terii meher-o-wafaa ke baab aaye

kar rahaa thaa Gam-e-jahaa.N kaa hisaab

aaj tum yaad behisaab aaye

na gaii tere Gam kii saradaarii

dil me.n yuu.n roz inqalaab aaye

jal uThe bazm-e-Gair ke dar-o-baam

jab bhii ham Khaanamaa.N_Kharaab aaye

is tarah apanii Khamashii guu.Njii

goyaa har simt se jawaab aaye

'Faiz' thii raah sar basar ma.nzil

ham jahaa.N pahu.Nche kaamayaab aaye





Let the clouds gather, let the wine flow

Then bring on whatsoever torment you wish to bring


May the moon sink into this goblet of wine

May the sun rise from the hands of the one who serves it


Every vein of blood is ablaze again

As my beloved appears before me unveiled once more


At every stage of life the heart was scarred

With lessons of your love and fidelity


As I took stock of all the world's pain

I thought of you endlessly today


The sovereignty of your pain stayed supreme

Though rebellions surfaced in my heart everyday



I brought destruction to homes of strangers

Every time I, the omen of ruins, arrived


Our silence echoed as though

Answers resounded from every direction

Faiz, the journey itself was the destination

We emerged victorious, wherever we went




bol ki lab aazaad hai.n tere

bol zabaa.N ab tak terii hai

teraa sutawaa.N jism hai teraa

bol ki jaa.N ab tak terii hai

dekh ke aaha.ngar kii dukaa.N me.n

tu.nd hai.n shole surKh hai aahan

khulane lage quffalo.n ke dahaane

phailaa har ek zanjiir kaa daaman

bol ye tho.Daa waqt bahot hai

jism-o-zabaa.N kii maut se pahale

bol ki sach zi.ndaa hai ab tak

bol jo kuchh kahane hai kah le





Speak up! Your lips are free!

Your tongue your own

Upright your body

Your life, your own

Fierce is the blaze at the iron smiths

Red hot the burning iron

The mouths of locks are beginning to open

The ensnaring chains beginning to spread far and wide

So Speak! This brief time before you is enough

Before your tongue and body are silenced forever

Speak! For the truth is still alive

Express whatever you have to say