Faiz Ahmad Faiz, one of Pakistan’s leading poets and a fellow townsman of Allama Muhammad Iqbal, is an intellectual who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, won the Lenin Peace Prize and was honoured with the Nishan-e-Imtiaz. We publish the poem “Do Not Ask My Love” penned by Faiz, who died on November 20, 1984, with the translation of Agha Shahid Ali.
Faiz Ahmad Faiz*
Do not ask, my love, for the love we had before:
You existed, I told myself, so all existence shone,
Grief for me was you; the world’s grief was far.
Spring was ever renewed in your face:
Beyond your eyes, what could the world hold?
Had I won you, Fate’s head would hang, defeated.
Yet all this was not so, I merely wished it so.
The world knows sorrows other than those of love,
Pleasures beyond those of romance:
The dread dark spell of countless centuries
Woven with silk and satin and gold brocade,
Bodies sold everywhere, in streets and markets,
Besmeared with dirt, bathed in blood,
Crawling from infested ovens,
My gaze returns to these: what can I do?
Your beauty still haunts me: what can I do?
The world is burdened by sorrows beyond love,
By pleasures beyond romance,
Do not demand that love which can be no more.
(*): Faiz Ahmad Faiz was born on February 13, 1911, in the city of Sialkot, the hometown of Allama Muhammed Iqbal. Recognized as the country’s foremost intellectual and poet after the foundation of Pakistan, Faiz Ahmad Faiz published his first poetry book in 1941 and he went on with publishing five more poetry books. Faiz Ahmad Faiz, who revealed both his romantic feelings and socialist thoughts with his poems written in Urdu and Punjabi languages, was among the men of letters who founded the Pakistan Progressive Writers Union.
He was also an active member of the African-Asian Writers Union who worked as a teacher, military officer, journalist, trade unionist and publisher, apart from being a prominent man of literature. Faiz Ahmad Faiz, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature and won the Lenin Peace Prize, died on 20 November 1984. The poet, whose works still have an influence on the Pakistani literature, was awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, the country’s highest civilian award, by the Government of Pakistan in 1990, six years after his death.
On the occasion of the 100th birthday of the poet, who lent his name to the Faiz Ahmad Faiz Road where the PakTurk International Schools & Colleges Islamabad Girls Branch is located, the Government of Pakistan had proclaimed the year 2011 as the Year of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and organized various events.