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 “Speak” penned by Faiz, who died on November 20, 1984, with the translation of Azfar Hussain.
Faiz Ahmad Faiz*
Speak, your lips are free.
Speak, it is your own tongue.
Speak, it is your own body.
Speak, your life is still yours.
See how in the blacksmith’s shop
The flame burns wild, the iron glows red;
The locks open their jaws,
And every chain begins to break.
Speak, this brief hour is long enough
Before the death of body and tongue:
Speak, ’cause the truth is not dead yet,
Speak, speak, whatever you must speak.
(*): 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.