Living a Faiz ghazal/nazm: The latest occurrence

The poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz is of an unparalleled lyrical quality, which may help to explain why so many singers have rendered his compositions so soulfully.

For those who have not the voice to render it a way that people will listen entranced (those with voices like me), they can just have the solace of living the sentiments expressed in Faiz’s ghazals and nazms and humming them under the breath or softly, in tribute.

I must here, at the risk of setting up a diversion, note that living out poetry is not a exclusive preserve of some of us, present on this planet on a higher mission, but can be the preserve of anyone…. so long they have some idea of literature and more importantly, the sense to recognise the parallels.

As I said, I have often lived out Faiz‘s poetry…. Like this evening of June 19 of Year of the Glorious Uncertainty 2011 …. It was a brief moment as paths crossed and just spanning a few seconds but was quite significant. I could go and on and on about it, but a Faiz couplet best expresses it….

Bhule se muskura to diye the voh aaj Faiz
Mat pooch val-vale dil-e-naa-kardakar ke

Well, that seems the only thing I can say about this. Lets see what the future brings.

This is not the only time my life has been characterised by a Faiz sher. Take the ghazal it comes from only…. there are times (at least thrice heartfelt) when the maqta has been appropriate…. 

Dono jahan teri mohabbat mein haar ke 
Voh jaa raha hai koi shab-e-gam guzaar ke

Or on a more tragic side,

Viraan hai maikada khum-o-sagar udaas hai …. was a spontaneous response as I saw to my horrified disappointment that the bar was shut.

And there was that summer night of 2009, The Year of Gradual Realisation, as I stood outside and watched the sky and thought:

Dil na-umeed to nahi, na-kaam hi to hai
Lambi hai gam ki shaam, magar shaam hi to hai

And sometime next year, as I sat out the night prior to catching an early morning train and came outside to battle sleep…
Dast-e-falak mein, gardish-e-taqdeer to nahi
Dast-e-falak mein, gardish-e-ayyaam hi to hai  

But it was 2009 only when I contemplated some happenings of that rather miserable year, and thought – the strains of its fine rendition by Nayyara Noor running through my mind:

Ham ke thahre ajnabi itne madaaraaton ke baad
Phir banenge aashna kitni mulaaqaaton ke baad

I till do think of it, and the couplet that follows….

Kab nazar mein aayegi bedaag sabz ki bahaar
Khoon ke dhabbe dhulenge kitni barsaaton ke baad

Rather apt as the rainy season approaches….

And then, one of Faiz‘s most famous nazms which came to mind when a needless (as far as I am concerned) misunderstanding with a close friend ended. But then things are still not the same – they never can, in the distance, though cordial, that still persists, or to put it in Faiz’s words:

Mujh se pahli si mohabbat meri mahboob na maang

And I must clarify it is not by me. For me, my feelings can be summarised as:

Laut jaati hai udhar ko bhi nazar kya kije
Ab bhi dilkash hai tera husn magar kya kije

But then reality sinks in … and as the refrain goes:

Aur bhi dukh hai zamaane mein mohabbat ke siva
Raahaten aur bhi hai vasl ki raahat ke siva

And finally, another of the well-known Faiz nazms. This I happened to recall as the last Brigade Day began… though the days’ happenings were a marked improvement over the last two years but still…. But let Faiz express it ( he used it for a much more momentuous occassion but it will serve for me too)

Ye dagh dagh ujala, ye shab-gazidaa sahar
Vo intezaar tha jis kaa, ye wo sahar to nahi
Ye vo sahar to nahi jis ki aarzoo lekar
Chale the yaar ki mil jaayegi kahi na kahi
Falak ke dasht mein taaron ki aakhri manzil…….


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