Faiz, Friend of My Soul
Confinement, according to Faiz, is a fundamental experience. He elucidates this encounter with confinement with his romanticism. He says it opens new windows of our souls. I get a vision of miscarriages of time waiting to happen in the womb of our collective consciousness.
Confinement is a tragedy to the body that forces the soul to erupt and crack into enlightenment. Once the cracks start appearing, Faiz holding your hand tells you that it is alright to break down. Dissolution of the self is an evolutionary process. He can expose you to the fascinations of peril and save you from the sorrows of time. He does not offer you any wistful ambiguity; perhaps he does at times.
The overwhelming experience of Faiz’s poetry is an argument for the catharsis it inducts inside the soul of the reader. It is an act of breaking free from the chains of space and time. He, like Mahmoud Darwish, can also tell you:
Singing in a cage is possible
and so is happiness.
It is incumbent on the artist, according to Faiz, to not only observe but also struggle. He wants the poet to observe the restless drops of life in his surroundings and show them to others. He feels that the poet can enter into these fine droplets and change the course of life if he has a deep desire to change and has passion in his blood. He has expected the same from his reader. In his challenge to narratives and representations, his poetry is an invitation to rethink.
A relentless humanist, a hopeless romantic, and a heartbroken patriot, Faiz is everything that life can offer. He is no stranger to the festivities and griefs of the human. His oeuvre is the adjudicator of humanity. Faiz, to me, was the last humanist of the twentieth century who embraced everything human. In his riveting desire for renewal, he reinvents himself with every poem. His verse has an unmatched sense of liberation. The more argumentative he gets with the ambiguity of his poetic persona, he still maintains the clarity of thought in it.
His poetry is a summon, a declaration of light and thunder that shakes the darkness of death to its core. He caresses your tenderest branches, prunes them, and pulls you beneath the floorboards simultaneously. His poetry has seductive aesthetics. His verses have movements like waves on the full-moon night.
His poetry dissolves forms and their meanings. He is playful in perception and understanding. Although his metaphors do not give you an image of perfection, however, they still lure your cognition sensuously to create a sense of beauty. He necessitates it for the reader to have a transcendental experience. He eases you so that you can go beyond the restraints of free creativity, reason, convention, and moral dictions.
He gives a surrealistic asylum to your personal or private symbolism. The elegance of his language is picturesque and musical. His poetry creates translucence among arbitrary notions of reality and enunciates a harmony of separate notes. He calls for himself in every verse he delivers and lets you believe that it’s your calling. He creates an impulse that only he can address.
Faiz can fool you into believing that the world can be a polite place. He can create delightfully charming and soothing images, and once he finds you in your comfort, he brawls with your serenity and rejigs your sense of reality. His poetry can be conveniently merciless. He may dazzle your eyes, but he enriches your soul. That, my friend, is Faiz.
ye aae sab mere milne vaale
ki jin se din raat vaasta hai
pe kaun kab aaya, kab gaya hai
nigaah o dil ko khabar kahaan hai
khayaal su-e-vatan ravaan hai
samundaron ki ayaal thaame
hazaar vahm-o-guman sambhale
kai tarah ke sawaal thaame
All these are my visitors.
They come and go as they please.
And I am not concerened.
My thoughts are elsewhere –
over the seas –
bruised, bleeding –
my land, my home.
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