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Published on 29 Sep 2009 | over 8 years ago

Faiz Ahmad Faiz (1)

Faiz Ahmad Faiz فیض احمد فیض (takhallus: Faiz فیض) was born on 13 February 1911 in Sialkot سیالکوٹ, Punjab, Pakistan (then in British India). This historical city in Punjab, about 40 kilometers southwest of Jammu city, used to be the winter capital of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. It has the distinction of being the birthplace of the two greatest Urdu poets of the twentieth century (Iqbal and Faiz, born 34 years after Iqbal). His parents were Sultan Fatima سلطان فاطمہ (mother) and Sultan Muhammad Khan سلطان محمد خان. Sultan Muhammad Khan had been the Chief Secretary of Emir امیر (the ruler) Abdur Rehman Khan عبدالرحمان خان of Afghanistan افغانستان (Emir: 1880-1901). His three sons were Tufail طفیل (the eldest), Faiz, and Inayat عنایت (the youngest). He practiced law and it seems that although he was not very rich, he was among the prominent citizens of Sialkot.

As a young boy, Faiz would accompany his father every day to the local mosque for the pre-dawn (fajar فجر) prayers where Maulvi Ibrahim Mir Sialkoti مولوی ابراہیم میر سیالکوٹی would give lectures on the Quran (dars-e Quran درسِ قرآن). Later on, in the evenings, he would write letters and read newspapers for him. This helped his literary skills in Urdu and English. Close to his house was a bookshop which rented books at 2 paisas / book. He was an avid reader of Urdu and English books. Also close to his house was a house with a big courtyard (haveli حویلی) where Urdu mushairas were held in winters. They were organized by Pandit Raj Narain Armaan پنڈت راج نرائن ارمان and presided by Munshi Sirajuddin منشی سراج الدین (a friend of Allama Iqbal علامہ اقبال and the Mir Munshi میر منشی or Chief Secretary of the Maharajah of Kashmir). He read poetry in a few of these mushairas and had starting composing poetry in Grade 10. He studied at the Scotch Mission School, and then at Murray College (both in Sialkot). He was fortunate to have teachers like Syed Mir Hassan سید میر حسن (Arabic), whose title was Shams-ul Ulema شمس العلما (the sun of scholars) and who had also taught Allama Iqbal, and Professor Yousuf Saleem Chishti یوسف سلیم چشتی (Urdu), who had written about Allama Iqbals poetry.

He moved to Lahore for his postgraduate education and did his masters in English literature from the GC (Government College), Lahore, Punjab. At Lahore, his literary qualities flourished under teachers like Pitras Bukhari پطرس بخاری and in the company of literary giants like Maulana Abdul Majeed Salik مولانا عبدالمجید سالک, Dr. M.D Taseer ڈاکٹر ایم ڈی تاثیر, Sufi Tabassum صوفی تبسم, Imtiaz Ali Taj امتیاز علی تاج, Charagh Hasan Hasrat چراغ حسن حسرت, Hafeez Jallandhari حفیظ جالندھری, and Akhtar Shirani اختر شیرانی. Being a close friend of Khawaja Khursheed Anwar خواجہ خورشید انور, he also got interested in music. He was among the top students at the GC. Once his English teacher (Professor Langhorn) gave him 165/150 marks in English. When asked how could he award him 165/150 marks, he replied, because I could not give him more. At the GC, frequent tarhi-mushairas طرحی مشاعرہ (mushairas were a line is given and ghazals are composed in the same meter, rhyme, and refrain) were held and the best ashaar were selected for a ghazal for Ravi, راوی the college literary magazine as a ghazal-e murakkab غزلِ مرکب (compound ghazal). Most ashaar in that ghazal used to be by Faiz. Following his masters in English, he did his masters in Arabic from the Oriental College, Lahore. In Lahore, he used to live inside Masti Gate.

( to be continued ... as Faiz Ahmad Faiz (2))

The SInger: Mehdi Hassan مہدی حسن

This ghazal: This gazal was written in jail and is from the collection Dast-e Saba دستِ صبا (hand of the easterly wind) which was published while Faiz was in the Central Jail, Hyderabad, Sindh. He celebrated the publication of the book with his friends in the jail.

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