A teacher, an army officer, a journalist, a trade unionist a broadcaster, and author in Urdu and Punjabi language, Faiz Ahmad Faiz (13 February 1911 – 20 November 1984) left an indelible mark in the literary circles of Pakistan. Hailed as an imminent poet and visionary he remains one of the most celebrated writers of the country.
Born in Punjab, British India, Faiz went on to study at Government College and Oriental College. He went on to serve in the British Indian Army. After Pakistan’s independence, Faiz became the editor to The Pakistan Times and a leading member of the Communist Party before being arrested in 1951 as an alleged part of conspiracy to overthrow the Liaquat Ali Khan administration and replace it with a left-wing government.
Faiz was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature and won the Lenin Peace Prize.
Faiz was released after four years in prison and went on to become a notable member of the Progressive Writers’ Movement and eventually an aide to the Bhutto administration, before being self-exiled to Beirut.
Faiz’s literary work was posthumously publicly honoured when the Pakistan Government conferred upon him the nation’s highest civil award, Nishan-e-Imtiaz, in 1990. He remains a mainstay of popular art in the country with a plethora of artists lending their vocals to his poetry over the years.
Some notable works by artists over the years who sang Faiz are listed down below:
The poetry has lived on and inspired recent artists who have covered the popular rendition by Nayyara Noor, she lent her voice to many Faiz poems and remained a major contributor in mainstreaming them during the heyday of PTV and Radio Pakistan.
A recent rendition of Faiz’s controversial poem titled ‘Kuttay’ covered by an independent act named ‘Nishtar Park’ has garnered great praise and playtime from popular music streaming platforms and youtube.