sabhi kuchh hai tera diya hua, sabhi rahatein, sabhi ulfatein
kabhi suhbatein, kabhi furqatein, kabhi duuriyan, kabhi qurbatein
chalo aao tum ko dikhayein hum jo bacha hai maqtal-e-shehr mein
yeh mazaar ahl-e-safa key hain, yeh hain ahl-e-sidq ki turbatein
In an intellectual life ranging from religious education, studies in literature, a career as an academician, and pronounced inclinations to Marxian thinking, Faiz Ahmad Faiz also worked as a journalist, serving as editor-in-chief of the monthly Urdu magazine, Adab-e-Latif (1938 – 46), and later (1947) that of the Pakistan Times, a leading newspaper in his country in the 1950s. In relation to the poet’s 103rd birth anniversary on February 13, the Kashmir Reader reproduces two editorials Faiz wrote on the subcontinent’s two iconic figures at critical moments of the region’s new history
The British tradition of announcing the death of a king is “The king is dead, long live the king!”Nearly 25 years ago, Mahatama Gandhi, writing a moving editorial on the late C.R Das in his exquisite English, captioned it as “Deshbandhu is dead, long live Deshbandhu!” If we have chosen such a title for our humble tribute to Gandhiji, it is because we are convinced, more than ever before that very few indeed have lived in this degenerate century who could lay greater claim to immortality than this true servant of humanity and champion of downtrodden. An agonizing 48 hours at the time of writing this article, have passed since Mahatama Gandhi left this mortal coil. The first impact of the shock is slowly spending itself out, and through the murky mist of mourning and grief a faint light of optimistic expectation that Gandhiji has not died in vain, is glowing. Maybe it is premature to draw such a conclusion now in terms of net result, but judging by the fact that the tragedy has profoundly stirred the world’s conscience, we may be forgiven if we lay store by the innate goodness of man. At least we can tell at the top of our voice suspicious friends in India that the passing away of Gandhiji is as grievous a blow to Pakistan as it is to India. We have observed distressed looks, seen moistened eyes and heard faltering voices in this vast sprawling city of Lahore to a degree to be seen to be believed. We have also seen spontaneous manifestations of grief on the part of our fellow citizens in the shape of observance of a holiday and hartal. Let our friends in India take note–and we declare it with all the emphasis at our command—that we in Pakistan are human enough to respond to any gesture of goodwill, any token of friendliness and, last but not least any call for cooperation from the other side of the border. Earlier we have indulged in a bit of optimism—and that for a very good reason. In India, sedulous and we believe sincere, heart searching has been going on ever since the tragedy took place. The Government of India too seems to have at long last realised that they are sitting on top of a volcano. And above all, a small incident in Bombay in which a Hindu mob broke open the office of the Anti-Pakistan Front on Saturday and reduced its furnishings to smithereens is, we believe, realisation -though tragically belated—of the fact that Muslims are, after all, not the sinners–not to say the enemies of India. A large section of Hindus have discovered where their enemies reside and what political labels they flaunt. Not long ago, at Lucknow India’s Deputy Prime Minister, Sardar Patel, while hauling nationalist Muslims, who had assembled there a few days earlier, over the coals, sang a paean of praise for RSS and the Hindu Mahasabha—the organisation which, alas, produced that worst criminal in history, Nathuram Vinayak Godse. Sirdar Patel pandered to their jingoistic vanity by asking the Congress to flirt with them. Paradoxical though it may seem, his chief, Pandit Nehru, while at Amritsar two days prior to the tragedy picked the RSS and Sabha bubbles in no uncertain manner by describing their politics as doing the greatest harm to the country. Again, just one day after the pledge given by representatives of different political organisations to Gandhiji for the promotion of communal amity which led him to break his fast, the well-known Hindu Mahasabha leaders Mr. Deshpande and Prof. Ramsingh, had the temerity to say that Muslims must be driven out of India. If the Government of India would have tried to take some of the conceit and “fire” out of these rabidly communal and militant leaders, maybe Gandhiji would have lived to be 125. Instead of planting bombs and other weapons in innocent Muslims’ houses in Delhi and other parts of India, had Mr. Patel’s intelligence department taken good care to protect the precious life of Mahatmaji, this vast subcontinent, as indeed the world, would not have been smitten “by this calamity” .It was far from us to recount these pre-tragedy happenings but we feel constrained to do so for the weighty reason that the destiny of fifty million Muslims is involved in India. We demand that the powers that be in India must treat them fairly and squarely. We would be less than human if we were to make even the least attempt to exploit Gandhiji’s death in furtherance of our co-religionists’ interests in India. But we are gratefully conscious of the fact that nothing would give greater pleasure to the soul of the illustrious dead than dispensation of justice and fair play to Indian Muslims, which he so passionately preached and for which he laid down his life. To these countless Muslims Mahatmaji would ever remain a symbol of hope and courage. Though he is dead, he will live through ageless life.
-titled Long Live Gandhiji, this appeared as an editorial in the Pakistan Times on February 2, 1948
India and Pakistan are celebrating the birthday of the Quaid-i-Azam. As the man who has propelled, guided and controlled the national policies of nearly hundred million human souls, the man who has been responsible for the birth of a major State and the liberation of a major nation from economic and political bondage, the Quaid-i-Azam has already passed into history. With the establishment of Pakistan the mandate entrusted to him by his people may be considered to have been fulfilled and his historical role as the architect of our national State may be said to have reached its glorious consummation. The attainment of this objective demanded a steadiness of vision, fixity of purpose, an amount of unflagging devotion and courage that are rarely found among a people, broken and debased by enslavement and exploitation. The history of nations however is continuum like time, and the culmination of one struggle merely means the commencement of another. The mission of our national leaders, therefore, is far from complete and the national objective we have formally attained still awaits its material content. The future of Indian Muslims who have done as much and suffered far more for Pakistan than we the Muslims of Pakistan have, is still uncertain, and the State of Pakistan has still to require the constitutional flesh and bone. Both these problems are of as great an importance to us as the achievement of Pakistan itself and their satisfactory solution will require an equal amount of vision, determination and courage. There are already many among us, men of small minds and smaller vision, who think that the future of our brothers beyond the border need not enter our national calculations and now that we have got Pakistan, the future of non-Pakistanis is none of our business. The happenings in East Pakistan have utterly negated our thesis and proved that our kinsmen in the neighboring Dominion are very much our business that we have got to take them into calculation while formulating our national policies. We have got to ensure that these policies do not in any way adversely affect the national existence of our co-religionists in the other land, through injudiciousness or lack of imagination. Similarly we have to ensure that both the constitutional structure and the governmental practice of the Pakistani State conform to the ideals that we put before ourselves when we embarked on our national struggle. We have not yet had a glimpse of the Pakistan of our dreams, for we are still besieged by all the ills that have plagued us in the past and the common man has yet to taste the contentment, physical and spiritual, of a free and prosperous existence. The helmsmen of the nation, therefore, of whom the Quaid-i-Azam is the greatest and the most indefatigable, have far from reached the end of their labours and the future of the nation depends as much on their sagacity today as it has dependent on their industry and devotion in the past.
-originally titled Homage, this appeared as an editorial in the Pakistan Times onDecember 27, 1947