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Speak up!

April 4, 2016 | By

A heartfelt tribute to the poetry and life of the celebrated, radical poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, on the National Poetry Month.

Fight and throw off all the burden of oppressive histories and chainsThat bound the masses in grinding poverty.

Fight and throw off all the burden of oppressive histories and chains
That bound the masses in grinding poverty.

Bol!
That is how Faiz Ahmad Faiz exhorts a sleepy community
Through his words fiery.
He wants the people to stand up and speak
Against injustice and inequality in a divided society.
Poetry at the service of the nation/s
A clarion call to people/s for action than acquiescence
Faiz is for words that arouse citizens from somnolence
Of centuries of slavery, pessimism and submission;
As a poet, he acts as a vital link between the
Communities and their poetries, providing road maps
And guidance to the struggling humanity through shayari,
In him, faded words get re-charged and take on
A strange luminosity and raw energy—as if forged hot and red in
Life’s furnace through repeated beatings and hammering.
A better world opens up contained within his words and lines
Nudging us to directions new and liberating.
Earlier the Urdu poets talked of love and romance
Drinks and concubines and decadence of society;
But he, our beloved Faiz, talks of solidarity and praxis
Poetry is not a safe sanctuary away from a world of strife and conflict
But a direct passage/place for an awakening humanity ready to
Fight and throw off all the burden of oppressive histories and chains
That bound the masses in grinding poverty.
His verses spread fire by fanning the glowing embers within
And appealed to the wounded hearts to discard their
Shackles invisible and get united, become strong and a better being.
Bol!
Says the poet revolutionary, Bol!
Speak up for your rights and dignity
Stand up against the ongoing oppression
By the clever minority.
Here is an activist extra-ordinary!
The man who returned voluntarily from London to his
Homeland and faced persecution for his liberal-radical views and inflamed poetry;
These days the poets go to London and Paris as economic immigrants and talk of imagined homelands from their comfortable drawing-rooms, never returning to home countries for improving the plight of the common people.
These versifiers remain pen pushers only
Mere dots in a long series only
While dear Faiz continues to be relevant and inspiring.

More to read by Sunil Sharma

Poetry: A Tribute – In this beautifully evocative poem, Dr. Sunil Sharma captures the true essence, beauty and universality of poetry, presenting a rich dedication to the art and rhetoric of poetry and to the poets who have tirelessly embraced this artistic form of expression and enriched humanity.

Delightful Dickens: Some Tribute, 2012 – An uncanny and absorbing fictional piece, inspired by Charles Dickens’ phenomenal work ‘The Christmas Carol’ and presented as a homage to the novelist.

Reading Dickens: Some Tributes, 2012 – Reading Dickens in the bicentennial year of birth: representation, art and aesthetics in commercial and industrial England as mirrored in ‘Hard Times’.

Mumbai-based, Sunil Sharma, a college principal, is also widely-published Indian critic, poet, literary interviewer, editor, translator, essayist and fiction writer. He has already published three collections of poetry, one collection of short fiction, one novel and co-edited five books so far. His six short stories and the novel Minotaur were recently prescribed for the undergraduate classes under the Post-colonial Studies, Clayton University, Georgia, USA. He is a recipient of the UK-based Destiny Poets’ inaugural Poet of the Year award---2012. He edits online journal Episteme: www.episteme.net.in
All Posts of Sunil Sharma

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Sands of time do not stand on, Stage by stage life moves on.......Life is ever-moving, ever changing; a progressive-cum-dynamic process.