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Published On: Wed, Jan 1st, 2020

Nobel loriet Pak Poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s “Hum Dekhenge” Anti-Hindu?

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KANPUR : Does Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s iconic poem “Hum Dekhenge” — sung as a protest anthem over decades — provoke anti-Hindu sentiments: This is the rather unusual investigation a committee of Kanpur’s Indian Institute Of Technology is currently engaged in.
The matter came under focus after some students held a solidarity march for their counterparts at Delhi’s Jamia Millia University. It was part of the countrywide student protests triggered by the police crackdown on Jamia students on December 15.
The poem reads thus — “Lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge. Jab arz-e-Khuda ke kaabe se. Sab bhut uthwaye jayenge, Hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-harm. Masnad pe bithaye jayenge. Sab taaj uchale jaenge. Sab takht giraye jayenge. Bas naam rahega Allah ka. Hum dekhenge.”
It was the last line that has turned into a bone of contention. Translated into English, it means, ‘When thrones will vanish, only Allah’s name will remain’ — implying the misleading translation by the professor.
The poem had been written by Faiz in reference to military dictator Zia-ul-Haq in 1979 and was against the military rule in Pakistan. Faiz had left leanings and was an atheist. He was known for his revolutionary writings that kept him in jail for several years.

It may be recalled that the IIT-Kanpur students had taken out a peaceful march on the campus on December 17 in support of the students of Jamia Millia Islamia and during the march, the students sang the Faiz poem.
The December 17 march had started with a reading of the poem and the students were caught on camera, said IIT-Kanpur’s Deputy Director Manindra Agrawal.”Who knows Faiz Ahmad Faiz?” he questioned. “The video suggests that the poem provokes anti-Hindu sentiments,” he added.
After a teacher filed a complaint against the solidarity march, a probe committee was formed to investigate three issues: Whether the students defied prohibitory orders, the social media posts they shared ahead of march and if the poem of Faiz Ahmad Faiz is “anti-Hindu”.
The students say they were denied the permission to hold the protest hours before the march. “But we had already sent across the information so we took it out anyway,” one of the protesters said.

One of the most famous poets of Urdu, Faiz Ahmad Faiz was jailed several times for his revolutionary writings. He wrote “Hum dekhenge… (We will see)” — one of his best remembered compositions — in New York in 1979.
It was a mark of protest against the Pakistan dictator Zia-ul-Haq, who declared himself the President of Pakistan after overthrowing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto government. In 1986, the song assumed an iconic status after Pakistani singer Iqbal Bano sung the poem of defiance against the martial law in Lahore in front of a 50,000-plus crowd.
A day may come when the oppressed may rule, one of the verses in the song of resistance suggests. “Jab arz-e-Khuda ke kaabe se. Sab but uthwae jaenge. Hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-harm. Masnad pe bethae jaenge (When from the land of God, icons of dictatorship will be removed… We the oppressed and pure in heart will rule. The crowns will be tossed and thrones well be damaged),” reads the verse.
The Urdu poet from Pakistan’s Sialkot — a communist and atheist — was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1963. He used religious metaphors in his poetry to attack the establishment.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs)

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