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Love and Revolution | Faiz Ahmed Faiz: The Authorized Biography

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Love and Revolution is the first comprehensive biography of the best-known Urdu poet of recent times, a portrait of the man behind the poetry—activist, revolutionary, family man, connoisseur of life—and a reading of his poetry in the context of his life and times. Living through the holocaust of partition, Faiz tried to make sense of it through his poetry. In the new nation Love and Revolution is the first comprehensive biography of the best-known Urdu poet of recent times, a portrait of the man behind the poetry—activist, revolutionary, family man, connoisseur of life—and a reading of his poetry in the context of his life and times. Living through the holocaust of partition, Faiz tried to make sense of it through his poetry. In the new nation of Pakistan, he played a prominent role not just as a cultural ambassador but also as a journalist, an important voice of dissent that refused to be stifled, a builder of enduring cultural institutions and an educationist. Awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s highest civilian honour after his death, Faiz served prison terms and faced the threat of execution during his lifetime for his left leanings and outspoken criticism of the authoritarian regime. Written by Faiz's grandson, this book grants the reader privileged access to the poet through the memories of friends and family members as well as rare letters, documents and photos.


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Love and Revolution is the first comprehensive biography of the best-known Urdu poet of recent times, a portrait of the man behind the poetry—activist, revolutionary, family man, connoisseur of life—and a reading of his poetry in the context of his life and times. Living through the holocaust of partition, Faiz tried to make sense of it through his poetry. In the new nation Love and Revolution is the first comprehensive biography of the best-known Urdu poet of recent times, a portrait of the man behind the poetry—activist, revolutionary, family man, connoisseur of life—and a reading of his poetry in the context of his life and times. Living through the holocaust of partition, Faiz tried to make sense of it through his poetry. In the new nation of Pakistan, he played a prominent role not just as a cultural ambassador but also as a journalist, an important voice of dissent that refused to be stifled, a builder of enduring cultural institutions and an educationist. Awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s highest civilian honour after his death, Faiz served prison terms and faced the threat of execution during his lifetime for his left leanings and outspoken criticism of the authoritarian regime. Written by Faiz's grandson, this book grants the reader privileged access to the poet through the memories of friends and family members as well as rare letters, documents and photos.

30 review for Love and Revolution | Faiz Ahmed Faiz: The Authorized Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Imran

    Written by grandson of Faiz, the biography not only contains personal accounts of family member, but also contains important extracts from various books written on Faiz. The book gives a good perspective behind the background of some of popular poems written by the poet. A must read for those who love Faiz's poetry. Written by grandson of Faiz, the biography not only contains personal accounts of family member, but also contains important extracts from various books written on Faiz. The book gives a good perspective behind the background of some of popular poems written by the poet. A must read for those who love Faiz's poetry.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Osama Siddique

    Biographies are hard business in general. You can't cover everything. There is always the unknowable and the conflated. And people are bound to be divided on their success - quibbling over what was left out, or misrepresented, or misunderstood or over/under emphasized. To capture someone as multifarious and dynamic as Faiz Ahmad Faiz - poet par excellence, journalist, trade unionist, rights activist, writer of writers, visionary and pioneer of various important cultural enterprises, military man Biographies are hard business in general. You can't cover everything. There is always the unknowable and the conflated. And people are bound to be divided on their success - quibbling over what was left out, or misrepresented, or misunderstood or over/under emphasized. To capture someone as multifarious and dynamic as Faiz Ahmad Faiz - poet par excellence, journalist, trade unionist, rights activist, writer of writers, visionary and pioneer of various important cultural enterprises, military man, global traveler, and an iconic figure in the politics of the global left as well as the world of literature - is additionally challenging. To write about him if you are his grandson I think makes the task even more arduous despite obvious advantages of personal memory, access to family members, documents, heirlooms and associations. Arguably, there isn't sufficient distance and hence one can try and still be unable to resist a certain partiality and defensiveness. Unless you didn't get along with your grandfather, in which case there would also be a problem of absence of neutrality (if there can ever be such a thing). Given all this, Ali Madeeh Hashmi has done a very commendable job indeed. He has of course utilized the privileged access of the eldest grandchild but very importantly he offers so much more; skill and experience as a writer & translator in his own right; the particular insight of psychiatrist which is his day job, and indeed labor and commitment to come up with something authentic and lasting. For those like me who are permanently entranced by both Faiz's principled courage as well as his distinctive diction and lyricism, 'Love & Revolution' - the biography, fills many gaps in our knowledge about context, details and stages of his remarkable life. The narrative flows well, showcases events in his life against the important backdrop of larger surrounding events, and meticulously captures the emergence and flowering of the genius of a man who has and continues to inspire millions. In descriptions of grander overarching themes as well as smaller everyday episodes, Faiz emerges very human and relatable, and hence all the more endearing. His widely cited and fondly remembered calm, modest, unassuming and very 'poetic' persona shines through consistently and one learns also of the various influences, motivations and key players in his life. The book brings out also the strong character and fortitude of his wife Alys, a constant source of strength and support to him throughout his life. For me the most moving passages in the biography are the ones dealing with Faiz's political victimization and incarceration which in turn gave birth to his most poignant and breathtakingly haunting poetry. However, through the book one also gets an important sense of the uncertainty, apprehension, precariousness and persecution that he and his immediate family had to face - the sublime verse came at a big price and was nourished by many a day and night of anguish and pain. In many Faiz's biography is also a documentation of Pakistan's continuing challenge of fighting authoritarianism, curtailment of rights, censorship and curb on free speech. Those like Faiz have been at the forefront of this struggle and their verse continues to inspire and galvanize those fighting the good fight not just in his homeland but at many places that were close to his heart and for which he spoke up. At moments one can sense Hashmi struggling with the very natural urge to overcome his awe and admiration for the man but to his credit the biography never becomes a hagiography. The writer is successful in capturing Faiz with his several wonderful attributes and his few foibles and also endeavors to examine his intentions and motivations behind major political and literary decisions. For me a wonderful additional aspect of the book has been the detailed context it provides for Faiz's eight books of poetry collectively published as Nuskha Hai Wafa. This allowed me the opportunity to re-read all eight books concurrently with the passages that discussed their evolution, inspirations, themes and reception. The book provides translations of many important couplets and poems (I feel that the Urdu should also always be added for those who enjoy the privilege of knowing Urdu). Another very welcome aspect were the passages where Faiz discusses the craft of writing, his own writing, the process and inspiration for poetry, and his peers and elders in the writing cosmos. Writers in particular would love these passages. This is a concise, well-researched, very readable and lovingly written account of Faiz's life which is a great boon for all admirers of the man. At the same time, I would strongly recommend it to all the young readers who can gain tremendously from reading about someone who stands out in the previous era as well as in our own times for his courage of conviction and the price he frequently paid for the same. Hopefully, it will also inspire them to then read his poetry in greater detail, reading which is an overwhelming experience known only to those who have had the very good fortune of being familiar with it. Written in English the book makes Faiz's life and times available to a global readership, which is only fitting for a man of his global perspective and appeal.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Meaningless

    یہ کتاب فیض صاحب سے ایک ابتدائی تعارف کے طور پر لکھی گئی ہے اور غالبا غیر اردو قارئیں کو مد نظر رکھ کر لکھی گئی ہے، اگرچہ انداز بہت ادبی نہیں ہے اور کسی حد تک یکطرفہ زاویہ نگاہ پیش کیا گیا ہے لیکن پھر بھی پڑھنے میں لطف آیا اور فیض صاحب کی نجی زندگی کے بارے میں بہے سی نئی باتوں کا پتہ چال۔ہاں البتہ یہ معلوم ہوگیا کہ ادب کی نشونما خون جگر سے ہی ہوتی ہے، ادبی فن پارہ تخلیق کرنے کے لیےٹیلنٹ کے ساتھ کڑی ریاضت بھی ضروری ہے۔ ایک گلہ یہ بھی ہے کہ اشعار زیادہ اور اردو میں ہونے چاہئے تھے، شاعری کا ترجمہ ج یہ کتاب فیض صاحب سے ایک ابتدائی تعارف کے طور پر لکھی گئی ہے اور غالبا غیر اردو قارئیں کو مد نظر رکھ کر لکھی گئی ہے، اگرچہ انداز بہت ادبی نہیں ہے اور کسی حد تک یکطرفہ زاویہ نگاہ پیش کیا گیا ہے لیکن پھر بھی پڑھنے میں لطف آیا اور فیض صاحب کی نجی زندگی کے بارے میں بہے سی نئی باتوں کا پتہ چال۔ہاں البتہ یہ معلوم ہوگیا کہ ادب کی نشونما خون جگر سے ہی ہوتی ہے، ادبی فن پارہ تخلیق کرنے کے لیےٹیلنٹ کے ساتھ کڑی ریاضت بھی ضروری ہے۔ ایک گلہ یہ بھی ہے کہ اشعار زیادہ اور اردو میں ہونے چاہئے تھے، شاعری کا ترجمہ جادوی تاثیر کھو دیتا ہے۔ میدان وفا دربار نہیں یاں نام و نسب کی پوچھ کہاں عاشق تو کسی کا نام نہیں کچھ عشق کسی کی ذات نہیں رات یوں دل میں تیری کھوئی ہوئی یاد آئی جیسے ویرانے میں چپکے سے بہار آجائے جیسے صحراؤں میں ہولے سے چلے باد نسیم جیسے بیمار کو بے وجہ قرار آجائے بڑا ہے درد کا رشتہ، یہ دل غریب سہی تمھارے نام پہ آئیں گے غم گسار چلے دونوں جہاں تیری محبت میں ہار کے وہ جا رہا ہے کوئی شب غم گزار کے

  4. 5 out of 5

    TheGirlWhoReads

    Endearingly written. Quite liked reading about the man who wrote some of the most amazing verses

  5. 4 out of 5

    Yash Sharma

    ये दाग़ दाग़ उजाला, ये शब-गज़ीदा सहर वो इन्तज़ार था जिस का, ये वो सहर तो नहीं (This stained light, this night-bitten dawn; This is not that long awaited day break) Subh-e azadi (Dawn of independence) was written way back in August 1947 by the legendary Urdu Poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Faiz Saheb was a poet of few words. But, each and every word of his represents the sentiment of a common man. That's why he's still revered throughout the Indian subcontinent. Love and Revolution, Faiz Ahmed Faiz is the ये दाग़ दाग़ उजाला, ये शब-गज़ीदा सहर वो इन्तज़ार था जिस का, ये वो सहर तो नहीं (This stained light, this night-bitten dawn; This is not that long awaited day break) Subh-e azadi (Dawn of independence) was written way back in August 1947 by the legendary Urdu Poet, Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Faiz Saheb was a poet of few words. But, each and every word of his represents the sentiment of a common man. That's why he's still revered throughout the Indian subcontinent. Love and Revolution, Faiz Ahmed Faiz is the authorized biography of the legendary Urdu Poet, Faiz. The main USP of this book is that within few hundred pages the author (Grandson of Faiz) has unravelled the life and times of Faiz Saheb. For the detailed article you can visit my website - https://dontbignorant.in/faiz-ahmed-f...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vikas Datta

    Brings the life of the poet to vivid and vibrant light and offers a keen insight into his mental and artistic development, and the background of some of his best compositions - though not Ham Dekhenge.... for more, read this: https://in.news.yahoo.com/straddling-... Brings the life of the poet to vivid and vibrant light and offers a keen insight into his mental and artistic development, and the background of some of his best compositions - though not Ham Dekhenge.... for more, read this: https://in.news.yahoo.com/straddling-...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Saket Suman

    “This stained light, this night-bitten dawn; This is not that long-awaited day break; This is not the dawn in whose longing, We set out believing we would find, somewhere, In heaven’s wide void, The stars’ final resting place; Somewhere the shore of night’s slow-washing tide; Somewhere, an anchor for the ship of heartache.” The above lines are translated from Subh-e azadi (Dawn of Independence), one of the most famous poems ever written by Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Faiz was an influential left-wing inte “This stained light, this night-bitten dawn; This is not that long-awaited day break; This is not the dawn in whose longing, We set out believing we would find, somewhere, In heaven’s wide void, The stars’ final resting place; Somewhere the shore of night’s slow-washing tide; Somewhere, an anchor for the ship of heartache.” The above lines are translated from Subh-e azadi (Dawn of Independence), one of the most famous poems ever written by Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Faiz was an influential left-wing intellectual, revolutionary poet, and one of the most highly-regarded poets of the Urdu language, having been nominated four times for the Nobel Prize for literature. A notable member of the Progressive Writers' Movement (PWM), Faiz was an avowed Marxist, for which he received the Lenin Peace Prize by the erstwhile Soviet Union in 1962. Faiz Ahmad Faiz's poetry has been translated into many languages, including English and Russian. The recently released, Love and Revolution by Ali Madeeh Hashmi, eldest grandchild of Faiz Ahmad Faiz is the first comprehensive biography of the best-known Urdu poet of recent times, a portrait of the man behind the poetry activist, revolutionary, family man, connoisseur of life and a reading of his poetry in the context of his life and times. Living through the holocaust of partition, Faiz tried to make sense of it through his poetry. In the new nation of Pakistan, he played a prominent role not just as a cultural ambassador but also as a journalist, an important voice of dissent that refused to be stifled, a builder of enduring cultural institutions and an educationist. Awarded the Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan’s highest civilian honour after his death, Faiz served prison terms and faced the threat of execution during his lifetime for his left leanings and outspoken criticism of the authoritarian regime. About the book Love and Revolution by Ali Madeeh Hashmi Rupa Publications Pp – 310; Price – 595 Written by Faiz's grandson, this book grants the reader privileged access to the poet through the memories of friends and family members as well as rare letters, documents and photos. “As the horror of partition gradually receded over the ensuing months, peace returned and poets picked up their pens once again. All of them wanted to express in their own words the sentiments of their fellow Pakistanis”, the author mentions. And that is how the above poem came into being. The people in Faiz’s circle of friends who first heard the poem were “transfixed, especially Dr Nazir Ahmad (Faiz’s old friend, later principal of Government College, Lahore), who kept repeating the poem after Faiz finished reciting it. In between, Taseer sahib also requested Faiz to repeat some verses two or three times.” Those on the right scorned the poem for not celebrating independence enthusiastically. This, according to them, was not the time to cry over the anguish of ordinary people but to be happy that freedom had finally arrived. Those on the left were not too happy either. Faiz’s friend and Marxist historian Syed Sibt-e Hasan wrote: “Both those on the Right and the Left protested (about the poem). Those on the right said outright that it was a betrayal of the cause of Independence and that Faiz was against Pakistan. His enemies were also upset that he had not criticised the Radcliffe award outright in the poem. They could never understand the depth of the metaphors “stained light” and “night bitten dawn”. The author is liberal, perhaps given by his acquaintance with Faiz and writes, “Subh-e azadi was written on the occasion of Pakistan’s first birthday and Faiz, in his own unique way, highlighted the problems facing the new nation. From 1947 till his death in 1984, Faiz composed a total of eleven more poems to celebrate either Pakistan’s Independence Day or Republic Day. In all of these poems, Faiz spoke lovingly and sadly about his land and its long- suffering people, their hopes and fears, their joys and sorrows, their dreams and disappointments.” Faiz’s poems, according to the author, reflect both “an expression of solidarity” with his land and its people and also “a challenge of the oppressed” against their oppressors. “The beauty of these poems (and Faiz’s poetry) is their melody and their message of hope, although many of them also reflect the agony of the poet in the face of life’s painful realities,” writes Hashmi. Although living a simple and restless life, Faiz's work, political ideology, and poetry became immortal, and he has often been called the "greatest poet" of Pakistan. Faiz remained an extremely popular and influential figure in the literary development of Pakistan's arts, literature, and drama and theatre adaptation. The biography is written with accurate details and is floating with anecdotes and memories of friends and relatives of Faiz. The book also contains some rare images of Faiz and his times and explores almost every subject that Faiz lived with during his time. First published in The Statesman http://www.inkstreet.in/2016/04/revie...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Zahra

    Penned by Faiz’s own grandson, Ali Madeeh Hashmi, this biography is not only rich in its detail about the legendary poet’s personal life, political beliefs, professional roles and social consciousness but also presents a comprehensive history of Pakistan and the area that was previously British India. Set against the political turmoil of the sub-continent of the early 1900s until about the early 1980s, this book carries the reader into a past where the division of a country tore apart many souls Penned by Faiz’s own grandson, Ali Madeeh Hashmi, this biography is not only rich in its detail about the legendary poet’s personal life, political beliefs, professional roles and social consciousness but also presents a comprehensive history of Pakistan and the area that was previously British India. Set against the political turmoil of the sub-continent of the early 1900s until about the early 1980s, this book carries the reader into a past where the division of a country tore apart many souls, where ideals soon turned into mirages, dictatorship went largely unchallenged but also a time when the world still had the option to select between two ideologies - socialism and capitalism. “Faiz Ahmed Faiz- On Love and Revolution” is an up close and personal account of this literary and social giant who traveled the world frequently, won over friends with his quiet demeanor and razor sharp wit, stood up for the oppressed and always held his own even when the going got tough. Carefully researched and written in a language that makes this an easy read, it may have fared better with some editing. Certain facts have been repeated multiple times throughout the book, leaving the reader a little frustrated but otherwise a must-read for all those who admire Faiz and are interested in Urdu Literature.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Asad Ahmed

    The book engulfs the major contributions by Faiz to the development of art and culture. He was the pivotal person to start the evolution of progressive writings in his unique style. He had composed his best poetry in the days of his solitude, when he was charged with a fake conspiracy case. He was self directed, generous, affectionate person, with complete rational approach. He was the whole world of progressive ideas.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Swati Tripathi

    A detailed account of who Faiz was as a person and what shaped some of his most path breaking work. An inspiration to anyone feeling the heat of the political turmoil of our times.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mason Carter

    Surely my favourite poet. Have always loved his lines and the sweet blend of pain for love and liberty. He has been an inspiration.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amina Ahsan

    What an amazing life story. Was already a fan but respect Faiz Sahib even more now.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bilal Khan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Muhammad Nadeem

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sanya Chawla

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shiv Gopal

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ambar Ahmed

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wajeeha

  19. 4 out of 5

    Aqsa Gharshin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Farhin

  21. 5 out of 5

    Waqar Saeed

  22. 4 out of 5

    Shakar Elahi

  23. 5 out of 5

    Priyanka

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rohit

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kamish Karim

  26. 4 out of 5

    Salman Rauf

  27. 5 out of 5

    Abdul Lateef

  28. 5 out of 5

    Versha Qazi

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sheraz Ahmed

  30. 5 out of 5

    Zoya Tariq

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