Basharat Bashir

The Revolutionary

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Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Whenever there is any revolutionary course on its formation, poetry of Faiz is reborn as a guide and encouragement for revolutionaries. Even in recent Anti CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests mainly lead by students and women protestors, poems of Faiz are being recited. Faiz Ahmad Faiz was a Pakistani revolutionary poet, and author. He was one of the most celebrated writers of the Urdu language in Pakistan. Outside literature, he has been described as “a man of wide experience” having been a teacher, an army officer, a journalist, a trade unionist and a broadcaster.

Born in PunjabIndia in 1911, 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 administration and replace it with a left-wing government.

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 Bhutto administration, before being self-exiled to Beirut. Faiz was an avowed Marxist, and he received the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union in 1962. His work remains influential in Pakistan literature and arts. 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.

Among many notable poems by Faiz, ‘Wa Yabqa Wajhu Rabikka’(the face of Lord) or commonly recognized as ‘Hum Dekhenge’ has gained a great interest among activists and protestors across India who are opposing  CAA. The controversial CAA guarantees citizenship to non Muslims who have came across to India from three neighboring countries while as ignoring Muslims. Many critics have denounced CAA and declared it to be unconstitutional. Anti CAA protests are being held across India, and poetry recitations have been an amazing characteristic of these protests.  The Nazm (Hum Dekhenge)was originally composed as a medium of protest against Zia Ul Haq’s oppressive regime and gained a great following after renowned singer Iqbal Bano’ performed it at Alhamra Arts Council in 1986, ignoring the ban on Faiz’s poetry. The Nazm also gained importance in protests against Parvez Musharraf.

The revolutionary poetry of Faiz Ahmad Faiz has always been recited in Southeast Asia when people rise to defend their rights and revolt against the oppressor. One can witness such a movement in New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia a central university, were many walls read Faiz’s revolutionary phrases.

Hum dekhenge

Hum dekhenge

Lazim hai ki hum bhi dekhenge

Hum dekhenge

Wo din ke jis ka wada hai

Jo lau-e-azl mein likha hai

Hum dekhenge

Jab zulm-o-sitam  ke koh-e-garan

Rooi ki tarah ur jayenge

Hum dekhenge

Hum mehkoomon ke paaon tale

Ye dharti dhar dhar dharkegi

Aur ahl-e-hakam k sar oopar

Jab bijli kar kar karkegi

Hum dekhenge

Bss naam rahega Allah ka

Jo ghyaib bhi hai hazir bhi

Jo manzar bhi hai nazir bhi

Utthega an-al- haq ka nara

Jo main bhi hoon aur tum bhi ho

Aur raj karegi khalq-e-khuda

Jo me bhi hun aur tum bhi ho

Hum dekhenge, hum dekhenge


Guernica, a mural sized painting in 1937, by Picasso is regarded by many art critics as one of the most powerful anti-war painting in history.  The painting illustrates the suffering of innocent people of a little village of Guernica, in Spain.   The bombing of Guernica on April 26, 1937 by Nazi Germany along with Italy at the request of Spanish greatly disturbed Picasso and in response to the bombing and killing of innocents Picasso painted Guernica, while he was in Paris.

The gray, black, and white painting portrays the suffering of people and animals wrenched by chaos. Its said that at the time of bombing majority of Guernica’s men were away, fighting on behalf of the Republicans, and the town was populated mostly by women and children. These demographics are reflected in Guernica. As a German-born author, art and film theorist Rudolf Arnheim writes, for Picasso: “The women and children make Guernica the image of innocent, defenseless humanity victimized. Also, women and children have often been presented by Picasso as the very perfection of mankind. An assault on women and children is, in Picasso’s view, directed at the core of mankind.

 The Third of May 1808

The third May of 1808 is a painting completed in 1814 by the Spanish painter Francisco Goya, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid In the work, Goya sought to commemorate Spanish resistance to Napoleon‘s armies during the occupation of 1808 in the Peninsular War. Along with its companion piece of the same size, The Second of May 1808 (or The Charge of the Mamelukes), it was commissioned by the provisional government of Spain at Goya’s suggestion.

The painting’s content, presentation, and emotional force secure its status as a groundbreaking, archetypal image of the horrors of war. Although it draws on many sources from both high and popular art, The Third of May 1808 marks a clear break from convention. Diverging from the traditions of Christian art and traditional depictions of war, it has no distinct precedent, and is acknowledged as one of the first paintings of the modern era.  According to the art historian Kenneth Clark, The Third of May 1808 is “the first great picture which can be called revolutionary in every sense of the word, in style, in subject, and in intention”.

The Third of May 1808 has inspired a number of other major paintings, including a series by Édouard Manet, and Pablo Picasso‘s Massacre in Korea and Guernica.


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