Fearlessness is the poetry of revolution

Faiz Ahmed Faiz & Iqbal Bano

– Vidya Bhushan Rawat

IIT Kanpur’s decision to form a ‘committee’ to ‘investigate’ whether Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Nazam ‘ Hum Dekhenge, Lazim hai ke hum dekhenge’ i.e. ‘we shall see’ , constitute anti Hindu prejudices as it was being sung by a group of students who were protesting against the CAA-NPR-NRC like many others in different parts of the country.

People like me will never say that Faiz can not be challenged or critique just like any other author but it also reflect poorly on the quality of these ‘teachers’ who are also called as ‘scholars’ when they misinterpret things or are absolutely ignorant about the history of a poem.

Even when they dont know, should our teachers be looking and attempting to threaten and intimidate students with action for ‘being’ ‘anti national. This shows that despite being an IIT, which I call the biggest institutions where the caste based discrimination continue and the person who filed complaint basically represent the same lynch mob which is ‘monitoring’ each word and sentence that we speak while mum about the open rape threat, murder threat, name calling by the Hindutva paid trolls who proudly claim their association with the ruling party.

Faiz is the proud symbol of secular values, of romance and revolution in the Indian subcontinent. A poet of great revolution, Faiz was arrested many times and when in 1979 General Zia was converting Pakistan into an Islamic theocracy, demolishing all the institutions, Faiz was the voice of resistance against the dictatorship of Zia whose Islamisation campaign saw the minorities particularly the Hindus and Hindu symbols under attack. Iqbal Bano, who hail from Dilli Gharana and one of the finest exponent of Gazal Gayaki, an artist of great substance, our heritage, sang it, wearing the black Saree ( Zia and his kind of people termed wearing Saree as Unislmaic”) despite prohibition in front of a massive gathering of over fifty thousand people, at Lahore.

It is strange to see how people analyse the poetry which is actually written as per the local circumstances and to give hope to those fighting for a cause. When Zia was making a ‘personality’ cult, and when he felt that nothing will happen to him, Faiz wrote :

जब ज़ुल्म-ओ-सितम के कोह-ए-गरां
रूई की तरह उङ जायेंगे
हम महकूमों के पाऒं तले
ये धरती धङ-धङ धङकेगी
और अह्ल-ए-हकम के सर ऊपर
जब बिजली कङ-कङ कङकेगी

These remind people power of people and that dictator and oppressor will be wiped away one day. I dont know how the poetry can be ‘anti Hindu’ when it is being written to mobilise people against an Islamic dictator. The Kanpur IIT professor has the objection to these lines which he claim is against the idol worshiping and hence anti Hindu and therefore anti national..

जब अर्ज़-ए-ख़ुदा के काबे से
सब बुत उळवाये जायेंगे
हम अह्ले-ए-सफा मर्दूद-ए-हरम
मसनद पे बिळाये जायेंगे
सब ताज उछाले जायेंगे
सब तख़्त गिराये जायेंगे

As I mentioned about, the call is against General Zia and his Islamic regime which violated all the rules and demolished democracy in Pakistan. It has no relations with India or Hindus but it mocks at those who build their personality cult and yes the symbolism is Islamic which does not believe in idol worshiping but then even Vedas speak against idol worship. Great Sufi revolutionaries like Kabir, Nanak, Tukaram, Raidas all condemn the brahmanical way of worshiping and claimed that there is just one God whether you call him ‘Ishwar or Allah’. Didnt Kabir say : Pahan Puje Hari Mile, to mai puju pahar, tase ye chaki bhali, pees khaay sansaar, ” If you can get God just by worshiping the stone, then I am ready to worship the mountain. Better than this, please worship ‘grinder’ which help you grind wheat so thaat you can have your roti’.

It is sad that we have come to this stage when even quoting or singing something is being looked as in terms of being ‘anti national’.. One of the greatest poets of our time was Shailendra, whose revolutionary poetry even challenged the God. They speak against unjust order and give a warning to those in power to mend their ways. Now read this :

ये ग़म के और चार दिन, सितम के और चार दिन,
ये दिन भी जाएंगे गुज़र, गुज़र गए हज़ार दिन,
कभी तो होगी इस चमन पर भी बहार की नज़र!
अगर कहीं है स्वर्ग तो उतार ला ज़मीन पर!…. तू ज़िन्दा है

हमारे कारवां का मंज़िलों को इन्तज़ार है,
यह आंधियों, ये बिजलियों की, पीठ पर सवार है,
जिधर पड़ेंगे ये क़दम बनेगी एक नई डगर
अगर कहीं है स्वर्ग तो उतार ला ज़मीन पर!.

बुरी है आग पेट की, बुरे हैं दिल के दाग़ ये,
न दब सकेंगे, एक दिन बनेंगे इन्क़लाब ये,
गिरेंगे जुल्म के महल, बनेंगे फिर नवीन घर!
अगर कहीं है स्वर्ग तो उतार ला ज़मीन पर!

Even today, this is the song which is sung with great passion in all the mass protests. They give us hope and aspiration to fight. This inspire not only to those in universities but also those fighting for their land rights and food sovereignty.

But the fact is that religious right is always afraid of revolutionary poetry as it strengthen the mood and determination to fight against oppression. Before, I end this, I wish to share my optimism and hope in these beautiful lines of Sahir Ludhianvi from film Phir Subah Hogi.

वह सुबह कभी तो आएगी
मजबूर बुढापा जब सूनी राहों की धूल ना फांकेगा
मासूम लडकपन जब गंदी गलियों में भीख ना मांगेगा
ह्क़ मांगनेवालों को जिस दिन सूली ना दिखाई जाएगी

वह सुबह कभी तो आएगी
फ़ाकों की चिताओं पर जिस दिन इंन्सा न जलाए जाएंगे
सीनों के दहकते दोज़ख़ में अरमां ना जलाए जाएंगे
यह नरक से भी गंदी दुनिया, जब स्वर्ग बनाई जाएगी

वह सुबह हमीं से आएगी
जब धरती करवट बदलेगी , जब क़ैद से क़ैदी छूटेंगे
जब पाप-घरोंदे फूटेंगे, जब ज़ुल्म के बंधन टूटेंगे
उस सुबह को हम ही लाएंगे, वह सुबह हमी से आएगी

वह सुबह हमीं से आएगी
मनहूस समाजी ढाचों में जब जुर्म न पाले जाएंगे
जब हाथ न काटे जाएंगे जब सर न उछाले जाएंगे
जेलों के बिना जब दुनिया की सरकार चलाई जाएगी

वह सुबह हमीं से आएगी
संसार के सारे मेह्नतकश, खेतों से मिलों से निकलेंगे
बेघर, बेदर, बेबस इन्सां, तारीक बिलों से निकलेंगे
दुनिया अम्न और ख़ुशहाली के फुलों से सजाई जाएगी
वह सुबह हमीं से आएगी

Today, I wish to salute to all these mighty poets of revolutions who have kept our hope for a better future high. The songs of revolutions will remain our life line to remind the power that at the end of the day it is the people who matter more and however brutal one is, will have to go one day. The forces of goodness and love will win, the forces of humanism will prevail and those spreading hatred will realise the wrongs of their ideas and hopefully will change for better.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat
January 2nd 2020

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