Even if it wasn't specially requested by the most exquisite visitor to this blog, this lovely Faiz nazm would merit a place of honour here!
Under the title of 'Hum Log', the poem was the concluding piece in Faiz's celebrated first work, Naqsh-e-Faryadii, published from Lucknow in 1941. This nazm, along with a few others towards the end of N-e-F, is important because it marks the beginning of that definitive shift in theme and emphasis that would go on to make Faiz...well, Faiz.
To explain, for most of N-e-F, Faiz remains largely within the standard idiom of classical urdu love poetry. However, in these concluding few poems, one can sense a welling of his trademark discontent (and controlled anger) at the state of society, tinged with a determination to do something about it...namely, the precursors of the 'revolutionary' flavour that Faiz would impart to his later poetry, especially in the two volumes he would pen from prison... In that sense, this nazm is among the crucial turning points in the evolution of his poetry.
The title 'hum log' would translate into something like 'We the people', and should be kept in mind while reading the verses:
dil ke aewaan mei.n liye gulshudaa shammo.n kii kataar
noor-e-khurshiid se sahme hue, uktaaye hue
husn-e-mahbuub ke sayyaal tasavvur kii tarah
apnii taariiqii ko bhainche hue, lipTaaye hue
vahii besuud tajassus, vahii bekaar sawaal
muzmahil saa'at-e-imroz kii berangii se
yaad-e-maazii se ghameen, dahshat-e-fardaa se niDhaal
tishnaa afkaar jo taskiin nahi.n paate hai.n
sokhtaa ashq jo aankho.n mei.n nahi.n aate hai.n
ek kaDaa dard jo giit mei.n Dhaltaa hii nahii.n
dil ke taariiq shigaafo.n se nikaltaa hii nahi.n
aur ek uljhii huii mauhuum sii darmaa.n kii talaash
dasht-o-zindaa.n kii hawas, chak-e-girebaa.n kii talaash
दिल के ऐवान में लिए गुल्शुदा शम्मों की कतार
नूर-ए-खुर्शीद से सहमे हुए, उकताए हुए
हुस्न-ए-महबूब के सय्याल तसव्वुर की तरह
अपनी तारीकी को भैंचे हुए, लिपटाए हुए
वही बेसूद तजस्सुस, वही बेकार सवाल
मुज़्महिल सा'अत-ए-इमरोज़ की बे-रंगी से
याद-ए-माज़ी से गमीन, दहशत-ए-फर्दा से निढाल
तिशना-अफ्कार जो तस्कीन नहीं पाते हैं
सोखता अश्क जो आंखों में नहीं आते हैं
एक कड़ा दर्द जो गीत में ढलता ही नहीं
दिल के तारीक शिगाफों से निकलता ही नहीं
और एक उलझी हुई मौहूम सी दरमां की तलाश
दश्त-ओ-ज़िन्दां की हवस , चाक-ए-गिरेबां की तलाश
With rows of extinguished lamps (lining) the hallways of the heart;
taken aback by...irritated by...the incandescence of the sun.
With our darkness tightly clasped...wrapped...(around us), like a molten fancy of the Beloved's charms...
Enormities of gains and losses; Visages of beginnings and denouements,
Those same futile searches; Those same pointless enquiries...
Wearied by the pallidness of today's moment; saddened by remembrances of the past; laid waste by a dread of tomorrow...
Those beset by thirst, who fail to find relief
Those burnt tears that don't reach the eyes
That hardened pain, which just won't let itself be moulded into song
(which) refuses to ebb out from the dark cracks of the heart
And a confused, illusory, search for a cure;
the longing for deserts and prisons... the quest for rent collars...
It is almost too much intensity to take in all at once, isn't it? The imagery...the haunting sense of despair...the palpable pain...uff!
I wouldn't dare try and 'analyse' the poem - we must all distil our own demons from it - but let us look at some of the 'tricky' words, shall we? In the first line 'aewaan' [sometimes also written as 'eewaan'] is often translated as 'palace' but more accurately denotes a palatial 'gallery or hallway', and hence the imagery of 'rows of darkened lamps' fits in very well there. Also, I have translated 'aagaaz-o-ma'aal' as 'beginnings and denouements', but that doesn't quite capture the true nuance. Aagaaz is not just any sort of 'beginning' but specifically the beginning of an enterprise or effort, the sort of thing one would ideally translate as a 'setting out' or 'launching off'... and ma'aal, of course, is how such an enterprise 'turns out'... the combination describing the composite of efforts and their results (...now reread that line...). The 'dahshat-e-fardaa' also merits attention. Fardaa is literally tomorrow, but is usually used to describe the 'day of reckoning' (as a means to emphasise the imminence of the latter)... hence the use of 'dahshat' is quite fitting there... And mauhuum is used to indicate something 'fanciful or imagined'...