(This podcast has been republished from The Quint’s archives to mark Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s birth anniversary on 13 February. It was originally published on 12 February 2020.)
Faiz’s iconic poem ‘Hum Dekhenge’ has always been borrowed by protesting voices across the globe. The poem calls out the oppressors of every age, ideology and society.
The poem was written as a mark of protest against the regime of Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq, whose government was communal and regressive. A set of laws called the ‘Hudood Ordinances’ was the central policy of his government to ensure proper ‘Islamisation’ of Pakistan.
Hudood, or Hadd, means ‘limits’, and the law ordered the people of Pakistan to identify and remain well within the limits defined by the government. It is this religious fundamentalism that prompted Faiz to pen ‘Hum Dekhenge’ — a song that has since been the voice of Inquilaab or revolution.
Recently, this piece of poetry found its critics who alleged that the poem has an orthodox Islamic character because of a few lines written in it.
In this episode of Urdunama, The Quint’s Fabeha Syed explains the poem for you. And how using Islamic imagery, Faiz not only attacks the ultra-Islamic regime of Pakistani dictator Zia-ul-Haq, but also invokes the power of eternal truth and justice.