Faiz’s Letters to Alys

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Salima Hashmi


Faiz’s letters to his wife from jail (1951-55) were published in 1976. Titled ‘Saleebein Meray Dareechay Mein’ (Crufix in my window) they were translated into Urdu by Faiz himself. The originals, stored in his house in Lahore, were thought destroyed by termites during his exile in Beirut. Thirty five of them were discovered among Alys’ papers in 2009, restored and published in 2011.These form a small part of the correspondence between Faiz and Alys, which spans four decades. The earliest letters date from 1939 when they were courting and the last written in 1984, the year Faiz died. The letters are now in the process of conservation, which will take the better part of two years. As they become available to scholars, they will be a valuable source of information and insight into his personal reflections and his milieu. This piece represents mostly Faiz’s jail letters, including a cursory look at letters ranging from the 1940’s to the 1980’s.

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Transcreating Faiz