A Note on the Poetic Aesthetic of Faiz

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Aysha Munira Rasheed


Faiz’s championship for a classless society has a conscious voice in his poetry. His attempt is to uphold the tenets of Communism and the cause of the deprived, the underdog “yeh galion ke awara bekar Kutte†(Faiz  Nuskha Haai Wafa 71) which is well manifest in his poetry. His voice is robust with optimism, courage and strength. In him, there is a celebration of not only the intellect which is often a prerogative of the upper class that can afford time and energy to spend for the acquisition of intellectual prowess and aesthetic taste; but there is also a bonhomie about physical strength that the proletariat are more associated with as theirs is real struggle of the body and its sustenance. Hands, mouth and lips, voice, a tall and erect body accustomed to hard work are the main sources of power. His poetry enthuses many and is appreciated by many. Some of his poems are in Punjabi aiming at the Punjabi peasantry. Is Faiz’s appeal really universal, cutting across the class borders? The aesthetic peculiar to Faiz that he perhaps shares only with Ghalib, involves an amalgamation of high and low styles and diction. His conversational style admixes with Arab-Persian lexical chunks. It was something inevitable for his lack of control of the language that draws its aesthetic conventions in an intellectual hybridity resulting from its historical contact and association with Arabic and Persian, once languages of the intellectual as well as emotional make-up of the learned class. A reading of his poetry against its grain reveals the fault lines inherent in his aesthetic. It is ironic that crux of his message is for the proletariat of the society who cannot read him with felicity as they lack the pre-requisite literary competence and are beyond the purview and leisure of reading sessions. Major Mohammed Is’haaq’s “Roodad-e-Qafas†(Faiz Zindan Naama 9), epitomises warring nature of the ideology, theme and aesthetic that inheres Faiz’s poetry. Mohammed Is’haaq’s sense of honour associated with the task of writing an introduction to Faiz’s poetry, his alleged plebeian background and his hyperbolic confession of nervousness for the said task (in a language that again belies the said words) affirms the opposing threads of potential interpretations that make apparent that the unity of his voice and theme remain elusive and indeterminate. The question whether Faiz may infuse the real underdogs with the real zeal, ardour and passion, as he talks about the uplift of their lot demands an attempt to affirm an answer or lack thereof. The paper is an experiment with the trailing of the fissures and gaps that leave any interpretation of Faiz’s poetry indeterminate without undermining the effect it has on a particular class that controls, defines and patents aesthetic sense.

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Aysha Munira Rasheed, Aligarh Muslim University Aligarh India

Aysha Munira, Ph. D.Assistant Professor,Department of EnglishAligarh Muslim UniversityAligarh