February 13, 2011

Happy 100th birthday, Faiz Sahib!

Faiz & Alys: a fragile poet with a strong woman.–Pic via Google
TODAY is the 100th birthday of famous Urdu language Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz (February 13, 1911—November 20, 1984). Although he is not in this world today, but a poet never dies—so let us say: Happy Birthday, Faiz Sahib!

As a part of Faiz’s Centenary celebrations, public and intellectual events have been arranged in many parts of the world including Pakistan. 

Traditionally on such occasions, people especially journalists, writers and organizers of events – including family members of the poet – often forget the woman behind this famous man—Alys Faiz. To fill this gap, here we’re reproducing an obituary, written soon after the death of that graceful lady.—The Terrorland Team  

A tribute to Alys Faiz

By Habib R. Sulemani

ALYS Faiz (1914-2003) was a motherly figure not only for her two talented daughters but also for many of those liberal and educated people who preached love, peace, human values and social justice in Pakistan. As a journalist, human rights ...activist, social worker and teacher, she endeared herself to all. Being the author of two books, she had also written poems in English, some of them were published in Government College of Lahore’s magazine Ravi.

During my decade-long stay in
Lahore, as a silent observer of the literary-scene, I was fascinated by her life-story which made me believe that women are stronger than men and have an immense power and talent for reconciliation and bridging the gaps between two families or nations. Although, Alys was a western woman, she married a man from the east, lived in Pakistan and is now buried here as “daughter of the soil”.

Alys gave courage to many western women who were married to Pakistanis and now live here as citizens. In our society the western woman is portrayed as a stereotype, which is either based on movies, written materials or hearsay stories. The grace of the western woman can be seen through the life of Alys and women like her.

Alys gave many sacrifices. Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s life and poetry have influenced hundreds of thousands of people in one way or the other, but Alys has shaped his life and poetry. A study of Faiz, as a person and a poet, cannot be complete without a study of Alys. Rather I should say she needs a special treat on her own right as a writer and a poet.

Anthologies of Pakistani writers, who write in English, must contain her writings. Her poems, columns, reports, letters and other writings must be published. That will benefit both general readers as well as those who are interested in studying Faiz. Both in happiness and in misery, Alys always stood beside Faiz for 43 years, but God separated them for 19 long years, when Faiz died in 1984.

Now Alys is again standing beside her soul-mate in a
Lahore graveyard. Faiz Sahib might be happy in the heavens’ but people do not write poetry from the heavens, so we cannot see his reaction but the legend will go on.—Dawn, March 18, 2003 


  1. HOW CAN YOU CELEBRATE BIRTHDAY OF A DEAD MAN ?? .................. Just kidding

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    Zeeshan Ahmed
    Telecom Professional

  3. its great sharing i really like it and i hope that you will keep it up and will share more informatION as like this
    keep it up Webmaster