It’s time to re-read Faiz, Premchand

During the ongoing political turmoil, verses of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and short stories of Premchand are desperately needed, writes Humra Quraishi

Both — Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Premchand — the need of the hour! And there land these two books on them, on their works…Yes, in this  political turmoil that we are going through, verse of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and the short stories of Premchand are desperately needed….ought to be read aloud so that we could remain intact, with solidarity holding sway!

Of course, they wrote decades back, in their turbulent times, with political lows denting the very scenario. But amazingly their words and sentiments hold out, in these present dark times that we are destined to be living in. Today, when fascism seems overtaking, denting our everyday living and existence. Today, when the common man of the country sits frightful of what next tomorrow. Today, when horrifying rounds of violence is spreading out, sparing not even the young of the country. Today, when our freedom is getting curtailed by the hour, when divisions are coning out, when questions are being raised what we wear or talk or hearor eat!

Before I get carried away, let me focus on these two books — In this book –‘God’s Share In Stale Rice & Other Stories’, Premchand’s short stories hold out. Selected and translated by T.C. Ghai, these stories hold out to this day. For, invariably they focus on the oppressed. Settings could vary but not the prime characters and the challenges and struggles in their daily lives.A sense of idealism runs through his stories and I would go a step ahead and call them realistic to the core. Also, they are more relevant today than ever before, as  today realities have  turned harsher and darker and frightful.

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Now focusing on the book on the life and works of Faiz Ahmad Faiz . It is a detailed read…Also, it holds out several of his verse, relevant for the times he lived in and also today — wherever we living in, in this subcontinent.

Perhaps, Faiz’s this verse tucked in the pages of this book, relays much of his agony for his times and for our times —

“This moment is to mourn the death of time/

The river of the sky has paused/

And near the banks of horizon/

The moon- ferry of the gloomy hues has anchored/

All the ferry men , all the stars/

Have disembarked/

On the shore of the earth/

The leaves are gasping for breath/

The winds are dozing off/

The gong has issued the order of silence/

Then all voices lost in quietness…”