Here is a timeline of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s life. This timeline is an account of the poet, journalist, professor and a poet who stretched the boundaries of Urdu Poetry.
1911 ~ Faiz Ahmed was born on February 13th in Kala Qadir, Sialkot, Punjab. Faiz’s mother was Sultan Fatima and father, Chaudhry Sultan Muhammed Khan, was an educated person who wrote the biography of Amir Abdul Rehman, the ruler of Afghanistan.
1915 ~ Faiz started memorizing the Holy Quran at the age of four.
1916 ~ Faiz started his formal education in the famous school of Moulvi Ibrahim Sialkoti, and learned Urdu, Persian and Arabic.
1921~ Faiz was admitted to the Scot Mission High School in class IV.
1927 ~ Passed his Matriculation Examination in the 1st Division from Murray College, Sialkot and during this period learnt Persian and Arabic from Allama Iqbal’s teacher, Shamsul Ullama Moulvi Syed Meer Hasan and Professor Yousuf Saleem Chishti, who tought Urdu.
1929 ~ Start writing poetry in Urdu language.
1931 ~ Faiz’s father died. Passed his B.A. (Honours) in Arabic from the Government College, Lahore.
1932 ~ Passed M.A. in English from the Government College, Lahore.
1934 ~ Passed his M.A. in Arabic in the 1st Division, from Oriental College, Lahore.
1935 ~ Appointed lecturer English at M. A. O. College, Amritsar and then at Hailey College of Commerce, Lahore.
1936 ~ Faiz started a branch of Progressive Writers’ Movement in Punjab.
1938 ~ Alys George went to India and met and fell in love with Faiz Ahmad Faiz.
1941 ~In October Faiz married Alys and the ceremony was performed by Sheikh Abdullah, the Lion of Kashmir. Those who attended the ceremony included Dr MD Taseer.
1942 ~ Under the instruction from the Communist Party of India joined the British Army as Captain and worked in the department of Public Relations in Delhi.
1943 ~ Was promoted to the rank of Major. First collection of verses Naqsh-e-Faryadi (Sorrowfull Pattern) was published.
1944 ~ Was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
1947 ~ Resigned from The British Army and returned to Lahore.
On Febraury 4, the newspaper: Pakistan Times began regular publication with eight pages. The Quaid-i-Azam’s name appeared under the masthead as founder , while the printline bore the names of Mian Iftikharuddin as publisher and printer and Faiz Ahmed Faiz as acting editor. Faiz also headed the editorial board of its sister publications, the Urdu daily Imroze and the literary and political weekly Lail-o-Nahar. Faiz was then only 37 years old. As the editor of the Pakistan Times, the English-language left-leaning newspaper from Lahore, he wrote on an array of issues from 1947 until his arrest in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case in 1951. All these publications part of the Progressive Papers Limited.
August 14, British India was divided into India and Pakistan.
Became editor of monthly magazine: ‘Adb-e-Latif’ and remained in this capacity till 1958.
Became active in the newly formed Pakistan Trade Union Federation (PTUF). The PTUF was affiliated with the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), and he worked closely with other stalwarts like CR Aslam.
1948 ~ Became the Office Secretary of the Railway Workers Union which was established by Mirza Ibrahim. Daily Imroze was launched in the year. Maulana Charagh Hassan Hasrat and Faiz Ahmed Faiz were its editors.
1950 ~ Faiz became a member of the World Peace Council.
1951 ~ In March 9th, arrested for seditious activities under Safety Act and charged in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy case, and having borne the hardships of imprisonment for four years and one month in the jails of Sargodha, Montgomery (now Sahiwal), Hyderabad and Karachi, was released on April 2nd, 1955. Others arrested with him included Syed Sajjad Zaheer (General secretary of Communist Party of Pakistan) and about a dozen officers (ranking from major general to captain) and three civilians met at General Akbar Khan’s house.
1953 ~ While in prison, the Communist Part of Pakistan was banned. The year Dast-i Saba (Wind’s Palm) was published, Faiz Ahmed Faiz had been in jail for almost two years. He would remain in jail for another two.
1954 ~ Progressive Writers Association was also banned by the Pakistani government as a subversive organisation.
1955 ~ People’s Publishing House published Victor Kiernan’s first translations of a selection from Faiz. The book,Poems by Faiz, had the Urdu text, prepared by Kiernan’s closest collaborator, Nazir Ahmed, the well-known teacher in Lahore. It also had the Urdu transliterated into English, and then two translations, one literal and the other with flourishes.
After his release from prison, Faiz moved to London for a year.
1956 ~ Attended the first Conference of Asian Writers in Delhi. Zindan nama, the third collection of verses published.
1958 ~ Attended the Asian and African Writers Conference in Tashkent.
1959 ~ Appointed as Secretary, Pakistan Arts Council and worked in that capacity till 1962. Jago Hua Savera (Day Shall Dawn), a film directed by A.J. Kardar and script and lyrics penned by Faiz Ahmed Faiz released.
1962 ~ Faiz was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize, the Soviet Union equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Despite the warnings of the pro-American military government not to accept the award, Faiz proceeded to Moscow to receive the award. Faiz was the first Asian poet, others awarded with Lenin Peace Award included WEB Du Bois, Fidel Castro, Pablo Picasso, Bertold Brecht, Pablo Neruda, Mahmoud Darwish, Salvador Allende, Kwame Nkrumah and Angela Davis. In accepting the Lenin Prize, Faiz said: “Every foundation you see is defective, except the foundation of love, which is faultless.” It takes moral courage to love even when you see the ugly face of tyranny, and have felt its heavy hand on your …
Meezan (Scales), a collection of critical articles on literature published.
1963 ~ Fourth collection of verse: A Hand Pressed Under a Stone was published
1964 ~ Returned from London and settled down in Karachi and was appointed as Principal, Abdullah Haroon College, Karachi.
1965 ~ In the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, he worked in an honorary capacity in the Department of Information. Harf harf was published. Dast-e tah-e sang was published.
1971 ~ Crosses on My Windows published. Poems by Faiz, translated by V.G. Kiernan was published.
1972 ~ Became chairman of the Arts Council of Pakistan.
1973 ~ Attended the Asian and African Writers conference in Alma-ta.
1974 ~ Faiz visited Bangladesh, as part of an official delegation as an advisor on culture. This visit prompted him to write ‘Hum ke thehre ajnabi’ (We who have been rendered strangers).
1975 ~ Faiz awarded the Afro-Asian Literary prize. Rat di rat was published
1977 ~ General Zia-ul-Haq came to power in a military coup. And imposed martial law. He unleashed reactionary and fascistic terror in the name of Nizam-e-Mustafa (Islamic system). The lives of many progressive individual unbearable in Pakistan.
1978 ~ In February went into self-imposed exile for a period of five years. Faiz went to war-torn Beirut and worked with Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) as the editor of Lotus, the magazine of the Afro-Asian Writer’s Association. Sham-e shahri-yaran, was published.
1979 ~ Faiz penned one of his most famous poems: Dua (Prayer) directly challenging Zia’s military regime.
1980 ~ Mere Dil, Mere Musaafir (My Heart, My Wanderer) was published. Faiz dedicated his book to the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.
1982 ~ Left Beirut after Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Faiz came back to Lahore, Pakistan.
1984 ~ Nuskha-Hai-Wafa, was published.
Faiz died in Lahore on 20th November.