Hum Dekhenge

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"Hum Dekhenge"
Single
Genre Ghazal
Songwriter(s) Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Hum Dekhenge is a popular Urdu nazm written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, with a revolutionary theme.[1] It was known for its rendition by Iqbal Bano.[2]

Writer's historical and cultural context[edit]

Faiz Ahmed Faiz was one of Pakistan’s most famous poets and public intellectuals. His career spanned several critical phases of Pakistani history, including the traumatic birth of Pakistan, its early years and the rise and fall of a number of governments. Faiz’s work was noted for fusing the traditional concerns of the ghazal,[3] typically love and intoxication, with deeply political concerns such as revolution and sacrifice.

On July 5, 1977 General Zia Ul Haq seized power in Pakistan through a coup where he disposed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[4] He initially ruled as Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) in 1977, but later installed himself as the President of Pakistan in September 1978, ruling under martial law.

Zia’s dictatorship took an increasingly religious conservative and repressive line, implementing a series of policy measures reflecting his beliefs on the nature of Pakistan as a conservative Islamic State. To his detractors, Zia’s Islamicization programme coupled with widespread political repression was read as a cynical ploy. As one prominent critic put it Zia played “the Islam card” in order to strengthen his grip on power. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in late 1979 and Zia’s support of the mujahiddin meant that Western governments, in particular the United States, turned a blind eye to Zia’s domestic policies in exchange for his support in the war against the Soviets.[5]

Faiz was a prominent Marxist. He was a recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize by the Soviet Union in 1962. His political beliefs set him up as a natural critic of General Zia Ul Haq. In 1985, as part of Zia's programme of forced Islamicization, the sari, part of the traditional attire for women on the subcontinent was banned. That year, Iqbal Bano, one of Pakistan's best loved singers and artists, sang Hum Dekhenge to an audience of 50,000 people in a Lahore stadium wearing a black sari. The recording was smuggled out and distributed on bootleg cassette tapes across the country. Cries of "Inqilab Zindabad" ("Long Live Revolution") and thunderous applause from the audience can be heard on the recording on YouTube. Faiz was in prison at the time. (there is some doubt, since Faiz died in November 1984)

Hum Dekhenge was written in 1979. It is considered Faiz’s response to General Zia ul Haq’s repressive dictatorship and a critical commentary of Zia’s brand of authoritarian Islam.[6]

Lyrics[edit]

hum dekhenge
laazim hai ke hum bhii dekhenge
hum dekhenge

who din ke jis kaa waada hai
hum dekhenge

jo lauh-e-azal mein likhaa hai

hum dekhenge

jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-giraan
rooii kii tarah uR jaayenge
hum mahkoomon ke paaoon tale
yeh dhartii dhaR dhaR dhaRkegii
aur ahl-e-hakam ke sar uupar
jab bijlii kaR kaR kaRkegii

hum dekhenge

jab arz-e-Khudaa ke kaabe se
sab but uThwaaye jaayenge
hum ahl-e-safaa mardood-e-haram
masnad pe biThaaye jaayenge
sab taaj uchhaale jaayenge
sab taKhth giraaye jaayenge

hum dekhenge

bus naam rahegaa Allah kaa
jo Gaayab bhii hai haazir bhii
jo manzar bhii hai naazir bhii
uThegaa "ina-l-haqq" kaa naaraa
jo main bhii hoon aur tum bhii ho
aur raaj karegii Khalq-e-Khudaa
jo main bhii hoon aur tum bhii ho

hum dekhenge
laazim hai ke hum bhii dekhenge
hum dekhenge

Transliteration[edit]

hum dekhenge
We shall see
laazim hai ke hum bhii dekhenge
It is certain that we too shall see
hum dekhenge
We shall see

who din ke jis kaa waada hai
That promised day
jo lauh-e-azal mein likhaa hai
Which is carved in the eternal tablet

hum dekhenge
We shall see

jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-giraa.n
When the cruel mountains of injustice
roo_ii kii tarah uR jaayenge
Will blow away like cotton-wool
hum mahkoomo.n ke paa_oo.n tale
Beneath the feet of the oppressed
yeh dhartii dhaR dhaR dhaRkegii
Like a heartbeat this land will shake
aur ahl-e-hakam ke sar uupar
And atop the heads of those in power
jab bijlii kaR kaR kaRkegii
When lightning thunders and strikes

hum dekhenge
We shall see

jab arz-e-Khudaa ke Kaabe se
From God's holy Earth
sab but uThwaaye jaayenge
All idolatory will be eradicated
hum ahl-e-safaa mardood-e-haram
We, the pure, we the outcasts
masnad pe biThaaye jaayenge
On cushions will we be seated
sab taaj uchhaale jaayenge
All crowns will be tossed up
sab taKhth giraaye jaayenge
All thrones will be thrown down

hum dekenge
We shall see

bus naam rahegaa Allah kaa
The only name remaining will be that of Allah
jo Gaayab bhii hai haazir bhii
Who is imperceptible and yet present
jo manzar bhii hai naazir bhii
Who is both the scene and the spectator
uThegaa "ana-l-haqq" kaa naaraa
The cry “I am the truth” will rise
jo main bhii hoo.n aur tum bhii ho
Of which I am and so are you
aur raaj karegii Khalq-e-Khudaa
And the creation of God will rule
jo main bhii hoo.n aur tum bhii ho
Of which I am and so are you

hum dekhenge
We shall see
laazim hai ke hum bhii dekhenge
It is certain that we too shall see
hum dekhenge
We shall see

Translation[edit]

We will see
It is certain that we too will see
We will see

That day which has been promised
Which has been written in the divine tablet

We will see

When the cruel mountains of injustice
Will blow away like cotton-wool
Beneath the feet of (us) the oppressed
This earth's heartbeat will pound
And above the heads of the rulers
Lightning will crackle

We will see

From the Kaaba of God's earth
All the idols will be lifted
We, the pure people, who have been rejected from the Holy Sanctuary
On high cushions we will be seated
All crowns will be hurled up
All thrones will be brought down

We will see

The only name remaining will be that of Allah
Who is both absent and present
Who is the spectacle and the spectator
The cry “I am truth” will arise
Of which I am a part and so are you
And the creation of God will rule
Of which I am a part and so are you

We will see
It is certain that we too will see
We will see

Meaning and interpretation[edit]

The title of the song “Hum Dekhenge” or “We will see” is a promise. The promise of the poem is a promise that we will see a day where "mountains of injustice" are “blown away like cotton.” The poem goes on to describe that day, where the land rumbles like a heartbeat under the feet of the oppressed and lightning crackles over the heads of those in power. The poem's beginning deals with conventional themes such as injustice and oppression, then gives way to more overtly religious symbolism. Faiz writes that the idols will be lifted from the Kabah – the Kabah being the holiest site in Islam, located in Mecca. The poem goes on to describe a revolutionary inversion of power, where the pure hearted who were outlawed, or cast out, will be honoured and “seated on cushions.” The crowns (of those in power) will be thrown up in the air (alluding to a celebration) and their thrones will be cast low. The final stanza of the poem is the most religious in tone, declaring that the only name (essentially on people’s lips) will that be of Allah and a great revolutionary cry of “I am Truth” will go up and people of faith will rule again.

Faiz’s description of the idols being lifted from the Kabah echoes the coming of the Prophet Muhammad and Islam, where the Prophet is said to have personally destroyed all the idols in the Kabah, returning it to the worship of the monotheism of Abraham and the Prophets before him. In Islam the Prophethood of the Prophet Muhammad signals the end of the age of “jahilliyah” or “barbarism,” a period considered by Muslims to be one marked by darkness, brutality, injustice and ignorance.

Faiz's imagery draws from the rich descriptions in the Qur'an describing Qiyamah, the final Day of Reckoning (or Judgement), when, among other things, even seemingly insurmountable icons of intimidating strength such as mountains will vaporize and be exposed as impermanent and insignificant before Divine Justice. The day of revolution may represent a critical commentary on the nature of Zia ul Haq’s regime. The poem ends on the promise of the day when people of faith rule, suggesting that people of faith are not currently ruling but idolators rule. Faiz is, in effect, calling Zia ul Haq, a man who proudly rules in the name of Islam, a non-Muslim, and an idolator - a worshipper of power and not Allah. In Islam, the greatest sin that one can commit is to make associations with Allah (this interpretation of Hallaj's statement that resulted in his execution), and idol worships falls into this greatest of sins. From an Islamic point of view, there can be no greater judgment or insult to a ruler. The poem could therefore be considered a call to the faithful to overthrow Zia for this gravest of sins.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vincent, Pheroze L. (January 2, 2012), Faiz poetry strikes chord in Delhi, Calcutta, India: The Telegraph 
  2. ^ Khan, M Ilyas (April 22, 2009). "Pakistani singer Iqbal Bano dies". BBC News. 
  3. ^ Ghazal#Themes
  4. ^ Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
  5. ^ Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq#United States sponsorship
  6. ^ Raza, Gauhar (January 2011), "Listening to Faiz is a subversive act", Himal Southasian