Hum Dekhenge

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Hum Dekhenge 
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Original titleویبقی و جہ ر بک
First published in1981

Hum Dekhenge (Urdu: ہم دیکھیں گے‎) is a popular Urdu nazm written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, with a revolutionary theme.[1] It was written in January 1979 in United States when Faiz was invited to Honolulu for a writers' conference[2]. The poem was included in the seventh poetry book of Faiz, titled Mere Dil Mere Musafir in 1981. It was known for its rendition by Iqbal Bano.[3]

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,[4] typically love and intoxication, with deeply political concerns such as revolution and sacrifice.

On 5 July 1977 General Zia Ul Haq seized power in Pakistan through a coup where he disposed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[5] 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.[6]

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 "Inquilab 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.[7]

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.


The nazm was recreated in CokeStudio11, where the featured artists performed it. It was released on 22 July 2018, and was produced by Zohaib Kazi and Ali Hamza.[8][9][10]

Earlier, it was also recreated by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, which was then used as the title song for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in Pakistani general election, 2013, and then in Azadi march, 2014.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Vincent, Pheroze L. (2 January 2012), Faiz poetry strikes chord in Delhi, Calcutta, India: The Telegraph
  2. ^ Lazard, Naomi (14 February 2011). "It's happening, Faiz". Dawn. Retrieved 7 April 2019.
  3. ^ Khan, M Ilyas (22 April 2009). "Pakistani singer Iqbal Bano dies". BBC News.
  4. ^ Ghazal#Themes
  5. ^ Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
  6. ^ Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq#United States sponsorship
  7. ^ Raza, Gauhar (January 2011), "Listening to Faiz is a subversive act", Himal Southasian, archived from the original on 17 March 2013
  8. ^ Rida Lodhi (23 July 2018). "7 reasons we are looking forward to 'Coke Studio Season 11'". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  9. ^ Maheen Sabeeh (24 July 2018). "Coke Studio 11 announces itself with 'Hum Dekhenge'". The News International. Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Coke Studio announces artist line-up with 'Hum Dekhenge'". DAWN Images. 27 July 2018. Retrieved 29 July 2018.