Faiz Ahmad Faiz was born in Kala Kader village, Sialkot, Punjab in British India to Sultan Mohammad Khan. Faiz's mother was Sultan Fatima. Faiz's father died in Sialkot in 1913. Faiz's father was a learned man and enjoyed the company of well-known literary persons. Faiz was therefore, born in a respectable and literary environment and was a very promising student with a religious background.

Faiz was sent to be oriented to the basics of religious studies and started memorizing the Holy Quran at the age of four and started his formal education in the famous school of Moulvi Ibrahim Sialkoti, and learnt Urdu, Persian and Arabic. He was admitted to the Scotch Mission High School in 1921 in Class IV. After matriculation he joined Murray College, Sialkot, Punjab for intermediate study and graduation. During this period he gained knowledge of Urdu, Persian and Arabic from Shamsul Ulama Moulvi Syed Meer Hasan. Meer Hasan had also been Allama Iqbal's teacher.

Faiz Passed his B.A. (Honours) in Arabic from the Government College, Lahore and then M.A. in English Literature from the same College in 1932. He also obtained another M.A. in Arabic, from Oriental College, Lahore.

He joined as Lecturer in English at M. A. O. College, Amritsar in 1935 and then at Hailey College of Commerce, Lahore. In 1942 he Joined the Army as Captain and worked in the department of Public Relations in Delhi. He was promoted to the rank of Major in 1943, and Lieut. Colonel in 1944. He resigned from The Army in 1947 and returned to Lahore, where he became the first editor-in-chief of the ‘Pakistan Times’. In 1959 he was appointed as Secretary, ‘Pakistan Arts Council’ and worked in that capacity till 1962. In 1964 he settled down in Karachi and was appointed as Principal, ‘Abdullah Haroon College’, Karachi.

Faiz distinguished himself as a journalist and was Editor of the monthly magazine “Adabe-Latif”, from 1947 to 1958. He worked as Editor under the Progressive Papers Ltd, of the Pakistan Times, the Urdu newspaper “Imroze” and the weekly “Lailo-Nihar”. In the 1965 war between India & Pakistan he worked in an honorary capacity in the Department of Information. In exile he acted as Editor of the magazine “Lotus” in Moscow, London and Beirut.

Faiz was associated with the Communist Party of Pakistan. He was also involved in the circle lending support to military personnel. In March 9th, he was arrested under Safety Act and charged in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy case. He had to face the hardships of imprisonment for four years in the jails of Sargodha, Montgomery, Hyderabad and Karachi. He was released on April 2nd, 1955.

Faiz throughout his life, continually wrote and published, becoming the best-selling modern Urdu poet in both India and Pakistan. Faiz is especially celebrated for his poems in traditional Urdu forms, such as ghazals, and his remarkable ability to expand the conventional thematic expectations to include political and social issues. Faiz wrote poems that opposed the bloodshed during separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan

Faiz Ahmad Faiz's poetry has been translated into many languages, including English and Russian. A Balochi poet, Mir Gul Khan Nasir, who was also a friend of Faiz Ahmad Faiz, translated his book “Sar-e-Wadi-e-Seena” into Balochi, titlled “Seenai Keechag aa”. Gul Khan translated this work of Faiz while in jail during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's regime for opposing the government's policies. It was published in 1980, after Zia-ul-Haq toppled Bhutto's government and freed all the political prisoners of Bhutto’s regime.

Victor Kiernan, British Marxist historian translated Faiz Ahmed Faiz's works into English, and transliteration in Punjabi by Mohinder Singh.

Faiz married a British woman, Alys Faiz in the 1930s.They had two daughters, Moneeza and Salima Hashmi. Salima is an eminent artist and Moneeza is a TV producer. Salima and Moneeza are married to brothers Shoaib Hashmi and Humair Hashmi respectively, who are noted media personalities.


Naqsh-e-Faryadi (1943)

Dast-e-Saba (1952)

Zindan-Nama (1956)

Mizan (1964)

Dast-e-Tah-e-Sung (1965)

Harf harf (1965)

Sar-e vadi-ye sina (1971)

Mata-i lauh o qalam (1973)

Rat di rat (1975)

Intikhab-i Payam-i Mashriq : manzum Urdu tarjumah (1977)

Sham-e shahri-yaran (1978)

Mere dil, mere musafir (1980)

Nuskha-Hai-Wafa (1984)

Mere Dil Mere Musafir

Poetry in Translation

Poems (1962) trans. by V.G. Kiernan

Poems by Faiz (1971) trans. V.G. Kiernan

The True Subject: Selected Poems of Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1988) trans. Naomi Lazard

The Unicorn and the Dancing Girl (1988) trans by Daud Kamal, ed. by Khalid Hasan

The Rebel's Silhouette (1991) trans. Agha Shahid Ali

The Rebel's Silhouette: Selected Poems (1995) rev. ed. trans. Agha

He was awarded the “Lenin Peace Prize” in 1963, as the first Asian poet. Before his death in 1984 he was also a nominee for the award of “Nobel Prize”, but his association in later life, with Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Movement, and the Editorship of Lotus, is believed to have deprived him of the award.

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