India and Pakistan: 63 Years of Fake Freedom – I

Wo intizar tha jis-ka, ye wo sahar to nahiñ





Before I put up the post by Partha Banerjee, as a prelude to his essay,  here is a write up from Faiz’s Dawn of Freedom. This was put up by AISA JNU (

on the 60th anniversary of India’s Independence and the eve of Bhagat Singh’s Birth Centenary. The views expressed in this write up hold good even to day;  BECAUSE for people on both sides of the border.

Wo intizar tha jis-ka, ye wo sahar to nahiñ.[Nayyar]


As the celebratory clamour of ‘63 years of Indian Independence’ accompanied by boasts of our strategic partnership with the US and jingoistic roars against Pakistan threaten to deafen us, let’s take a minute to hear Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s Subh-e Azadi (Dawn of Freedom) speak to us. Its words are as hauntingly familiar, as evocative, as inspiring as they were 63 years ago. Then, its view of “this night-bitten dawn”, stained by the communal bloodshed of Partition, mocked at the triumphalism of Nehru’s Tryst With Destiny speech which announced that “India will awake to life and freedom”.

September 28 marks Bhagat Singh’s Birth Centenary. Written in August 1947, Subh-e Azadi resounds with echoes of Bhagat Singh’s own warnings that freedom could hardly be genuine if it just meant replacing white sahibs with brown ones. Both Faiz and Bhagat Singh and their legacy of Communism and anti-imperialism are deeply cherished on both sides of the border. The Indian ruling class does its best to kill the memory of Bhagat Singh the revolutionary; Faiz spent a large part of his latter life in Pakistani jails.

Come September, the dark clouds of US imperialism blot out the weak light of democracy and sovereignty in both Pakistan and India – with US threats of direct military intervention in Pakistan and attempts (eagerly supported by the Indian government) to take India into an even closer strategic embrace with the nuke deals.


As our rulers outlaw all dissent and permit only paeans of praise to the 9% growth rate, let’s remind ourselves, with the help of Faiz and Bhagat Singh, that this dawn – of nuclear deals, farmers’ suicides, fake encounters, corporate land grab, starvation deaths, police firings and jingoistic wars – isn’t the dawn we set out for… That quest for the “promised Dawn” of freedom continues!

Dawn of Freedom (August 1947)

These tarnished rays, this night-smudged light

This is not that Dawn for which, ravished with freedom,

we had set out in sheer longing,

so sure that somewhere in its desert the sky harbored

a final haven for the stars, and we would find it.

We had no doubt that night’s vagrant wave would stray towards the shore

that the heart rocked with sorrow would at last reach its port.

Friends, our blood shaped its own mysterious roads.

When hands tugged at our sleeves, enticing us to stay,

and from wondrous chambers Sirens cried out

with their beguiling arms, with their bare bodies,

our eyes remained fixed on that beckoning dawn,

for ever vivid in her muslins of transparent light.

Our blood was young, what could hold us back?

Now listen to the terrible rampant lie:

Light has forever been severed from the Dark;

our feet, it is heard, are now one with their goal.

See our leaders polish their manner clean of our suffering:

Indeed, we must confess only to bliss;

we must surrender any utterance for the Beloved, all yearning is outlawed.

But the heart, the eye, the yet deeper heart,

Still ablaze for the Beloved, their turmoil shines.

In the lantern by the road the flame is stalled for news:

Did the morning breeze ever come? Where has it gone?

Night weighs us down; it still weighs us down.

Friends, come away from this false light.

Come, we must search for that promised Dawn.

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz, (August 1947), translated from the Urdu by Agha Shahid Ali

SUBH-E-AZADI (August 1947)

Faiz Ahmed Faiz, (August 1947), translated from the Urdu by Agha Shahid Ali

SUBH-E-AZADI (August 1947)

Ye dagh dagh ujala, ye shab-gazida sahar,
Wo intizar tha jis-ka, ye wo sahar to nahiñ,
Ye vo sahar to nahiñ jis-ki arzu lekar
Chale the yar ke mil-jaegi kahiñ na kahiñ

Falak ke dasht main taroñ ki akhiri manzil,
Kahiñ to hoga shab-e sust mauj ka sahil,
Kahiñ to jake rukega safina-e-gham-e-dil.

Jawañ lahu ki pur-asrar shahrahoñ se
Chale jo yar to daman pe kitne hath pare;
Diyar-e-husn ki be-sabr khwabgahoñ se
Pukarti-rahiñ baahaiñ, badan bulate-rahe;
Bahut aziz thi lekin rukh-e-sahar ki lagan,
Bahut qarin tha hasinan-e-nur ka daman,
Subuk subuk thi tamanna, dabi dabi thi thakan.
Suna hai ho bhi chuka hai firaq-e-zulmat-o-nur,
Suna hai ho bhi chuka hai visal-e-manzil-o-gam;
Badal-chuka hai bahut ahl-e-dard ka dastur,
Nishat-e-vasl halal o azab-e-hijr haram.
Jigar ki aag, nazar ki umañg, dil ki jalan,

Kisi pe chaara-e-hijrañ ka kuchh assar hi nahiñ.
Kahañ se a’i nigar-e-saba, kidhar ko ga’i?
Abhi charagh-e-sar-e-rah ko kuchh khbar hi nahiñ;
Abhi girani-e-shab maiñ kami nahiñ a’i,
Najat-e-dida-o-dil ki gharhi nahiñ a’i;
Chale-chalo ke vo manzil abhi nahiñ a’i.


Next: India and Pakistan: 63 Years of Fake Freedom – II

Title Image:

Note: The n with a nasal sound as in Urdui word kahañ (where) has been used with a wave bar above the alphabet n.



Wonders of Pakistan supports freedom of expression and this commitment extends to our readers as well. Constraints however, apply in case of a violation of WoP Comments Policy.We also moderate hate speech, libel and gratuitous insults.
We at Wonders of Pakistan use copyrighted material the use of which may not have always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We make such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” only. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

9 replies to “India and Pakistan: 63 Years of Fake Freedom – I

  1. “Dawn of Freedom”… Yes, a beautifully written piece. Thank you Aisa Jnu, and thank you too Nayyar.

  2. sorry, talk about pakistan and islam… our country and our rule of land gaurantees freedom and we are indeed free.
    We got cheated by this arabian ideology and now we are free and you guys will stay slaves forever of arabian culture, god, customs and food everything … and stop comparing your hateful cult and country to us

    1. @Poke, Why the hell u Indians can’t get rid of ur historical paranoia against Islam, Pakistan & the Muslims?
      India is a free country only for da rich moneyed class & for the politicians who befool da masses through their Machiavellian tactics. Take any Bollywood movie & you’ll see the machinations of ur Indian politicians. Dis, however, by no means justifies what the PK politicians do. In fact they are chips of the same block.
      If we are slaves, so are you, we of the Pentagon and you guys of the US corporatized world.
      Muhammad Wasi of Kundian

    2. @Poke: With more people living below the poverty line in India than all of Sub-Saharan Africa combined, we are free indeed.

      With half the population of our country with access to mobile phones, but only one-third with access to proper sanitation, we are free indeed.

      With extreme right-wingers who pull down Mosques, burn Gurdwaras and destroy Churches, just like the Taliban pull down the Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan and go unpunished, we are free indeed.

      With more than 25 years having gone by without the families of 4000 innocents killed in the most horrific communal riots since partition having received justice or proper rehabilitation, we are free indeed.

      With little justice having been delivered for other such victims of communal violence, we are free indeed.

      With communalism and casteism still being rampant and the country transforming into a tinderbox every now and then on those accounts, we are free indeed.

      With security forces unable to protect the common citizenry from terrorist attacks, but deployed in large numbers to protect politicians and their kin, besides being adept at fleecing common people through bribes at every available opportunity, we are free indeed.

      With a sizeable proportion of the country’s youth having taken to arms, either in the name of Maoism or religious extremism, owing to a perception of being persecuted on basis of caste or religion, we are free indeed.

      With sports being administered by those who gladly sell national honour for a few lakh rupees, we are free indeed.

      With a parallel economy, fuelled by black-money, which is as large as, if not larger than, the legitimate economy and with hundreds of thousands of crores of rupees parked in Swiss banks, even as common people virtually lead a hand to mouth existence, we are free indeed.

      Thanks for the reminder!

      This must have been just the kind of India that the freedom-fighters like Bhagat Singh had envisioned.

      1. The caste ridden society of India and a similar apartheistic society (braderi-ism) prevailing in Pakistan, the subcontinent still is in a bad need to “liberate” itself from political thugs, the brown sahibs, the feudals and the corporate termed business families [who, after 1947 replaced the Goras & feudal of the British Raj].
        However, the problem with our Indian brothers is that in their euphoria for a Shining India, they become oblivious to the on ground realities. Situation is still worse in Pakistan. The only difference being that we in Pakistan do recognize the blunders we made [though primarily by our political elite who succeeded the Qaid, a role which later was taken over sometimes partially but mostly in its totality by our men in khaki].
        Our Indian brothers get irritated over facts that Indian masses face BUT FACTS REMAIN FACTS.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
close-alt close collapse comment ellipsis expand gallery heart lock menu next pinned previous reply search share star