Translations from the Urdu of Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz - III

Shackles on your feet

A sightly different version appeared in To Topos Poetry International, PACIFICA: PEACE & the SEA, Vol. 5, pg. 49, 2003.

Translator's note: The Urdu version was written in Lahore Jail on 11 February, 1959.

Wet eyes and a crazed will are not enough;
Nor are allegations of a furtive love;
Stride in the bazaar today, shackles on your feet.

Stride with arms spread open, dance with wild abandon;
Stride with dust-covered hair and blood-stained shirt;
Stride, all the beloved city awaits your arrival.

The official and the commoner;
Sad mornings and barren days;
Arrows of slander and stones of insult.

Who but we can be their companion?
Who in the beloved town remains free of guilt?
Who remains worthy of the killer's hand?

Broken-hearted friends, pack up your bleeding hearts;
Stride, let us be the ones who are killed today.

The translator would like to acknowledge the contributions of Moazzam Sheikh, Frances Pritchett, Cormac Herley, Ajit Sanzgiri and S. Charusheela to this translation

To Hariharan, Zakir Hussain and Ismail Merchant, for a wonderful rendering and picturization of this in the film “Muhafiz”

Translated from the Urdu of Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz by Poorvi Vora.

Copyright © 2003 Poorvi Vora

Email: poorvi at
Last modified: 27 May 2018