Speak Up, translated by Amman Ali Hussain Shaheen

Speak out, for your words (lips) are free
Speak out, your tongue is still your own
Your stiff body remains yours
Speak out, for your life still remains yours
In the blacksmith’s forge
Flames are soaring
Iron is flaring
How the shackles are unbolting
and unlinked chains are spreading
Speak out, this little time is plenty
Before the demise of tongue and body
For the truth is still preserved
Speak out your heart!


The main reason for choosing this poem was its historical background and the love to such an inspirational poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz. When I found it hard to select an appropriate poem, I read the biography of different poets. Though, all of them seemed impressive, what I personally liked about Faiz Ahmad Faiz was his commitment to learning and achieving excellence in every aspect of his life: Be it Poetry, Play Writing or Serving One’s Homeland. What I found interesting about this poem was: Faiz wrote this poem for his friend Sheikh Abdullah, who was an activist, striving to get freedom for Kashmir. A poem that could motivate the freedom fighters and fill up their hearts with enthusiasm and love to independence. The most challenging words to translate, for me, were ‘Kaflu’ and ‘Dahany’. I could not use the literal meaning of these words. So, I searched synonyms and used the words that actually went best with it. Since, the style adopted by the poet was very motivating and the actual poem has the power to inspire youngsters, making word choices in English, that could actually deliver the same meaning and effect was very difficult. I tried to use rhyming words as much as I could such as ‘soaring’ and ‘flaring’.


Original poem by Faiz Ahmed Faiz