Look at the City from here – Faiz (1965)

What I drew from his poem analysis is that the poet is giving an intense dramatic metaphorical view of the city. The city is divided into constituencies like small controlled jails. People are like jailed criminals, streets are not free and each street is a dog-run for prisoners. People are controlled and enjoy no free will, as they are not living their life willing fully. Because they are remote controlled and thus spending their journey with no goals, no destinations or any specific focus. People are employed like slaves, as they are commanded and ordered like Slaves.

This reminds me of ‘Metropolis’ German silent movie (1927) that uses a dystopian society to explore the dangers inherent in capitalism and Industrialization. The film opens with an introduction to Metropolis, a vast city where a working class lives underground and tends to the machines that power the city, and a ruling class, headed by Joh Fredersen, the creator of the city, lives above ground.

Faiz’s perception of the city seems close to that to William Blake’s in his poem of London.

‘London’ by William Blake

I wandered through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
A mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

In every cry of every man,
In every infant’s cry of fear,
In every voice, in every ban,
The mind-forged manacles I hear:

How the chimney-sweeper’s cry
Every blackening church appals,
And the hapless soldier’s sigh
Runs in blood down palace-walls.

But most, through midnight streets I hear
How the youthful harlot’s curse
Blasts the new-born infant’s tear,
And blights with plagues the marriage-hearse.

The tragedy of poverty, the hypocrisy of the church and the injustice of the class system are all present in this poem. They are dissatisfactions that lead to revolution.

Reference: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/172929

Book: Gestures: An Anthology of South Asian Poetry edited by Saccidānandan

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