7 thoughts on “Iqbal Bano (1935-2009)”

  1. I want to celebrate not only Iqbal Bano’s voice but her courage. I am thinking of course, of her rendering of Faiz’s Hum Dekhenge in Pakistan during General Zia’s dictatorship, to an aroused and ecstatic audience, often shouting “inquilab zindabad” – recordings of which most of us have heard. I have had the good fortune to hear her sing it in Delhi in the late 90’s, I think, where she seemed a little disappointed by the audience’s polite wah-wah’s – I remember she tried to rouse us to respond, but while clearly admiring, we were murmurous rather than charged and raucous!

    Salima Hashmi, daughter of Faiz, remembers that historic performance:

    ‘She was one of the greatest means of support and inspiration during General Zia’s dictatorship,’ says Hashmi, recalling that in 1985, when there was an unspoken ban on reciting Faiz’s revolutionary poetry, Bano dared and performed ‘Hum Dekheingay!’ to an ecstatic audience. ‘I still remember the repeated requests of the charged listeners for an encore from that evening,’ she says. The song later became her anthem, which she would sing in all of her concerts to the delight of her many admirers.
    ‘In fact,’ says Hashmi, ‘it was Bano who started singing Faiz’s poetry for the first time in 1981 at a time when the poet himself was in exile in Beirut.’

    Jio, Iqbal Bano!


  2. Of course Nivi, Lazim Hain Ki Hum Bhi Dekhenge…

    Hum dekhenge
    Lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge
    Woh din ke jis ka waada hai
    Jo loh-e-azl pe likha hai
    Hum dekhenge

    Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-garaan
    Rui ki tarah ud jayenge
    Hum mehkumoon ke paun tale
    Yeh dharti dhad dhad dhadkagi
    Aur ehl-e-hukum ke sar upar
    Jab bijli kad kad kadkegi
    Hum dekhenge

    Jab arz-e-khuda ke Kabe se
    Sab but uthwaye jayenge
    Hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-haram
    Masnad pe bithaye jayenge
    Sab taaj uchale jayenge
    Sab takht giraye jayenge

    Bas naam rahega Allah ka
    Jo ghayab bhi hai hazir bhi
    Jo nazir bhi hai manzar bhi
    Uthega analhaq ka naara
    Jo main bhi hoon aur tum bhi ho
    Aur raaj karegi khalq-e-khuda
    Jo main bhi hoon aur tum bhi ho

    Hum dekhenge
    Lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge
    Hum dekhenge

    – Faiz Ahmed Faiz


  3. I looked for translations of Hum Dekhenge on the web, for those who do not understand Urdu, and found two by Ghazala and Maniza Naqvi, on whose translations I based my version below:

    We shall see,
    For certain we shall see,
    the day that has been promised us,
    on the tablet of eternity.

    When these high mountains
    Of tyranny
    will drift away like wisps of cotton.

    And beneath our feet, the feet of the oppressed,
    the earth will tremble.
    Lightning crack above the heads of kings,
    And thunder roar.
    Yes, we will see that day.

    When from the abode of God,
    false idols will be driven out,
    And we, the pure of heart,
    long forbidden from the sacred place –
    We, yes, we will be seated on those high cushions.
    All thrones overturned,
    Crowns trampled underfoot.

    Remaining only the Name of God,
    That which is absent, but present too,
    That which is the spectacle, and also the beholder.
    Then will rise the cry – I am the truth –
    That which is I,
    And which is you.

    And then will reign
    The people of God,
    Which is I,
    And which is you.

    Yes we shall see,
    For certain we shall see,
    We shall see.

    “Analhaq” – I am the truth, was the cry of Mansoor Al-Hallaj, a 9th century Persian Sufi: “I have seen my Lord with the eye of my heart, and I said, ‘Who are You?’ He said – ‘You.’”
    For this blasphemy he was tortured and killed as a heretic.

    Faiz, a lifelong communist, was invoking the heretic and liberatory traditions in Islam to “speak truth to power”, and like Mansur, he paid a price, more than once being imprisoned in Pakistani jails.
    (Is it true that he was in Zia’s prison even as Iqbal Bano sang Hum Dekhenge to the delirious crowds?)

    Can anybody post an audio of Iqbal Bano’s rendering of Hum Dekhenge on that electrifying occasion?

    For more on Pakistan’s resistance poetry, see Pak Tea House.


    1. Nivedita,

      Good effort for translating the great words in English where the meanings and feelings remained intact. A few corrections are required as such. Word “rulers” may be used replacing “kings”. And “thone” may be used replacing “high cushions”. Just a suggestion.

      Here is the link to Hum dekhe ge Audio in the voice of Iqbal Bano:



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