Speak up is a thought-provoking poem by Faiz Ahmad Faiz. The poet has a deep and profound meaning and courage that aims to give voice to the voiceless.
The poem “Speak up” is a beautiful expression of the poet against the atrocities of the Britishers. The poet calls upon his countrymen to raise voice against the repressors. It is a poem of profound meaning and courage that intends to infuse a spark of bravery and give voice to the voiceless.
Summary Of “Speak Up”
The poem Speak up is an English translation of an Urdu poem “Bol” written by an eminent Urdu poet and a Noble nominee, “Faiz Ahmad Faiz” and translated from Urdu by Shiv K. Kumar. This poem has been taken from Faiz”s collection of poems “Naqsh-E- Faryadi”, published in 1941. In this poem, the poet intends to give voice to the oppressed and voiceless people. He addresses to his countrymen that they should stand against the tyranny and brutality of the Britishers. Actually, this poem is an evocation of the patriotic feelings of the countrymen of the poet. He wants to free his motherland from the clutches of the white oppressors and thus is using very emotional and zealous slogans to free themselves. So, the poet says to his countrymen to speak up because they have been bestowed with lips and the power of communication by Almighty God.
He wants them to speak because they possess a well-built body and a soul surviving in it, so they should utilize their energy to defy oppression. In the next stanza, the poet uses metaphors i.e. he compares the national struggle with smithy of a blacksmith. This smithy or forge is bearing such a high temperature that it can melt any metal. He feels that the rebels of this struggle have already ignited the revolution like the fierce flames of the smithy. It is because of this intense agitation and revolution of the rebels that chains and shackles of slavery are about to break or surrender before them. The only thing which is needed is the encouragement by joining the struggle. So, he requests his countrymen to join the struggle and raise their voice against the harassment because the time is limited. He wants them to be awakened before their death occurs. So he pleas to them to speak the truth before it is too late.
Answer the following questions:
The poet instigates the reader to speak up. Why does he do so?
Ans. The poet wants his countrymen to speak up the things which are suppressed in their hearts. He wants them to be bold and courageous and express their anguish against the tyrant English rule. He wants them to join the freedom struggle and free themselves from the chains of slavery and oppression.
The poet addresses the reader to come up with the truth. How does he do so?
Ans. The poet says that the truth is not yet dead. It is known to everyone what is just and what is unjust, what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, it should not be difficult for the reader to recognize this truth and speak for it.
How will the chains break?
Ans. The chains will break if we have the courage and zest to break them. They will break if we refuse to live in them. And they will break if we have a sense of patriotism and if we cooperate with others who have been kept chained. Our sincere and dedicated efforts can break the chains of slavery.
Why does the poet urge the speaker to speak up now?
Ans. “ ….Speak up now, urge time‟s running out….” The poet urges his countrymen to utilize the opportunity properly. The poet urges his countrymen to cooperate in the freedom struggle for this is the high surge time to rid of the suppression because British reign is weakening down. Wind of change has already begun to blow. The struggle for freedom is at its peak. So he calls upon his natives to lend their voice for freedom.
Do you think “Speak up” is an effort of the poet to give voice to the voiceless? How?
Ans. Yes, the poem “Speak up” is an invigorating poem. It speaks against the suppression. The poet finds that the common man is too oppressed to speak up. She/He is dumb with fear. The poet wants these people to hear the voice of their soul and speak up. They should realize that God has bestowed them with lips to speak. They should come out of fear and speak up freely and liberally.
What are the metaphors used in the poem?
Ans. The metaphor is a figure of speech in which comparison is made between unlike things indirectly, categorizing them as identical. A metaphor is a word or phrase used in an imaginative way to describe something else. It is used to show how two different things have the same quality. Various metaphors used in this poem are the oven, the flames, the padlock, and the fetter. These metaphors have been used to describe the struggle for India’s freedom in a symbolical manner and metaphors describe some aspects of our struggle for freedom in an imaginative manner. The oven and fierce flames are the metaphors that stand for the courage against the harsh oppression while padlocks and fetters are also used metaphorically to mean the chains in which Indian people had been shackled.
What images does the poet draw from the blacksmith’s shop?
Ans. The Blacksmith’s shop stands for the situation the freedom- fighters have created for the liberty of their motherland. ‘The oven’ and ‘fierce flames’ stand for their courage. ‘The chains’ and ‘fetters’ are the epitomes of slavery which the poet is determined to break.
Line (1- 4): The poet encourages, prepares the reader to speak up clearly and without being hesitant about what he thinks and believes in. He wants the reader to raise the voice against the cruelties by tyrants. He wants to tell the reader about the freedom of the speech which he (the reader) has got. He (the reader) must express his feelings fearlessly and courageously. He has moral, the intellectual energy within and thus, he should speak up boldly and courageously.
Line (5-8): The poet wants /asks the reader to look inside the shop of smithy (Blacksmith’s/Shop). The oven inside the shop has become red owing to burning and the fire thus produced is burning with brighter flames. In these flames, the metallic locks and shackles are being made for the people who’ve raised their voices against the cruelties and injustice being perpetrated on them by tyrants. The poet further says that the metallic shackles are skirted around by blacksmith himself or it itself skirts around in the red, violent flames. And, it is with these shackles and metallic locks that they would be stopped from going ahead in their movement of resistance against the injustice and cruelties which they’ve been suffering for long.
Line (9-13): The poet wants/asks the reader to speak up the truth. Time is ticking away/running out. Before death (which is inevitable) put an end to all our activities, the reader must speak for those who’re suffering cruelties and injustice. We must not delay in acting, in raising our voice because our body and mind are bound to fade away. We must speak courageously because “truth prevails against falsehood.” The time span provided to us is no doubt every short but we must not keep mum while seeing the cruelties being perpetrated in front of us. We must muster up the courage to speak up and express our thought, feelings, and ideas clearly. Analysis Bol! That is how Faiz Ahmad Faiz awakens a sleepy community through his fiery words. He earnestly exhorts the people to stand up and speak against injustice and inequality in the oppressed society.