In Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poem “Do Not Ask of Me, My Love,” the speaker expresses their inability to give the same kind of love that they once did, because they are now consumed by the suffering of the world. The poem is a powerful and moving exploration of the conflict between personal love and social responsibility, as well as a testament to the power of love in the face of suffering. Read More 1st PUC English Summaries.
Do not ask of Me, My Love Summary
Do not ask of Me, My Love Summary in English
Faiz is said to have recited this poem in a Mushaira (a poetic symposium). It depicts the struggle going on in Faiz’s heart, between love and patriotism. In this poem, he abjures the romantic love of the ‘beloved’ for contemplation of the misery of the world. The poem is a landmark for it leads 1 Faiz to the consideration of the misery he saw around him related to the freedom struggle in his homeland.
The poem can be read in two parts. The first part begins with a couplet or a two-line stanza and is followed by two longer stanzas. In this part, the poet addresses his ‘beloved’. He asks his ‘beloved’ not to expect the kind of love that he had once shown her.
In the next stanza, he narrates and describes the way he had viewed ‘life’. In that stage of his life, ‘life’ looked very young and blooming because of his love for his beloved. Since his ‘beloved’ was the source of his happiness in life, he could not withstand any kind of suffering afflicting his beloved.
The poet says that the beauty of his beloved bestowed everlasting youth on the spring. He says that the eyes of his beloved were everything to him and everything else failed to please him then. Therefore, when he was in the company of his beloved, he had thought that the ‘world’ was his. But, in the second half of the stanza, the poet confesses that such an idea was an illusion born out of his imagination. Now, he has come to realize that there are other agonies of the world besides the agony of love, and there are other kinds of solace in addition to the solace of love.
In the second part, he elucidates the ‘agonies’ and other kinds of solace in addition to the solace of love, that demand his attention. The second part begins with the same couplet asking his ‘beloved’ not to expect the same kind of love that he had for her once.
In the next (longer) stanza he lists those agonies that demand his attention. They are ‘savagery’ woven in silk and satin and gold lace, which are dark curses of countless ages, and human bodies sold in street and market-place besmeared in blood. They also demand his attention. He says that even though her beauty compels his attention there are other kinds of bliss besides the bliss of her beauty.
He concludes the second part again with the same couplet asking his beloved not to demand the same kind of attention that once he had for his beloved. In this poem, the word ‘beloved’ can be interpreted as his ‘muse’, his country, or his concept of beauty or social change. This poem is said to be Faiz’s first experiment with blending the love for the ‘beloved’ into love for humanity, of turning the pain of separation into pain for all those who suffered under the dark bestial spells of uncounted centuries. In the second stanza, he is obviously referring to slavery, slave trade and prostitution.
The conclusion of “Do Not Ask of Me, My Love” reaffirms the speaker’s inability to offer the same kind of love they once did, but presents a different kind of love, one based on compassion and understanding. This shift in perspective suggests that the speaker has not given up on love, but rather has transformed it through their experiences of the world. The poem’s conclusion is a hopeful one, offering a vision of love that is possible even in the darkest of times.