Introduction

The title of the poem “Do Not Ask Of Me, My Love” has been translated from “Mujh Se Pehli Si Mohabbat Mere Mehboob Na Maang”. This is a beautiful Urdu poem written by Faiz Ahmad Faiz. In the poem, he tries to explain to his beloved, his current ineptitude to return the very same love that he had when they were younger. Back then there was her love, which was everything to him.

Nobody else’s suffering was more overwhelming than hers. However, he has gained a greater understanding of the world as he has grown older. He believes that he must address far greater concerns. There is more to love and more pains to comprehend for him. As a result, the poem elaborates on having a more mature perspective towards love, which allows one to better comprehend love as well as sufferings.

About The Poet

Faiz Ahmad Faiz (1911-1984) was born in the Punjabi city of Sialkot. He was a scholarly, revolutionary poet, and one of Pakistan’s most well-established Urdu poets. His eclectic career as a teacher, army officer, journalist, politician, trade unionist, and talented poet earned him a massive following. In 1962, the Soviet Union felicitated Faiz with the Lenin Peace Prize.

Theme 

This poem is primarily about universal love rather than self-seeking love. The poet used to feel that his beloved was the centre of his universe, but he now realizes that this was a delusion. He realizes that there are many joys and sorrows in life outside their love. The poet recalls past eras, which carried the wounds of war, enslavement, and plague but are now cloaked in silk, satin, and brocade sashes. The speaker is touched by history’s hardships and tragedies.

Structure

“Do Not Ask Of Me, My Love” is divided into seven stanzas, each with a different number of lines. Because the lines are uneven in length, the poem is classified as free verse. The poem does not consist of a rhyme scheme. The poem’s voice has an awakening tone to it, as if it’s giving a message to young people in love.

  • A collection of few stanzas is used together to summarize the poetry.

Poem

Stanza 1-3

Do not ask of me, my love,
that love I once had for you.

There was a time when
life was bright, and young and blooming,
and your sorrow was much more than
any other pain.

Your beauty gave the Spring everlasting youth;
your eyes, yes, your eyes were everything,
all else was vain. 

Faiz addresses his ‘beloved’ in this passage. He warns his ‘lover’ not to expect the same kind of affection he initially showered on her. He describes how his life was once blooming, cheerful, and bright, and how his beloved’s sorrows outweighed everyone else’s. Faiz states that his beloved’s beauty endowed the spring with eternal youth. He states that his beloved’s eyes were everything to him at the time, and that nothing else would suffice. As a result, he thought that while he was with his lover, the ‘world’ belonged to him.

Stanza 4-7

Do not ask of me, my love,
that love I once had for you!

Woven in silk and satin and brocade,
those dark and brutal curses of countless centuries:
bodies bathed in blood, smeared with dust,
sold from market-place to market-place,
bodies risen from the cauldron of diseases
pus dripping from their festering sores –
my eyes must also turn to these.

You’re beautiful still, my love
but I’m helpless too;
for there are other sorrows in the world than love,
and other pleasures too.
Do not ask of me, my love,
that love I once had for you!

Faiz’s inner strife between love and patriotism is expressed in these stanzas. He foregoes romantic love for the ‘beloved’ in this poetry in favour of contemplating the world’s misery. Faiz ponders over the grief he experienced around him as a result of his homeland’s struggle for independence.

He concedes that the idea of the world belonging to him was purely fictitious. He now understands that there are other kinds of miseries in the world than love’s agony, and that there are other kinds of consolation than love’s comfort.

The poet admits to her that he can no longer show his love for his lover in the same way that he once could, because there are other sufferings and joys in the world. As a result, the poet provides a more accurate description of love and a greater understanding of the world’s miseries.

He enlists the problems that require his attention. They are ‘savagery’ (brutality) weaved in silk, satin, and gold embroidery, which are dark curses of eternity, and human bodies splashed in blood sold in the street and marketplace.

These concerns are striving for his complete attention as well. While her beauty mesmerizes him, he believes that there are other sorts of happiness than the happiness of her beauty.

Conclusion

As a result, the poem, “Do Not Ask Of Me, My Love” concludes that as one evolves and matures, one has a deeper understanding of the world, including all of its gratification and hardships.