Nazmain Chand – Poems for 15th August

Happy Independence day to the Indian friends and readers!

Today’s post comprises a few poems that may capture several moods and facets of the profound historical event – independence for India and the end of British imperialism. This momentous day was preceded by unprecedented violence, modern world’s largest migration and a boundary -etched with blood -that still divides India and Pakistan.

I 

Ustad Daaman, the legendary Punjabi poet in an Indo-Pak mushaira recited this impromptu poem. I was delighted to find an English translation by Mubashir Hasan:

The original had these immortal lines:

Lali Akhiaa’n Dee Pay-ee Dus-di Aye
Roo-aye Tusee Wi O, Roo-aye us-ee Wi Aaa’n.

Daaman on Freedom and Partition …..
None of us may utter
but you know and so do we
a great deal have you lost
and so have we;
who was to foresee this struggle for freedom
would tear things apart, destroy so heavily
much pain much suffering have you borne
and so have we;
Yet there is hope
regeneration and new life awaits us
though many a death you died
and so did we;
Those who were awake and alert
robbed, exploited, emasculated us
while for centuries you slept in stupor
and so did we:
These bloodshot eyes bear testimony
many a tear
you did shed
and so did we.

Given the fragile peace process I am also keen to repeat what Ali Sardar Jafri (photo below) said many many years ago:

II 

Kaun Dushman Hai

Tum aao gulshan-e-Lahore se chaman bardosh,
Hum aayen subh-e-Banaras ki roshnee le kar
Himalay ki havaaon ki taazgee le kar
Aur iske baad yeh poochein ki kaun dushman hai?

You come from the garden of of Lahore laden with flowers,
We will come bearing the light of a Benares morning
With fresh breezes from Himalayan heights
And then, together we can ask, who is the enemy?

(Translated from the Urdu by Khushwant Singh)

III 

And finally on a promising note, a song by Tagore – the first Nobel Laureate from the subcontinent. The serenity on his face reflects the inner peace that he sang through his poems…

Where The Mind is Without Fear 

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake

IV 

And I conclude this post with a few lines from a poem “Hum Jang Na Hone Denge..” of the former Indian PM, Atal B Vajpayee.  I found this Poem source/translation here

We shall not allow war

Russian bombs or American
The blood spilt is the same.
We have suffered, we will spare our children this fate
Never again will the sky rain fire
Never again will Nagasaki burn
We shall not allow war!

(Vajpayee recited this poem in Lahore (at the Lahore Fort if I correctly recall) during his visit to Pakistan – much has happened since then…yet we don’t where we are headed?)


 

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Published in: on August 15, 2006 at 5:20 pm  Comments (18)  

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18 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very happy to see the collection of poems, Raza. Thanks particularly the excerpt from Sardar Jafri’s nazm. Will appreciate more on Daaman, I am not aware of his poetry (Romanized Punjabi will be still more appreciated !)

    But I do take exception to the inclusion of a “poem” by Vajpayee. Atalji simply does not fit in the company of Ali Sardar Jafri and Rabindranath Tagore.

    The man who was part of the leadership that instigated the demolition of the Babri Masjid and thereby Indian secularism, inaugurated the six years of a Hindutva regime with nuclear explosions and presided over the pogrom in Gujarat cannot be a poet.

  2. very good selection:)

  3. Raza,

    Thank you for such an array of info and work by some great writers. I particularly enjoy reading about Chomsky and Pinter. They are an essential read. Not sure about Paulo Coelho and how he fits into the scheme of things with such greats around! The same can be said about W. Dalrymple, but I guess its a matter of opinion!
    Ayesha

  4. What an excellent corner of cyberspace. Such a pleasure to read and access so much beauty here. Well done Raza. Well done indeed. You have just added to life’s little pleasures.

  5. RR,

    Daman’s poem is beautiful. One of my Indian Punjabi friends was wondering if you had the punjabi version of the poem.

  6. Bhupinder I will collect the links to Ustad Daaman’s poetry on the web. My apologies if Vajpayee’s poem offended you. Admittedly it is out of place given that Tagore was also in the same list! However, my intention was to include a recent poem – and I personally like the simplicity of this poem, notwithstanding the dangerous and often ugly politics played by Mr Vajpayee and his cohorts!

    Ayesha, thanks for the comment. This blog is new and I have to add more of my favourites to the blogroll.

    Ali, you were generous with your comment; and it made my day!

  7. Oh Raza, how can you have a website on art and literature without including the bard of the east, Omar Khayyam.. he must ring in our heads ALL the time..please can we have something on him..
    Ayesha Salman

  8. Hi Raza

    thorougly enjoyed reading Ali Sardar Jafri. I remember evenings spent with him during his numerous vists to Karachi. This is when I was a young University student and how I fell for his charms, his amazing poetry and his beautiful soul.

    I look forward to more on Jafri and don’t forget another all time favourite Sahir Ludhianvi.

    Rabab

  9. Dear Rabab
    Many thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I am also a great admirer of Ali Sardar Jafri. It is sad that his works are not widely avaiable in Pakistan. Noting your comment on Sahir, I would be posting his poems with some translations soon. Please keep in [blog]touch…..
    thanks, RR

  10. Dear RR,
    My eternal gratitude for your excellent blogs
    every thing is so tasteful ,it is amazing this exists.
    I greatly appreciate Ustad Daaman’s translation so beautifully done, many many thanks for this, I have recently become a regular visitor to your web site.
    thank you, and thank you very much,
    Syed

  11. Sounds crazy. Are you playing with my seriously personnel I have a nice joke for you) Did you hear that Miss Muffet and Saddam Hussein got together for a meeting last week to discuss their common problem? They both have Kurds in their whey.

  12. dear raza
    My eternal gratitude for your excellent blogs
    every thing is so tasteful ,it is amazing this exists.
    I greatly appreciate Ustad Daaman’s translation so beautifully done, many many thanks for this, I have recently become a regular visitor to your web site.
    thank you, and thank you very much,
    Syed

  13. Dear Rabab
    Many thanks for visiting and leaving a comment. I am also a great admirer of Ali Sardar Jafri. It is sad that his works are not widely avaiable in Pakistan. Noting your comment on Sahir, I would be posting his poems with some translations soon. Please keep in [blog]touch…..
    thanks, RR

  14. Sounds crazy. Are you playing with my seriously personnel I have a nice joke for you) Did you hear that Miss Muffet and Saddam Hussein got together for a meeting last week to discuss their common problem? They both have Kurds in their whey.

    Reply

  15. For anybody Hello! Come on cover. Legal services

  16. wooooowwwww yaar kya poem hai………………………. to just out of world …… full toooooooo paisa wasuuuuullll………….

  17. Who are you

  18. [...] is the roman Punjabi version of Ustad Daaman‘s poem that appeared in my earlier post. I found it here. Punjabi readers will appreciate [...]


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