Nowshera Resolves

The river Kabul caressed me
through centuries of our intimacy;
our love was always young
like spring blooms in the new city.

I would sail on its back
or fish in the serenity of its heart
before the watershed–

drunken high on torrential rain,
almost insane,
the river rose to claim
the lives of my folk;
gobble my children,
plunder my crop.

But I shall not let the flood
moisten my eyes;
I’m the one
who divinity wanted to possess
with the rage of love.

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An evening to remember

It has been quite some time since I last attended a function of sorts at the Pakistan Academy Of Letters, so when I received this sms of invitation from Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui, the PAL editor of English I had to go there for one doesn’t always come across a person of the stature of Zulfikar Ghose, the US based poet, novelist and essayist, whom the gathering was arranged for.

I was fortunate to arrive earlier at the Editor’s office, meet the honorable Ghose sahib and exchange some pleasantries with him. Thats where I got my hands literally on a copy of the biannual anthology of the Pakistani writers, ‘The Pakistani Literature’ where translations from a variety of Pakistani languages as well as original English works of the prominent Pakistani literati are published. I flipped through pages and was pleasantly surprised to see the publication of four of my translated poems from Pushto. I conveyd my gratitude to Mr. Khiraam who enhanced my delight by showing me a heavier anthology which included pieces of translations as well as a selection of the original Pakistani English literature from 1947 to 2010, that again included a translation of mine. I requested for the contributor’s copies which the Editor generously handed me with compliments.

The function itself was a wonderful experience. Ghose sahib recited poems from his latest collection called ’50 Poems’ published by the Oxford University Press. In between the recitals of his inspiring poetry Ghose sahib delighted us with interesting anecdotes pertaining mostly to his experiences in life. There was a question-answer session in the end which again was full of information as we came to know how writers born in the third world are assigned labels in the West and how it limits the scope of a writer.

The modertator Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui (left) with Zulfikar Ghose (right)

It was an evening to remember and one would like to be a part of such enlightening gatherings more often.

The Beauteous Too, Live In The Same World ..

In Pushto by Rahim Majrooh

Translation by Syed Aadil Omer

I’ve always thought,
If nothing else,
but at least in the matter of love
all the comely people in the world
wouldn’t have any sense of deprivation.
They would be thorougly self-sufficient
with abundance of love for them; they would
be happy in possession of this treasure
without any complain or displeasure,

for they are adored by all;
they rule over the hearts of the people.
They are eagerly awaited wherever they go
as people hold them in high affection;
they are treated with special care.
Every set of eyes admire their beauty.
People even spend their entire
lives to fulfill their wishes.
All the admiration, the veneration
is reserved for them.
They are considered the weakness
of every human being;
their chin-moles have been deemed
wealtheir than Samarqand and Bukhara.
Even kings behave like courtiers
at their doors-steps;
They are dedicated books,
and building are built on their names.
They are the fairies
of the imagination of poets;
they are the princesses
of the dreams of painters.
To meet even a single of their wishes
some are ready to stake
their lives while others could forsake
their entire surroundings and faiths.

Hence I think,
in the matter of love,
all the beauteous in the world
wouldn’t have any sense of deprivation;
they would be self-content in love,
but nay, it isn’t the case!

One can’t fathom the depth of a sea
standing afar on the shore.
The elegance, no matter how charming therewith
they might seem,
like the proud fairies of Koh e Qaaf,
or how reckless or ruthless they might look ,
they also breathe in the very world which we inhabit.
And this world is all but the name
of a trial; of desires, of the dreams unfulfilled.

So, the handsomes too carry in their hearts
a number of wastelands like that of a moon.
They too pass through the phases
of several heartbreaks, like that of a flowerbud
before smiling into a full bloom.
They too melt in the flames of their own selves
like that of a candle.
They could be in likeness to a parched shore
that breaks into cracks in waiting
of the arrival of favourable tides;
and like a phoenix
they burn in to ashes.

Excuse me, for yet another translation!

This blog is a beast
as it craves and craves to eat
thought after a poor thought
of my famished mind;
since I’m a person very kind,
I don’t hesitate to feed
it with trans-creations
of the others’ mind
to help it grow
with its greedy ways .. 😛

The Decision

I too gave up

the desire to reach the shore.

I too resigned myself

to the rising tides.

I discarded the crutches of reliance.

I gathered the pieces

of my shattered self.

I stitched my shirt

[which was torn by passion]

from neck to bottom,

because,

I too was a human after all.

How long would I’ve fought

your perpetual indifference

with a handicapped self.

How long would I’ve watered

the arid land

of our relation

with the bucketfuls of my tears.

How long would I’ve blown

to ignite the extinguished coal

of your feelings;

of your passion.

How long would I’ve kept

afresh, the flowers of hope

in the vase of false expectations.

How long would I’ve burnt

my blood instead of oil

in the candles, that I kept lit

in waiting for you.

How long would I’ve searched

my traceless self

like a child,

in the lane of your memories.

I too was a human, after all;

I grew exhausted at last.

I could no longer carry

the burden of formalities

and excessive mannerism

over the feeble shoulders

of endurance;

I couldn’t make the sound

of a clap with a single palm.

I couldn’t won the battle of fate

with the power of mere tact.

Hence, I consulted my heart

and decided at last, that,

(To you be your way,

and to me mine*)

* Sura Alkafirun/ 109:6 of the Holy Quran

I ask you, love, to judge by yourself!

Since I have not been able to write my mind of late, I’ve found it apt to try and translate someone else’, so here ‘s another R.K. Majrooh poem that might make to a collection of my translations to be included in his upcoming book of Pushto poetry.

la sta da ishq awo sta da meeney peeryan

ma na kooz shawe na dee

la sta da husn talismi asar na

za rawataley na yem

la me da wasl loogharhana tanda

yawa zara hum mata shawey na da

la me da shauq da lewantob abaseen

kha pa ghorzang rawan de

la me da zrha pa khudadad mumlikat

sta da yadoono raaj de

la da ghwagoono pa gumbad ke zama

sta da painzo awo da bangrho shranga da

la me da stargo da banho pa asman

da speno okhko kehkashan zaleegi

sara da de che pa safar ke da jwand

dasey muqam ta rasedaley yema

charta che da da mayentob khabarey

charta che da da lewantob khabarey

hess ehmiat na laree

hess haisiat na laree

dere sat-hee awo beymanee khkareegi

da qadar warho da qeemati asasey

koota seekey khkareegi

da hosh awo aqal Guantanamo Bay ke

bandey aksar mastey jazbey khkareegi

nu oos insaf pa ta de, waya kana!

che ta zama da lewantob de kaifiat ta aakhir

kom tanazur ke gorey

da taalluq da paidara awo zangarey jazba

ta da maayar pa koma tala taley ..

I’m still haunted

by the ghosts of your love

I’m not yet out of the trance

of your beauty

My lips are still parched

with the thirst of your union

The tides of my passion

still rise with the same ferosity

Your thoughts are still there

to rule over the land of my heart

The music of your anklets and bangles

still chime in my ears

A galaxy of crystalline tears still shines

on the tips of my lashes,

Though I’ve reached a certain place

in the journey of life, where

things like love and passion seem all

but shallow and meaningless;

where all those treasured assets

of the esteemed lovers

feel like useless coins,

like the fervor of love

imprisioned in the Guantanamo Bay

of reason,

yet I ask you, love, to judge by yourself!

How do you look at the state of my ardour?

Whats your criteria to discern

the strength and distinction of

my feelings for you?

Faraz Kaisay Bhulaoo’N Teray Firaaq Ka Ghum!

Yesterday, August 25th was the first death anniversary of the revolutionary poet Ahmad Faraz. His absence still confounds the logic, for his words, his magic is all around us. We felt an overwhelming presence of the spirit of Faraz in the recent Lawyers Movement and his pugnacity is always cited where there is a struggle against the forces of evil.

Like his resistance poetry, his tributes to the Holy Prophet (S.A.W) too are filled with the concern he felt for his downtrodden people struck hard by the illegitimate forces of the State as well as exploited by the Political jugglers in the visage of religious clerics. Below here is one such Naat that angered the dictatorial regime of the time to an extent that Faraz was jailed for reciting it in a forum at a gathering in Karachi.

مرے رسول کہ نسبت تجھے اجالوں سے

میں تیرا ذکر کروں صبح کے حوالوں سے

نہ میری نعت کی محتاج ذات ہے تیری

نہ تیری مدح ہے ممکن مرے خیالوں سے

تو روشنی کا پیمبر ہے اور مری تاریخ

بھری پڑی ہے شب ظلم کی مثالوں سے

ترا پیام محبت ہے اور میرے یہاں

دل و دماغ ہیں پر نفرتوں کے جالوں سے

یہ افتخار ہے تیرا کہ میرے عرش مقام

تو ہمکلام رہا ہے زمین والوں سے

***************

مگر یہ مفتی و واعظ یہ محتسب یہ فقیح

جو معتبر ہیں فقط مصلحت کی چالوں سے

خدا کے نام کو بیچیں مگر خدا نہ کرے

اثر پزیر ہوں خلق خدا کے نالوں سے

نہ میری آنکھ میں کاجل نہ مشکبو ہے لباس

کہ میرے دل کا ہے رشہ خراب حالوں سے

ہے ترش رو مری باتوں سے صاحب منبر

خطیب شہر ہے برہم مرے سوالوں سے

مرے ضمیر نے قابیل کو نہیں بخشا

میں کیسے صلح کروں قتل کرنے والوں سے

میں بے بساط سا شاعر ہوں پر کرم تیرا

کہ با شرف ہوں قبا و کلاہ والوں سے

The Dual Challenge — A Repost

Below here is the repost of a poem I wrote sometimes back. It has become quite a norm when we celebrate the independence of Pakistan amid the perils to the very unity of our dear homeland courtesy a plethora of internal and external threats. Yet our hopes remain intact to see the vibes of passion and love oozing out of a common Pakistani for his/her country, every year on the 14 of August. This year too is no different; while we’ve largely succeeded in flushing out the nuisance of Talibanisation, we are yet to bring to the fold the fringe elements in Baluchistan. If cured with sincerity the ailments to our unity can be treated with the remedy of ‘the just distribution of revenue as per the sources of production in a Federating unit’. Though it would be naive to look at the scenario in total black and white, yet our history is replete with instances of troubles emerging out of the poor distribution of wealth. Its the cry of the time not to repeat the blunders we’ve made in the past, for they become history who don’t learn a thing from the history itself.

مرے خدا مجھے اتنا تو معتبر کردے

میں جس مکان میں رہتاہوں اس کو گھر کردے

Happy Independence Day To The Nation Pakistan! 🙂

A Dual Challenge:

The honest toilers; our ancestors,
collected the stones thrown at them,
and the mud slung at them, to build a house.
They mixed the ingredients with their
sweat and their blood; the color of love
To make it a home.

A few seeds of mistrust evolved into trees of
contempt in the hearts of the second generation.
And with the help of neighbors
they themselves erected a wall of separation.

The nameplate of my home which used to
read, ‘unity’ is rusted and withered since long.
Suspicion crept into our yard and settled
in every corner of the square as if
measuring a division.

I can hear the footsteps of aliens fast
approaching our home, and I’m faced
with a dual challenge; of repairing the
storm lashed doors and of wiping all
the germs of contempt.

I’ll keep the forces of ‘division’ at bay
‘Its a negative process’ said a mathematician.