Ali Sardar Jafri’s amazing poem

14th and 15th August are two dates that evoke mixed feelings for those of us who want a peaceful subcontinent free of jingoism and weapons. Thanks to a facebook friend, I re-read this amazing poem by Ali Sardar Jafri. It evokes the nuances of Partition and the Independence. That fateful August saw a man-made disaster and 2010’s August is witnessing an epic, horrendous natural calamity.

I must find (or render) a translation of this sensitive, powerful poem. Here is what the first verse says in my slipshod translation:

Yesterday, the sun split into two and diminished at this border

Freedom’s dawn was also wounded at this very border…

***

Isi sarhad pe kal dooba tha sooraj ho ke do tukade

Isi sarhad pe kal zakhmi huyi thi subh-e-azaadi

Yeh sarhad khoon ki, ashqon ki, aahon ki, sharaaron ki

Jahan boii thi nafrat aur talwarein ugaayin thi

Main is sarhad pe kab se muntazir hoon subh-e-farda ka

Yahan mehboob aankhon ke sitaare tilmilaye the

Yahan maashooq chehare aansuo.n mein jhilmilaye the

Yahan beto.n se maa, pyaari behen bhai se bichhadi thi

Ye sarhad jo lahuu peeti hai, angarey ugalti hai

Hamari khaak ke seeney pe naagin ban ke chalti hai

Sajaa kar jung ke hathiyaar, maida.n mein nikalti hai

Yeh sarhad phool ki, khushboo ki, rango.n ki, bahaaro.n ki

Watan ke aarizo.n pe zulf ki maanind lehrati

Dhanak ki tarah hansti, nadiyo.n ki tarah bal khaati

Mahakti, jagamagati ik dulhan ki maang ki soorat

Jo baalo.n ko do hisso.n mein to takseem karti hai

Magar sindoor ki talwaar se, sandal ki ungli se

Yeh sarhad dilbaro.n ki, aashiqo.n ki, beqaraao.n ki

Yeh sarhad dosto.n ki, bhaiyo.n ki, ghamgusaar.n ki

Seher ko aaye khursheed-edarakhshaa.n paasbaa.n bankar

Nigahbaani ho shab ko aasmaa.n ke chaand-taro.n ki

Zamee.n paamal ho jaaye, hare kheto.n ki yurish se

Sipaahe.n hamla-aawar ho.n darakhto.n ki kataaro.n ki

Khudaa mehfooz rakkhe isko ghairo.n ki nigaaho.n se

Pade na nazar ispe khoon ke taajir taaj-daaro.n ki

Muhabbat hukmaraa.n ho, husn qaatil, dil masiiha ho

Chaman pe aag barse shola-paikar gul-izaaro.n ki

Woh din aaye ke aansoo ho ke nafrat dil se bah jaaye;

Woh din aaye ye sarhad bosa-e lab ban ke rah jayee

Yeh sarhad manchalo.n ki, dil-jalo.n ki, jaa.n-nisaaro.n ki

Yeh sarhad sarzameen-e-dil ke baanke shehsawaaro.n ki

Yeh sarhad kazkulaho.n ki, yeh sarhad kaz-adaao.n ki

Yeh sarhad gulashan-e-Lahore au’ Dilli ki hawaao.n ki

Yeh sarhad amno-azaadi ke dil afroz khwaabo,n ki

Yeh sarhad doobte taaron ki, ubharte aaftaabon ki,

Yeh sarhad khon mein lithde pyaar ke zakhmi gulaabon ki

Main is sarhad pe kabse muntazir hoon subhe-e farda ka

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