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Waiting for the Tomorrow’s Happy Dawn – Ali Sardar Jafri

The setting imperial sun broke into two parts On this very Border, yesterday

August 24th, 2010|Indo Pak peace, Poetry, Translations, Urdu|4 Comments

Manmohan Singh’s ignorance

Manmohan Singh whom I have always held in high regard, disappointed millions in South Asia with his distastefully ill-timed hard talk during his Independence day address. As if Pakistan’s current misery was a time to blow India’s trumpet. He surely was also unaware of what his patriotic Indian poet, Ali Sardar Jafri had written years ago –Dialogue Souldn’t Cease. Here is an Urdu version with a full translation. Perhaps, someone should pass a copy of this poem to the exalted Prime Minister of India.


Two poems from the work of Faiz Ahmed Faiz

A Prison Evening

Each star a rung,
night comes down the spiral
staircase of the evening.
The breeze passes by so very close
as if someone just happened to speak of love.
In the courtyard,
the trees are absorbed refugees
embroidering maps of return on the sky.
On the roof,
the moon – lovingly, generously –
is turning the stars
into a dust of sheen.
From every corner, dark-green shadows,
in ripples, come towards me.
At any moment they may break over me,
like the waves of pain each time I remember
this separation from my lover.
This thought keeps consoling me:
though tyrants may command that lamps be smashed
in rooms where lovers are destined to meet,
they cannot snuff out the moon, so today,
nor tomorrow, no tyranny will succeed,
no poison of torture make me bitter,
if just one evening in prison
can be so strangely sweet,
if just one moment anywhere on this earth.
English Translation by Agha Shahid Ali […]

Bahar Ayee (Spring Has Come)

*By Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Translated by Ayesha Kaljuvee
Spring has come

So have returned suddenly from the past
* *
All those dreams, all that beauty

That on your lips had died
* *
That had died and lived again each time

All the roses are blooming

That still smell of your memories

That are the blood of my love for you
* * […]

Fahmida Riaz – “Her dreams of the future”

Barricaded Islamabad enveloped by the ghosts of national gloom has one little corner of hope. The Pakistan Academy of Letters, under its dynamic and committed Chairman, Fakhar Zaman, continues to weave narratives that still inspire. Even when the bitterness of our grim present affects us all, Fakhar Zaman was forthright in his views on Pakistan, its future and most importantly, its literary tradition. The venue was the book launch of Fahmida Riaz’s novel Godavari that has been translated into English. Fahmida Riaz is better known as a poet but her unique prose is lesser known. Her short stories and novels are extraordinary pieces of literary works rendered into sheer poetry. Often it is difficult to determine the genre of her ‘prose’ works as the lines between watertight compartments blur and fade away, only to reappear as a gentle reminder to the readers that our author is experimenting in her inimitable style. 

Godavari was published last year by the Oxford University Press and Fakhar Zaman organised its launch under the aegis of PAL only to ensure that there are many indigenous, native voices in English that have yet not caved in to the pressures and inducements of Western publishing houses. Godavari is a deceptively simple story of a few characters visiting a holiday hill resort in Maharashtra a little before the communal riots that shook Bombay and India in the 1980s. But deep within its lines, sub-textual connotations and shifting moods lie tales of discrimination, communal hatred and the unfettered spirits of its universal female characters. The heartening aspect of this book launch was that there were a few dozen enthusiasts present on the occasion, and a few powerful […]

Faiz’s Shaam

Faiz’s poem Shaam with a translation by Agha Shahid Ali.Thanks to Junaid for the contribution.
Iss tarha hai ke har ik perr koi mandir hai
koi ujrra huwa, benoor, puraana mandir
dhooNdta hey jo kharaabi ke bahaaney kab se
chaak har baam, har ik dard ka dam-e-aakhir hey
aasmaaN koi prohit hey jo har baam taley
jism pe raakh maley, maathey […]

February 11th, 2009|Poetry, Translations, Urdu|5 Comments

It Has Been Written

Last night I stumbled upon this translation of Parveen Shakir’s poem (Navishta) rendered by C M Naim. This is where she addresses her only son on the perils of living with a famous mother. Parveen was extraordinary and her poems continue to cajole, haunt and address the readers.
“. . . then […]

January 16th, 2009|Arts & Culture, Poetry, Translations, Urdu, Urdu Literature|12 Comments