The setting imperial sun broke into two parts On this very Border, yesterday
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.
GUFTGOO BAnD NA HO
BAAT SE BAAT CHALEY
SUBH TAK SHAAM-E-MULAAQAAT CHALEY
HUM PE HAnSTI HUEE
YE TAAROn BHARI RAAT CHALEY […]
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 […]
Two poems of Ali Sardar Jafri found here
Such a day will arrive again
[when] the lamps of the eyes will get extinguished;
the lotus of the hands will get withered
and each butterfly of speech and voice
will flee from the leaf of the tongue.
All faces that blossom like buds,
chuckle like flowers,
the circling of blood, the beats of heart,
all [such] symphonies will go to sleep
on the bed of a dark ocean.
And, this grinning diamond particle,
this paradise of mine, this earth
that is laid out on the velvet of the blue environ,
its morns, its evenings
will, unwittingly, unconsciously,
pass on shedding the tears of dew
[on the demise of] a handful of dust of a man.
Everything will be forgotten;
everything will be removed
from the exquisite idol-house of memories.
Then no one will ask:
Where is Sardar in the congregation?
Yet, I’ll come here again;
[I] will talk with the mouths of the tots;
will sing in the tongue of the birds.
When seeds will grin beneath earth
and the sapling, with its fingers,
will vex the crusts of earth,
I’ll open my eyes
in leaves and buds;
will take, in [my] verdant palm,
the dew drops.
I’ll turn into the colour of henna, the tune of ghazal
[and] the style of poetry.
[I], like the hue of the cheek of a bride,
will filter from every stole.
When the winds of winter
will bring along with them
the season of autumn’
my laughter will be heard
from the dry leaves that will
be trampled under the robust feet of the passerby.
All the golden rivers of the earth;
all the azure lakes of the sky
will get filled with my being.
And the world will see
[that] every tale is [in fact] my tale;
here every lover is Sardar
[and] every beloved is Sultaanaa […]