All posts tagged: Translation

Sahir Ludhianvi – Communist and a Poet

By Saswat Pattanayak It was more than a coincidence that Sahir Ludhianvi was born on an International Women’s Day. His concern and respect for women was as much personal as it was political. For him, no one – and nothing – was more important than his mother Sardar Begum. Resenting her husband’s feudal properties, his mother had left that household and raised Sahir on her own. And Sahir grew up as an organic revolutionary against landlords and burgeoning capitalism of that era. And more importantly, as a progressive poet deeply aware of the capitalistic exploitations of women and the working class. An avid reader of Marx, Sahir early on was influenced by Faiz and Josh – prominent communist poets of that era. His early compositions included “Jahaan Mazdoor Rehte Hai” [Where Workers Reside]. In 1937, Sahir joined All India Students Federation (AISF), affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI) – committed to anti-imperialist and anti-colonial struggles. He was expelled from both the colleges (in Ludhiana and Lahore) that he attended, due to his political …

Fellow Decent Human Beings… (Translated)

Following is my translation of a poem by Sahir Ludhianvi: “Ae Sharif Insaanoen” I find the poem to be deeply relevant to our times. Just when the majority of us are blaming the minority among us for criminal acts of terror caused by the militarists and suddenly believing in the words of “our” national politicians to caste doubts upon innocent people of another country, at a time when we Indians have become mute witnesses to cultural bans on Pakistan and artists from Pakistan even as racist communal elements in Bollywood such as Aadesh Srivastava or Abhijeet are gaining grounds, at a time when artists such as respected Ghulam Ali are being banned from entering the land of a country – India- whose people love him immensely, simply because suddenly some communal Hindu supremacist leaders are opposing any possible cultural exchanges with our neighboring nation, at a time when we are allowing a bunch of proven thugs – the politicians who we all know to be corrupt to the core every passing day, the politicians who …

Taj Mahal (Translated)

For you, Taj Mahal is no less a splendor of love Amidst the eldritch, obsessed are you with its trove   My beloved! Discover for me yet another place where we can meet!   Grandeur of royal palace is deliberately contrasted For the commoners; it’s a sordid message so crafted We mortals have no permit to tread the paths so strewn With baits to allure us into that maze, to dream to its tune!   Before being inveigled into the royal sparks, my beloved! You should have descried the mammoth trickery and fraud! You could have felt the roars of your insignificant abode!   Countless peoples in our world have showered love in abundance Who can claim their heartfelt love ever lacked sincere affections But they lacked the means of advertisement, of crude exhibitions After all, they were like you and I: submitted by birth to cruel situations   This monument, this mausoleum, this unmitigated embankment These are apparition of regal wealth and unmerited enchantment For the records of the wretched, these disdainfully antique afflictions …

Radical Child (Translated)

Neither you will be a Hindu nor a Muslim will you be A gift of this new era, a radical human being you will be   A bundle of joy you are, sans a given name Disconnected from religions, that’s your gain   Religious texts have only divided humanity My child! So far they couldn’t attack your sanity   Hence the clarion call for the revolution, will you be A gift of this new era, a radical human being you will be   Mother Nature warmly nurtured us as human beings Alas! we forced our children into Hindus and Muslims   One small world was all that we were bestowed Bigots among us created India and Iran instead   Destroyer of barriers, of this unjust world order, will you be A gift of this new era, a radical human being you will be   Religions preach hate—they are not designed for you And they practice hostilities—not even an option for you   No good is this Quran since it excludes the Hindu temples You disown …

Giving Back (Translated)

Am I conservative by outlook, or progressive by orientation A non-issue this is, its redundancy to me is well known   My words like mirror, the reflections of myriad nature What I witness is what I recite: sans color nor alter   I do not heed to the conscience of stars and the heaven On my land of humanity, I have enough to shed tears on   All that I have to return to you, to give back in word Is what I have gained from my experiences in this world..   – Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet (Translated)   —–  Sahir Ludhianvi (1922-1980) is the poet who was neither afraid of authority, nor afraid to be outspoken. Neither afraid of going to jail nor to voice against the prison system. Neither afraid of the momentary life, nor of the eternal death. His involvement in the Left politics in the pre-and post-independent India, in organizing the peoples’ theatres, in writing for the peasants, farmers and the factory workers should serve a reminder to the wordsmiths of …