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 have legitimized criminalization of politics in the land of the Buddha – are demanding across party lines to come up with draconic laws to silence resenting voices in India, at a time when ATS officer Karkare who was instrumental in uncovering the ugly masks of the terror from Hindu fundamentalists has been killed and has been converted into a hero by the very people he despised, such is a time to question our conventional wisdom.

Shed our blood, or theirs

Lives lost are of human race 

War on the East or against the West

Casualty is troubled peace

 

Bomb our land, or across the borders

Afflicted are souls under construction

Homeless our people, or theirs

Suppressed is oppressed expression 

 

Tanks march across or in our lands

Leave Mother Earth barren stretch

Victory cry or vanquished sighs

Countless lives mourn the death

 

War itself the biggest crisis

What problem can it ever solve?

Seeds of hatred it perpetuates

What necessities will it absolve?

 

Hence, fellow decent humans,

Better if we avert these wars 

Ours and theirs – in all the lands

Better if candle of peace sparks

 

To prove our point of advancements

Do we need to flow their bloods?

To rid our houses of darkness

Do we need to set theirs on flames?

 

Wars we must differently showcase

Battlefield’s not the sole option

Humans also exhibit intelligence

Fanaticism not the only emotion 

 

Come, in this age of bitter darkness

Let us spark some lights of care

Those steps that foster peace and progress 

Let us consider some new thoughts to share

 

War, results of heartless barbarism

Peace, results of civilized progress

War, proud catch of power structure

Peace, humble heritage of humaneness

 

War, in the name of enslaved people

Peace, to promote socially just system

War, voiced by misguided zealots

Peace, for hapless masses supreme

 

War, a shameful occupation of few

Peace, for equity, prosperity for all

Fight the war, and the war-mongers

For peace, progressives everywhere

 

(Translated by Saswat Pattanayak, Peoples’ Poet)

 

  

Original poem by Sahir Ludhianvi – 

Ae Sharif Insaanoen

Khoon apna ho ya paraaya ho

Nasl-e-adam ka khoon hai aakhir

Jung mashriq mein ho ki magrib mein

Amn-e-alam ka khoon hai aakhir

Bomb gharoen par giren ya sarhad par

Rooh-e-ta’amir jakhm khaati hai

Khet apne jalein ki auroen ke

Jis’t faakoen se tilmilaati hai

Tank aage badhe ki peeche hatein

Kokh dharti ki baanjh hoti hai

Fatah ka jash’n ho ki haar ka sog

Jindegi mayatoen pe roti hai

Jung to khud hi ek mash’ala hai

Jung kya mash’aloen ka ha’l degi

Aag aur khoon aaj bakhshegi

Bhookh aur eh’tiyaj kal degi

Is liye ae sharif insaanoen

Jung talti rahe to behtar hai

Aap aur hum sabhi ke aangan mein

Shamaa jalti rahe to behtar hai

Bartari ke suboot ki khaatir

Khoon bahaana hi kya jaroori hai

Ghar ki taarikiyan mitaane ko

Ghar jalaana hi kya jaroori hai

Jung ke aur bhi toh maidan hai

Sirf maidaane kushtoen-khoon hi nahni

Haasil-e-jindagi khi’rad bhi hai

Haasil jindagi joonon hi nahni

Aao is tirabakht duniya mein

Fiqr ki roshni ko aam karein

Aman ko jinse taqbiyat pahunche

Aisi jung-oen ka ehtimam karen

Jung, baha’sat se barbiriyat se

Aman, tahaziboen irtika ke liye

Jung, magr-afreen shiyasat se

Aman, insaan ki baka ke liye

Jung aflaas aur gulaami se

Aman behtar nizm ke khaatir

Jung, bhatki huyi qiyaadat se

Aman, bewas aawam ke khaatir

Jung sharmaaye ke tas’loot se

Aman, jumhoor ki khooshi ke liye

Jung, jungoen ke falsafe ke khilaaf

Aman, pur’an jindagi ke liye

 

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