February 22, 2006

We can ask one another

It's lines like these that give me hope.
    Tum aao gulshan-e-Lahore se chaman bar-dosh
    Hum aayen subh-e Banaaras ki raushni le kar
    Himaalaya ke havaaon ki taazagi le kar
    Phir us ke baad ye poochhenge, kaun dushman hai?
(You come bearing the gardens of Lahore on your shoulders
We will bring the brightness of Benaras' morning
The freshness of the Himalayan breeze
And then we can ask one another: who is the enemy?)

These were written during the 1965 war with Pakistan.

Question: by whom?

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Gen Ayub Khan?

Pankaj said...

Ali Sardar Jafri's intensely moving "Tum bhi Gulam the kal tak..".

Found this English translation of it on the net, which captures the essence well:

You were slaves till yesterday, so were we.
And then came the season of freedom bathed in showers of blood...
Between you and us rage rivers of fire
Tall frowning barriers of hate
With a mere glance, however, we can tear them down;
We can forget, forgive the cruel part;
And again embrace you, yes we can.
But first you will have to break your swords,
And cleanse these bloodied garments;
After that we shall become no more strangers.
You bring us flowers from the gardens of Lahore,
We bring you light from the dawns of Benares,
Freshness of the Himalayan breeze;
And thereafter we ask each other:
Who is the enemy?

Am reminded of an anecdote regarding him. A journalist asked Sardar Saheb when he accompanied PM Vajpayee to Lahore on the first bus about why he did not want to settle in Pakistan. Jafri replied that he loved the "arhar" (Toor) dal of his native Gonda district in U.P. so much that he couldn't think of settling anywhere else.

May God give rest to his soul. And may God give us the wisdon to see beyond hate and history.

Anonymous said...

Ali Sardar Jafri. Google is rather helpful.

Nikhil said...

Trying to post this under the earlier posting, but there is some problem -
If it was a broad based census, then it is a different issue. After all there are very few Gujaratis in the army (my Gujarati friend in the army told me he even had problems getting proposals).
But this is clearly looking at one community. Once it is made public, there will be demands for reservatins in the army. The circus will start all over again. This is clearly vote-bank politics.

Dilip D'Souza said...

Nikhil, I don't know what the matter was with the previous post -- I noticed the problem after your comment and fiddled a bit and it seems fixed now. Can I ask you to move your comment over there, and I'll respond there? thank you.

pso said...

Is there a particular book of his poems that you would recommend? Also, is his stuff available in Devnagri script too? I can't read Urdu...

Monkindia said...

You may like to get "Mera Safar" a collecion of Sardar Jafri's poems in devnagri script.

Also available is "Ali Sardar Jafri: The Youthful Boatman of Joy", a book on the life and times of Jafri, in English.

Both the books have been published by Bharatiya Jnanpith.

You may also listen to SARHAD, the only music album on the poetry of Ali Sardar Jafri.