Thursday, 27 February 2014

Pashto Poetry: A Letter from Fareedon’s Mother

By Ghani Khan

This poem is Translated by Faraz Jamil Kakar. The original Pashto poem is on page 23 of Ghani Khan's book, "Da Pinjarey Chighaar" (The Cry of Cage) accessible here.

15 June 1951 – on the 12th anniversary of my marriage, my one and only son Faredoon Rustam Jang was born. His mother was admitted in a hospital in Peshawar. And far away in a prison in Hazara, I was lying sick. An ugly guard with rifle in his hand would guard the door of my cell at all times. The entire world was black and dark. The despair of soul like the illness of body was touching its limits when this news came. I said, ''O Ghani, its good. You are lost but not without a heir.''

I can’t explain the pain and happiness of that day. For both pain and happiness are very exhausting. And then as I closed my eyes from this conscious world, I saw Fareedon’s mother standing in front of me. She placed a letter on my hand...

From a handful of sand, I made for you, life and a new world
My love carried me such, I made another beloved for you
As I entered the world of insanity, so full of light
I brought a gem, the most beautiful of all gems
This gift of my pride, is the answer to all your complaints
Complaints that you whispered in my ears every evening
This is proof of my love, faith, and faithfulness
As my soul lightened, his eyes blinked
He is the picture of my life, some smiles and some cries
The feather of Eagle, the soft head of bulbul
The proof of King’s love, of freedom of the slave
The most beautiful reward, a colorful glass of wine
Your dream into being, the face of my desires
A shadow of you, sketched by me
A red sheet of roses spread in the desert
In his every breath have I written the love of my love

Ghani Khan (1914-1996) is one of the most famous Pashto language poets of the 20th century. Read more about Ghani Khan here.

Faraz Jamil Kakar is from Pishin, Balochistan. He presently works as a Detention Doctor with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He translates Pashto poetry into English in his free time and has translated some work of famous Pashto poets such as Ghani Khan, Bahauddin Majroh and Bari Jahani. In the last decade, under the pretext of 'war on terror', constant efforts have been made and are underway to project tribal Pashtuns as religious fanatics in an attempt to demonize the entire nation. He believes that the literary work of great scholars like Ghani Khan is the best resource to counter this misguiding propaganda. His interest in Ghani Khan lies in the fact that Ghani Khan's work symbolises and carries forward the centuries old tradition of mystic poetry of the Pashtun society.
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