Sunday, September 27, 2009

Three Poems of Pash

Translated by Rajesh Kumar Sharma



I have never desired
the wind to sway to beats on Vividh Bharati
and play
- away from my view -
hide and seek with silk-soft curtains

I have never desired
tinted lights to filter through the glass pane and kiss
my songs on their lips

Whenever I have dreamed
I have seen myself console a weeping city

I have seen cities multiplying against villages

And I have watched
folded worker hands
closing into fists

I have never longed for cushions on a car seat

My dreams have never wandered
beyond the borders of a rickshaw puller’s
sleeping on a board outside some shop
and craving a bidi’s draught

How can I desire the wind to sway
to beats on Vividh Bharati?

I watch fodder crops burnt by scorching winds

How can I think of sweet luscious eyes
when I see lightless eyes raised towards heaven
and begging for rain?


From Cards

(Cardan Ton)

I am acquainted with the sand-built wall
of venerable customs

Scolded by parents
I will not cry

When I surrender myself to your embrace
your memory so fills the mists of sensation
I cannot read any news
against me

I know the old coppers with holes in them
are current no longer
and yet, like relics of the dead,
they have gone, leaving their conspiracies behind

And man remains as small as he looks
through the old copper’s hole.


Out of One’s Insecurity
(Apni Asurakhya Chon)

If the country’s security means
that one must murder conscience
as a precondition to live
that every word other than ‘yes’ looking out of your eye
must seem indecent
that the mind must bow in humiliating submission
to a depraved time --
we then stand in danger of the country’s security

We had thought the country to be something sacred
like one’s home,
free from any sultriness,
a place
where man moves like the sound of falling rain in streets,
where he sways like stalks of wheat in fields
and grants meaning
to the magnanimous vastness of the skies

We had thought the country to be some experience
like an embrace

We had thought the country to be some intoxication
like work

But if the country is a factory
for exploitation of the soul
if it is a laboratory
to produce morons --
we then stand in danger of this country

If the peace of the country only means
that we should break and crumble
like stones rolling down mountains
that the unashamed laughter of prices should for ever spit
on the face of earnings
that bathing in one’s own blood should be
the only holy virtue earned --
we then stand in danger of the peace

If the country’s security means
that strikes must be crushed to dye the peace in deeper hues
that the only martyrdom should be the one attained on borders
that the only art should be which blossoms on the ruler’s windowpane
that the only wisdom should be which waters the land from the authority’s well
that the only labour should be which sweeps the floors of royal palaces --
we stand then in danger of the country’s peace.

26 September 2009


M L Raina said...

Remembering is celebrating.Reading these poems,I found myself singing Faiz's soulful poem aaj baazar mein pa ba jholan chalo;he would have recognised a kin in Pash.

Badri Raina said...

better translations than some i have seen;

Archna said...

"These are great transcreations, Rajesh. I am moved by:
"How can I think of sweet luscious eyes
when I see lightless eyes raised towards heaven
and begging for rain?""

Shashi Kumar said...

I read your English translation of Pash's poems on the web: "Some Poems
of Pash". Congratulations for doing a very good job. Your translation preserves
the deep pain as well as "the challenge to struggle" against the existing exploitative
system beautifully painted in the original poems. A great achievement! It is both
a service to English as well as Punjabi.

Best wishes,

Shashi Kumar

gurupdesh said...

definitely much better and poetic rendering than others have done before. Not the kind of poetry that the globalised indian can much identify with, but pash shares his heavenly berth with greats like faiz and sahir. We can see the angst of 70's romanticised. gurupdesh

Nonsense Jagtar said...

very well translated,but i think Pash's poetry needs more harsh language.