Mataa-e lauh-o qalam chhin gayi to kya



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PAGE 24

Mataa-e lauh-o qalam chhin gayi to kya gham hai

Ke khoon-e dil meiñ duboli hai ungliyaañ maiñ ne

Zabaañ pe mohr lagi hai to kya, ke rakh di hai

Har ek halqa-e zanjeer meiñ zabaañ maiñ ne
Why grieve if paper and pen have been snatched away

For I have dipped my fingers in the blood of my heart

So what if my own speech has been fettered; I have placed

A tongue in the mouth of every link of the chain that binds me

– Faiz Ahmad Faiz
PAGE 25
Bhadka raheñ haiñ aag lab-e naghmagar se hum

Khaamosh kya rahenge zamaane ke dar se hum

Le de ke apne paas faqat ek nazar to hai

Kyoñ dekheñ zindagi ko kisi ki nazar se hum

Maana ke is zameeñ ko na gulzaar kar sake

Kuch khaar kam to kar diye, guzre jidhar se hum

Here we go, stoking flames through song-laden lips

The fear of the world can never staunch the flow of our words

In all, we have just one view, our own

Why should we see the world through someone else’s eyes?

It is true, we did not turn the world into a garden

But at least we lessened some thorns from the paths we traveled

– Sahir Ludhianvi



Deep jis ka mahallaat hi meiñ jale

Chand logon ki khushiyoñ ko le kar chale

Voh jo saaye meiñ har maslehat ke pale

Aise dastoor ko, subh-e benoor ko

Maiñ nahiñ maanta! Maiñ nahiñ jaanta!

A lamp that sheds light only on palaces

That caters to the whims of a chosen few

That flourishes in the shadow of compromise

This system, this light-starved morning

I do not accept!

– Habib Jalib

PAGE 50
Alvida ai surkh parcham, surkh parcham alvida

Ai nishaan-e azm-e mazloomaan-e aalam alvida

Deeda-e purnam ne kal dil se kaha tha marhaba

Aaj lekin kah rahi hai chashm-e purnam alvida

Razmgaah-e khair-o shar meiñ yaad aayegi teri

Haañ maiñ ab aur lashkar-e Iblees-e Aazam alvida

Ai furaat-e tishnakaamaan-e jihaad-e zindagi

Khulzum-e tishnaalabi ki mauj-e barham alvida
Farewell O Red Flag, Red Flag farewell

Farewell, O symbol of the dynasty of the oppressed

Till yesterday, my brimming eyes cheered you on

Today, these eyes filled with tears, bid you farewell

You will be missed in the battles between good and evil

Today I find myself alone in the fight against the Great Satan, farewell

O, the river that slaked the thirst of the martyrs in the struggle of life

O, eager waves that fed the parched ones, farewell

– Ali Sardar Jaafri
Bol ke lab aazaad haiñ tere

Bol zabaañ ab tak teri hai

Tera sutvaañ jism hai tera

Bol ke jaañ ab tak teri hai
Dekh ke aahangar ki dukaañ meiñ

Tund haiñ sholay, surkh hai aahan

Khulne lage qufloñ ke dahaane

Phaila har ek zanjeer ka daaman
Bol ye thoda waqt bahut hai

Jism-o zabaañ ki maut se pahle

Bol ke sach zinda hai ab tak

Bol jo kuch kahna hai, kah le
Speak, for your lips are still free

Speak, for your tongue is still yours

Your body, though frail, is still yours

Speak, for your life is still yours

Look, in the blacksmith’s workshop

The flames are hot, the steel is red

The mouths of the locks are beginning to open

The links of chains are coming undone

Speak, for the little time you have is enough

Before your body and tongue die

Speak, for truth still lives

Speak up, say that which you must!

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz
PAGE 51
Kahaañ tak ye bil-jabr mar mar ke jeena

Badalne laga hai amal ka qareena

Lahu meiñ hai khaulan, jabeeñ par paseena

Dhadakti hai nasbeñ, sulagta hai seena

Garaj ai baghaavat ke tayyaar hooñ maiñ
How long will I live this oppressed death-like existence

The times are about to change

My blood boils, my brow is sweaty

My pulse pounds, my chest is fiery

Roar O Revolution, for I am ready

– Kaifi Azmi


In kaali sadiyoñ ke sar se jab raat ka aanchal dhalke-ga

Jab dukh ke baadal pighlenge, jab sukh ka saaghar chhalke-ga

Jab ambar jhoom ke naachega, jab dharti naghme gaayegi

Voh subha kabhi to aayegi
That morning, when the veil of night will slip away from the head of these dark centuries

When the clouds of suffering melt, when the wine-glass of happiness sparkles

When the sky dances joyously and the earth sings songs of delight

Surely, that morning will dawn some day

– Sahir Ludhianavi
Chashm-e nam jaan-e shoreeda kaafi nahiñ

Tohmat-e ishq-e posheeda kaafi nahiñ

Aaj bazaar meiñ pa-bajaolaañ chalo
The teary eyes and the stormy life are not enough

The burden of a love that is kept secret is not enough

Today, come out in the public wearing your chains

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Hai dasht ab bhi dasht, magar khoon-e pa se Faiz

Seraab chand khaar-e mugheelaañ hue to haiñ

The desolate desert we walked through still remains desolate, Faiz

But at least the thirst of some of its thorns has been quenched by the blood of our feet

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz


PAGE 72
Fan jo naadaar tak nahiñ pahuncha

Apne meyaar tak nahiñ pahuncha
The art that doesn’t reach the poor

Has not achieved its potential

– Sahir Ludhianavi
Ab ahl-e dard ye jeene ka ehtemaam kareñ

Use bhula ke gham-e zindagi ka naam kareñ
Sikhaayeñ dast-e talab ko adaa-e bebaaki

Payaam-e zer-e labi ko salaa-e aam kareñ
Ghulaam rah chuke, todeñ ye band-e ruswaai

Kuch apne baazu-e mehnat ka ehteraam kareñ
Let the lovers prepare to face the world

Forget their beloveds, focus on the sorrows of Life


Teach the supplicating hand to be bold

Turn that which has been whispered into a public cry


Slaves no more, break the fetters of dishonor

Learn to respect the hands that labour

– Majrooh Sultanpuri
Ek mahal ki aad se nikla voh peela maahtaab

Jaise mullaah ka amaama, jaise baniye ki kitaab
From behind the palace rose the yellow moon

Looking like the mullah’s turban, like the moneylender’s ledger

– Israrul Haq Majaz
Maiñ ke ek mehnat-kash, maiñ ke teeragi dushman

Subh-e nau ibaarat hai, mere muskuraane se

Surkh inquilaab aaya, daur-e aaftaab aaya

Muntazir thi ye aankheñ jis ki ek zamaane se

Ab zameen gaayegi, hal ke saaz par naghme

Vaadiyoñ meiñ naachenge har taraf taraane se

Manchale bunenge ab rang-o boo ke pairaahan

Ab sañvar ke niklega, husn kaarkhaane se

I am a worker, I am the enemy of darkness

My smile is what brings about the new morning

The red revolution arrives, that day of brightness dawns

Which these eyes have been awaiting for so long

Now the earth will sing songs to the beat of the plough

Anthems will dance in the valleys

The carefree will weave garments of color and fragrance

And beauty shall emerge, adorned, from within the factory walls

– Majrooh Sultanpuri
PAGE 73
Aqaaid vahm hai, mazhab khayaal-e khaam hai saaqi

    1. Azal se zahn-e insaañ basta-e auhaam hai saaqi

O Saqi, faith is but superstition, religion an inferior idea

Since the dawn of time, this blindness has imprisoned our imagination

– Sahir Ludhianavi


Ye duniya do rangi hai

Ek taraf se resham ode, ek taraf se nangi hai
Ek taraf andhi daulat ki paagal aish parasti

Ek taraf jismoñ ki qeemat roti se bhi sasti

Ek taraf hai Sonaagaachi, ek taraf Chaurangi hai

Ye duniya do rangi hai
This world is double-faced

One side covered with silk, the other naked


On the one hand, the hedonism of blind wealth

On the other, bodies sold cheaper than bread

On the one hand lies Sonagachi, on the other Chowringee

This world is double-faced

– Sahir Ludhianavi
Khaaeñ bhi mazdoor ka, mazdoor par ghurraaeñ bhi

Din ko mehnat bhi karaaeñ, raat ko rulvaaeñ bhi

Bhook ke mazdoor ke bachche bhi bilkeñ maaeñ bhi

Tuf hai saramaaya parastoñ par kahiñ mit jaaeñ bhi

Inteqaam, ai inteqaam, ai inteqaam, ai inteqaam

Not satisfied with appropriating the workers’ share, you growl at them too

Not enough that you make them slave during the day, you make them weep at night too

Not only do the workers’ children wail with hunger, their mothers cry too

Damn you, o capitalism-lovers, may you perish

Revenge, revenge, revenge, revenge

– Viqaar Ambalavi


Hum dekhenge

Laazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge, hum dekhenge

Voh din ke jis ka vaada hai

Jo lauh-e azal pe likha hai

Hum dekhenge
We will witness it

It cannot be but that we too will witness it

That day which has been promised us

That which has been inscribed on the parchment of life

We too will witness it.

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz


PAGE 88
Kohsaaroñ ki taraf se surkh aandhi aayegi

Jabaja aabaadiyoñ meiñ aag si lag jaayegi ...

Aur is rang-e shafaq meiñ ba-hazaraañ aab-o taab

Jagmagaaega vatan ki hurriyat ka aaftaab
A red storm is approaching from over the mountains

Sparking a fire in the settlements ...

And on this horizon, amidst a thousand tumults

Shall shine the sun of our land’s freedom

– Israrul Haq Majaz
Utho meri duniya ke ghareeboñ ko jagaado

Kaakh-e umara ke dar-o deewaar hilaado

Jis khet se dahkhaañ ko mayassar nahiñ rozi

Us khet ke har gosha-e gandum ko jalaado
Rise, awaken the poor of my land

Rattle the palaces of the rich men’s band

A field whose crop the farmer can’t eat?

Burn, burn every grain of that wheat

– “Allama” Mohammad Iqbal

Voh Bhagat Singh jis ke gham meiñ ab bhi dil naashaad hai


Us ki gardan meiñ jo daala tha voh phanda yaad hai?

Zahn meiñ hoga ye taaza Hindiyoñ ka daagh bhi

Yaad to hoga tumheñ Jaliaanwaala Baagh bhi
That Bhagat Singh whose memory still fills the heart with sorrow

Surely you remember the noose you put round his neck?

The scars that Indians felt must be fresh in your memory

Those that were inflicted at Jalianwala Bagh. You remember, don’t you?

– Josh Malihabadi
Apna gala kharosh-e tarannum se phat gaya

Talvaar se bacha, to rag-e gul se kat gaya
The strain of song tore our throats

We escaped the sword, but were beheaded by the rose’s vein

– Josh Malihabadi

PAGE 89
Abhi giraani-e shab meiñ kami nahiñ aayi

Najaat-e deeda-o dil ki ghadi nahiñ aayi

Chale chalo ke voh manzil abhi nahiñ aayi
The burden of the night still weighs us down

The eye and the heart are still unfree

Move on, for our destination hasn’t yet been reached

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Salaam surkh shaheedoñ ki sar-zameen salaam

Salaam azm-e buland, aahani yaqeen salaam

Mujaahidoñ ki chamakti hui jabeen salaam

Dayar-e Hind ki mahboob arz-e Cheen salaam
Salutations to the land of the red martyrs

To the lofty purpose, its iron-clad certainty

To the shining foreheads of the revolutionaries

To the land of China, India’s beloved

Makhdoom Mohiuddin
Aao ke aaj ghaur kareñ is savaal par

Dekhe the hum ne jo, voh haseeñ khwaab kya hue?

Bekas barehnagi ko kafan tak nahiñ naseeb

Voh vaada-haa-e atlas-o kamkhwaab kya hue?


Jamhooriyat-navaaz, bashar-dost, amn-khwaah

Khud ko jo khud diye the, voh alqaab kya hue?
Come, and let us ponder on the question

Those beautiful dreams of ours, what came of them?

The helpless and naked cannot even afford a shroud

What happened to those promises of silk and satin?

Democrat, humanist, pacifist

What happened to all those self-conferred titles?

– Sahir Ludhianavi
PAGE 109
Jang sarmaaye ke tasallut se

Amn jamhoor ki khushi ke liye

Jang jangoñ ke falsafe ke khilaaf

Amn pur-amn zindagi ke liye
Wage war against the grip of capitalism

Seek peace for the happiness of the common people

Wage war against the philosophy of war

Seek peace for the sake of a harmonious life

– Sahir Ludhianavi
Tum aao gulshan-e Lahore se chaman bar-dosh

Hum aayeñ subh-e Banaaras ki raushni le kar

Himaalaya ke havaaoñ 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?

– Ali Sardar Jaafri
Ye qatl qatl kisi ek aadmi ka nahiñ

Ye qatl haq ka, masaavaat ka, sharaafat ka

Ye qatl ilm ka hikmat ka aadmiyat ka

Ye qatl hilm-o muravvat ka khaaksaari ka

Ye qatl ek ka do ka nahiñ, hazaar ka hai

Khuda ka qatl hai, qudrat ke shaahkaar ka qatl

Hai sham sham-e ghareebaañ, hai subha subh-e Hunain

Ye qatl qatl-e maseeha, ye qatl qatl-e Husain

This is not just the murder of one man

This is the murder of truth, of equality, of nobility

This is the murder of knowledge, of wisdom, of humanity

This is the murder of clemency, of chivalry, of humility

This is the murder of the alleviators of oppression

This is not just the murder of one or two, but of a thousand

This is the murder of God, of God’s masterpiece

This night is the night of the wretched, this morning the morning of Hunain

This is the murder of the messiah, this the murder of Husain

– Makhdoom Mohiuddin




PAGE 110
Voh haath aaj bhi maujood-o kaar farma haiñ

Voh haath jis ne pilaaya kisi ko zahr ka jaam

Voh haath jis ne chadhaaya kisi ko sooli par

Voh haath vaadi-e Sina meiñ, Vietnaam meiñ haiñ

Har ek gardan-e meena, har ek jaam meiñ haiñ
Even today, those hands remain and wreak havoc

Those hands that raised the poisoned chalice to someone’s lips

Those hands that pushed someone to the gallows

Those same hands are still at work in the valley of Sinai, in Vietnam

Around the neck of every flask, around every goblet

– Makhdoom Mohiuddin


Kamina shart-e wafa tark-e sar buvad Haafiz

Baro guzaar-e tu eeñ-kaar gar nami aayad’
‘Fidelity demands, at the least, the willingness to sacrifice oneself, Hafiz

If you are not capable of this, then leave!’

– Makhdoom Mohiuddin
Tere hontoñ ke phooloñ ki chaahat meiñ hum

Daar ki khushk tahni pe vaare gaye

Tere haathoñ ki shamm’oñ ki hasrat meiñ hum

Neem-tareek raahoñ meiñ maare gaye…
Jab ghuli teri raahoñ meiñ shaam-e sitam

Hum chale aaye laaye jahaañ tak qadam


Lab pe harf-e ghazal, dil meiñ qandeel-e gham

Apna gham tha gavaahi tere husn ki

Dekh khaayam rahe is gavaahi pe hum

Hum jo tareek raahoñ meiñ maare gaye
In the desire for the flowers that were your lips

We were sacrificed on the dry branch of the scaffold

In the yearning for the light of your hands

We were killed in the darkening streets...


As the evening of tyranny dissolved in your memory

We walked on as far as our feet could carry us

A song on our lips, a lamp of sadness in our heart

Our grief bore witnesss to our love for your beauty

Look, we remained true to that love

We, who were executed in the dark lanes

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz

PAGE 133
Krishn ka geet hai, Gokhul ki haseeñ shaam hai tu

Aa kaleje se lagaaleñ ke siyaah-faam hai tu
You are Krishna’s song, you are Gokul’s beautiful evening

Come let us embrace, for you too, like me, are dark-skinned

– Ali Sardar Jaafri

    1. Zulm phir zulm hai, badhta hai to mit jaata hai


Khoon phir khoon hai, tapkega to jam jaayega
Tyranny is but tyranny; when it grows, it is vanquished

Blood however is blood; if it spills, it will congeal

– Sahir Ludhianavi
Khaak-e sehra pe jame ya kaf-e qaatil pe jame

Farq-e insaaf pe ya paa-e salaasil pe jame

Tegh-e bedaad pe ya laasha-e bismil pe jame

Khoon phir khoon hai, tapkega to jam jaayega

It will congeal on the desert sands, on the murderer’s hand

On the brow of justice, and on chained feet

On the unjust sword, on the sacrificial body

Blood is blood. If it spills, it takes root.

– Sahir Ludhianavi

Zulm ke baat hi kya, zulm ki auqaat hi kya

Zulm bas zulm hai aaghaaz se anjaam talak

Khoon phir khoon hai, sau shakl badal sakta hai

Aisi shakleñ ke mitaao to mitaaye na bane

Aise sholay ke bujhaao to bujhaaye na bane

Aise naare ke dabaao to dabaaye na bane
Tyranny has no caste, no community, no status nor dignity

Tyranny is simply tyranny, from its beginning to its end

Blood however is blood; it becomes a hundred things:

Shapes that cannot be obliterated

Flames that can never be extinguished

Chants that will not be suppressed

– Sahir Ludhianavi
PAGE 134
Maiñ qatl to ho gaya tumhaari gali meiñ, lekin

Mere lahu se tumhaari deewaar gal rahi hai
True, I was murdered in your street

But my blood is now corroding your walls

– Javed Akhar
Magar thi khwaaboñ ke lashkar meiñ kis ko itni khabar

Har ek qisse ka ek ekhtemaam hota hai

Hazaar likh le koi fat’ha zarre zarre par

Magar shikast ka bhi ek muqaam hota hai
Little did the army of dreams realize

That every story has an end

One may inscribe ‘Victory’ on a thousand places

But ‘Defeat’ has its own place too

– Javed Akhar
Jeevan jeevan hum ne jag meiñ khel yahi hote dekha

Dheere dheere jeeti duniya, dheere dheere haare log

Neki ek din kaam aayegi, hum ko kya samjhaate ho

Hum ne bebas marte dekhe kaise pyaare pyaare log

In generation after generation, we have seen the same game played

That the world eventually won, and the people were gradually defeated

‘Goodness will one day be rewarded’, don’t try to convince me of this

For I have seen many beautiful people die helplessly

– Javed Akhar

Vasl ka sukooñ kya hai, hijr ka junooñ kya hai

Husn ka fusooñ kya hai, ishq ke darooñ kya hai

Tum mareez-e daanaa’i maslehat ke shaidaa’i

Raah-e gumrahaañ kya hai tum na jaan paaoge
What is the tranquility of Union, and what the madness of Separation?

What are the enchantments of Beauty, and what the secrets of Love?

You who are afflicted by Wisdom, who are a slave to Compromise

What is the path of the Iconoclasts? You will never understand

– Javed Akhar
PAGE 150
Aur aaj jab in pedoñ ke tale

Phir do saaye lahraaye hai.N

Phir do dil milne aaye haiñ

Phir maut ki aandhi uth-ti hai

Phir jang ke baadal chaaye haiñ

Maiñ soch raha hooñ in ka bhi

Apni hi taraah anjaam na ho

In ka bhi junooñ naakaam na ho

In ke bhi muqaddar meiñ likkhi

Ek khoon meiñ lithdi shaam na ho
And today, when under those same trees

Two other shadows rendezvous

Two other hearts meet

The storms of death gather again

The clouds of war obscure the sky

May they not meet the same fate as ours

May their passion too not prove fruitless

May the futures of these two lovers

Not be inscribed on a bloodied horizon

– Sahir Ludhianavi


Qafas hai bas meiñ tumhaare, tumhaare bas meiñ nahiñ

Chaman meiñ aatish-e gul ke nikhaar ka mausam

Bala se hum ne na dekha to aur dekhenge

Furogh-e gulshan-o saut-e hazaar ka mausam

The cage may be in your power, but you do not control

The season of the flowering of the bright rose

And so what if we do not see it? For the ones following us will witness

The brightness of the garden, the singing of the nightingale

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Dekh raftaar-e inquilaab, Firaaq

Kitni aahista aur kitni tez
Behold the pace of revolution, Firaq

How slow, and how swift

– Firaq Gorakhpuri
PAGE 151
Guzishta jang meiñ ghar hi jale, magar is baar

Ajab nahiñ, ke ye tanhaaiyaañ bhi jal jaayeñ

Guzishta jang meiñ paikar jale, magar is baar

Ajab nahiñ ke ye parchaaiyaañ bhi jal jaayeñ
In the last war, homes were burned, but this time

Even the loneliness may burn away

In the last war, only bodies burned, but this time

Even the silhouettes may burn away

– Sahir Ludhianavi

Bartari ke saboot ki khaatir

Khooñ bahaana hi kya zaroori hai?

Ghar ki taareekiyaañ mitaane ko

Ghar jalaana hi kya zaroori hai?
To prove one’s superiority

Is it necessary to shed blood?

To eliminate the darkness of the house

Is it necessary to set it ablaze?

– Sahir Ludhianavi
Bezaar hai kanisht-o kaleese se ye jahaa.N

Saudagaraan-e deen ki saudaagari ki khair

Ilhaad kar raha hai murattab jahaan-e nau

Dair-o haram ki hay’ola ghaaratgari ki khair

Insaañ ulat raha hai rukh-e zeest se naqaab

Mazhab ke ehtemaam-e fusooñ parvari ki khair
This world is sick of the temple, mosque, church

You who peddle religion, beware

Atheism is now laying the foundation of a new world

The plundering edifices of faith, beware

Humanity is unveiling the real face of life

Religion’s wily artifice, beware

– Sahir Ludhianavi

Vajh-e berangi-e gulzaar kahooñ to kya ho?


Kaun hai kitna gunehgaar, kahooñ to kya ho?

Tum ne jo baat sar-e bazm na sun-na chaahi

Maiñ vahi baat sar-e daar kahooñ to kya ho?
What if I told you the reason the garden had no colour?

And what if I became the accountant of sins?

The words you did not want to hear in the civil assembly,

What if I spoke those very words on the gallows?

– Sahir Ludhianavi
PAGE 172
Voh yaar hai jo khushboo ki taraah

Jis ki zubaañ Urdu ki taraah
A friend is like a fragrance

Whose language is (sweet) like Urdu

– Gulzar
Mujh ko is ka ranj nahiñ hai, log mujhe fankaar na maaneñ
Fikr-o sukhan ke taajir mere sheroñ ko ash’aar na maaneñ

I do not regret that people do not consider me an artist


That the traders of thought and words do not think of my poems as poetry

– Sahir Ludhianavi


Aate haiñ ghaib se ye mazaameeñ khayaal meiñ

Ghalib, sareer-e khaama, navaa-e sarosh hai
These ideas come to me from the void

Ghalib, the sound of pen on paper is the flutter of angels’ wings

– Ghalib
Duniya ne tajrubaat-o havaadis ki shakl meiñ

Jo kuch mujhe diya hai, voh lauta raha hooñ maiñ
What the world, in the form of experiences and accidents

Has bestowed upon me; I hereby return

– Sahir Ludhianavi
Ye chamanzaar, ye Jamuna ka kinaara, ye mahal

Ye munaqqash dar-o deewaar, ye mehraab, ye taaq

Ek shahenshaah ne daulat ka sahaara lekar

Hum ghareeboñ ki mohabbat ka udaaya hai mazaaq

Meri mahboob, kahiñ aur mila kar mujh se

These gardens, the banks of the Jamuna, this palace

These wonderfully carved walls, doors, awnings

Are but an emperor’s display of wealth

That mocks the love of the poor

My love, meet me elsewhere

– Sahir Ludhianavi


    1. Hamaara pyaar havaadis ki taab la na saka


Magar inheñ to muraadoñ ki raat mil jaaye

Hameñ to kashmakash-e marg-e be amaañ hi mili

Inheñ to jhoomti gaati hayaat mil jaaye
Our love did not survive the savage power of circumstance

At least they should reach the destination of their desires

We found ourselves in the maelstrom of a pitiless death

At least their life should be filled with dance and song

– Sahir Ludhianavi

PAGE 172
Agar palak pe haiñ moti to ye nahiñ kaafi

Hunar bhi chaahiye alfaaz meiñ pirone ka
It is not enough if pearls of tears abound on eyelashes

One must have the craft to weave them into a necklace of words

– Javed Akhtar
Us ke ek haath meiñ hai jeet us ki

Doosre haath meiñ tanhaai hai
In one hand, Victory

And in the other, Loneliness

– Javed Akhtar
Jaane kaisa daur hai jis meiñ ye jur’at bhi mushkil hai

Din ho agar to likhooñ use din, raat agar ho, raat likhooñ
I wonder what kind of an age this is, where even this much courage is tough to muster

That if I see it is day, I write it as day, that when it is night, I call it night

– Javed Akhtar
Lo dekh lo, ye ishq hai, ye vasl hai, ye hijr

Ab laut chaleñ aao, bahut kaam pada hai
All right, look: this is Love, here is Union, and this is Separation

Now let us return, shall we? There is a lot of work to be done

– Javed Akhtar
Qaatil bhi, maqtool bhi donoñ naam khuda ka lete the

Koi khuda tha, to voh kahaañ tha, meri kya auqaat, likhooñ?

The murderer and the victim were both invoking the name of God

If there was a God, where was He? But who am I to write about that?

– Javed Akhtar

  1. Aaj

  2. Ye shahr ik sahme hue bachche ki taraah


Apni parchhaai se bhi darta hai

Jantari dekho

Mujhe lagta hai

Aaj tyohaar koi hai shaayad
Today

This city, like a frightened child

Fears its own shadow

Check the calendar

I have a feeling

That today might be the day of a festival

– Javed Akhtar
PAGE 198
Yahi junooñ ka yahi tauq-o daar ka mausam

Yahi hai jabr, yahi ikhtiyaar ka mausam
This is the season of passion, this the season of the chain and noose

This is the season of repression, this too the season of resistance

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz

    1. Paaoñ Sarju meiñ abhi Raam ne dhoye bhi na the

    2. Ke nazar aaye vahaañ khoon ke gahre dhabbe


Paaoñ dhoye bina Sarju ke kinaare se uthe

Raam ye kahte hue apne dwaare se uthe

Raajdhaani ki fiza aayi nahiñ raas mujhe

Cheh Disambar ko mila doosra banvaas mujhe.
Hardly had Ram dipped his feet in the Sarayu

When he noticed dark bloodstains on the banks

Leaving the river without washing his feet

Ram began his resigned journey yet again,

‘The climate of my capital has been vitiated

On the 6th of December, I was exiled yet again.’

Kaifi Azmi

Falak ne dekh liya aur zameeñ bhi maan gayi


Kisi ki aayi savaari, kisi ki jaan gayi
The sky bore witness, the earth too cried

Someone passed in splendour, someone else died

– Josh Malihabadi
Kuch nahiñ to kam se kam khwaab-e sahar dekha to hai

Jis taraf dekha na tha ab tak, udhar dekha to hai
At the very least, we dreamed of a fresh dawn

At the very least, we imagined something new

– Israrul Haq Majaz
Taqdeer ka shikva be-maani, jeena hi tujhe manzoor nahiñ

Aap apna muqaddar ban na sake, itna to koi majboor nahiñ

Sunte haiñ ke kaante se gul tak, haiñ raah meiñ laakhoñ veeraane

Kahta hai magar ye azm-e junooñ, sahra se gulistaañ door nahiñ
Don’t blame Fate, for it is you who has no desire for Life

You are unable to write your own destiny? Surely, no one is that helpless

We are repeatedly told that the path from the thorn to the rose is strewn with desolation

Yet, the power of my passion insists that the garden is round the corner from the desert

– Majrooh Sultanpuri
PAGE 199
Ye hum gunahgaar aurateñ haiñ

Jo ahl-e jabba ki tamkinat se

Na ro’b khaayeñ

Na jaan becheñ

Na sar jhukaayeñ

Na haath jod

Ye hum gunahgaar aurateñ haiñ

Ke jin ke jismoñ ki fasl becheñ jo log

Voh sarfaraaz thahreñ

Nayaabat-e imtiyaaz thahreñ

Voh daavar-e ahl-e saaz thahreñ

Ye hum gunahgaar aurateñ haiñ

Ke sach ka parcham utha ke nikleñ

To jhoot se shaah-raaheñ ati mile haiñ

Har ek dahleez pe sazaaoñ ki daastaaneñ rakhi mile haiñ

Jo bol sakti theeñ voh zubaaneñ kati mile haiñ

It is we sinful women

Who are not intimidated

By the magnificence of those who wear robes

Who don’t sell their souls

Don’t bow their heads

Don’t fold their hands in supplication

We are the sinful ones

While those who sell the harvest of our bodies

Are exalted

Considered worthy of distinction

Become gods of the material world

It is we sinful women

Who, when we emerge carrying aloft the flag of truth

Find highways strewn with lies

Find tales of punishment placed at every doorstep

Find tongues which could have spoken, severed

– Kishwar Naheed
PAGE 222
Ke is zameeñ par vujood mera nahiñ faqat ek nishaan-e shahvat

Hayaat ki shaah-raah par jagmaga rahi hai meri zahaanat

Zameeñ ke rukh par jo hai paseena to jhilmilaati hai meri mehnat

Ye chaar deewaariyaañ, ye chaadar, gali sadi laash ko mubarek

Khuli fizaaoñ meiñ baadbaañ khol kar badhega mera safeena

Maiñ Aadam-e nau ki humsafar hooñ

Ke jis ne jeeti meri bharosa bhari rifaaqat!
My existence on this earth is not as a mere symbol of lust

My intelligence gleams brightly on the highway of life

The sweat that shines on the brow of the earth is but my hard work

The corpse is welcome to this chaadar and these four walls

My ship will move full-sail in the open wind

I am the companion of the new Adam

Who has won my confident comradeship

– Fehmida Riyaz


Voh apne badan ki qaidi

Tapti hui dhoop meiñ jalte

Tele par khadi hui hai

Pathhar par naqsh bani hai

Is naqsh ko ghaur se dekho

Lambi raanoñ se oopar

Ubhre pistaanoñ se oopar

Pecheeda kokh se oopar

Aqleema ka sar bhi hai

Allah kabhi Aqleema se kalaam bhi kare

Aur kuch poochhe!
Imprisoned by her body

She stands atop a burning hill

Like an etching on a stone

Look at this etching carefully

Above her long legs

Above her breast-swell

Above her contorted womb

Aqleema has a head

Let God address Aqleema too sometime

And ask her something!

– Fehmida Riyaz
Mera qad

Mere baap se ooncha nikla

Aur meri ma jeet gayi
My height

Surpassed that of my father

And thus, my mother won

– Ishrat Afreen


PAGE 223
Maati se hum laal nikaaleñ, moti laaeñ jal se

Jo kuch is duniya meiñ bana hai, bana hamaare bal se

Kab tak mehnat ke pairoñ meiñ daulat ki zanjeereñ

Haath badhaakar chheen lo apne sapnoñ ki tasveereñ

Saathi haath badhaana
We are the ones who extract rubies from the earth, pearls from the sea,

All that is of value in this world has been created by us.

How long will labour be chained by those who own wealth?

Reach out and snatch that which you have always dreamed of.

Comrades, lend your hand!

– Sahir Ludhianavi


Ye mahloñ ye takhtoñ ye taajoñ ki duniya

Ye insaañ ke dushman samaajoñ ki duniya

Ye daulat ke bhooke rivaajoñ ki duniya

Ye duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai?

This world of palaces, thrones and crowns

This world of societies that hate humanity

This world that hungers for nothing but wealth

Even if one obtains this world, so what?

– Sahir Ludhianavi

Zara mulk ke rahbaroñ ko bulaao

Ye kooche, ye galiyaañ, ye manzar dikhaao

Jinheñ naaz hai Hind par unko laao

Jinheñ naaz hai Hind par voh kahaañ haiñ?
Go, fetch the leaders of the nation

Show them these streets, these lanes, these sights

Summon them, those who are proud of India

Those who are proud of India, where are they?

– Sahir Ludhianavi
Cheen-o Arab hamaara, Hindostaañ hamaara

Rahne ko ghar nahiñ hai, saara jahaañ hamaara

Jitni bhi buildingeñ thiñ, sethoñ ne baant li haiñ

Footpaath Bambayi ke, haiñ aashiyaañ hamaara
China and Arabia are ours, so is India

Yet we have no home to live in; the whole world is ours

The wealthy have distributed all the buildings among themselves

While we are left to take refuge on the footpaths of Bombay

– Sahir Ludhianavi
PAGE 225

Phir chali hai rel, istayshan se lehraati hui

Neem-shab ki khaam’shi meiñ zer-e lab gaati hui

Daalti behis chataanoñ par hiqaarat ki nazar

Koh par hansti, falak ko aankh dikhlaati hui

Daaman-e taariki-e shab ki udaati dhajjiyaañ

Qasr-e zulmat par musalsal teer barsaati hui

Zad meiñ koi cheez aa jaaye to us ko pees kar

Irteqaa-e zindagi ke raaz batlaati hui

Al-gharaz, badhti chali jaati hai, be-khauf-o khatar

Shaayar-e aatish-nafas ka khoon khaulaati hui

  1. Once again, the train jauntily leaves the station

Breaking the silence of the night with its whispered song.

Casting scornful glances on the placid cliffs

Laughing at mountains, making eyes at the sky

Tearing the black fabric of the night to shreds

Shooting constant arrows of sparks at the palace of darkness.

Crushing anything that comes in its way

Revealing the secrets of the evolution of life.

Ultimately it flies, fearlessly,

Roiling the blood of the poet’s fiery soul

– Israrul Haq Majaz


Teri baatoñ se padi jaati hai kaanoñ meiñ kharaash

Kufr-o eemaañ, kufr-o eemaañ, ta kuja? Khaamosh-baash!
Your drivel now gives me an earache

Infidelity and faith, infidelity and faith, how long? Shut up!

– Josh Malihabadi
Ban gaya qasr, to pahre pe ko’ee baith gaya

So rahe khaak pe hum shorish-e taameer liye

Apni nas nas meiñ liye mehnat-e paiham ki thakan

Band aankhoñ meiñ usi qasr ki tasveer liye

Din pighalta hai usi tarha saroñ par ab bhi

Raat aankhoñ meiñ khatakti hai siyaah teer liye

Aaj ki raat bahut garm hava chalti hai

Aaj ki raat na footpath pe neend aayegi

Sab utho, maiñ bhi uthooñ, tum bhi utho, tum bhi utho

Koi khidki isi deewaar meiñ khul jaayegi

Once the palace was built, they hired a guard

While we slept in the dirt, with our screaming craft,

Our pulses pounding with exhaustion

Bearing the picture of that very palace in our tightly shut eyes.

The day still melts on our heads

The night pierces hits our eyes with black arrows

A hot air blows tonight

It will be impossible to sleep on the pavement

Arise everyone! Me. You. And you too

That a window may open in these very walls

– Kaifi Azmi


PAGE 236
Dil na-umeed to nahiñ, naakaam hi to hai

Lambi hai gham ki shaam, magar shaam hi to hai
Defeated it may be, but the heart does not despair

Sorrow’s evening is long, but it too will pass

– Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Maiñ zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya


Har fikr ko dhueñ meiñ udaata chala gaya
I learnt to walk apace with life

Blowing all my worries into smoke

– Sahir Ludhianavi

    1. Jebeñ haiñ apni khaali, kyooñ deta varna gaali

    2. Voh santari hamaara, voh paasbaañ hamaara

Our pockets are empty, why else would he abuse us?

Our glorious sentry, our protector

– Sahir Ludhianavi



    1. Hum mehnat-kash is duniya se jab apna hissa maangenge


Ek baagh nahiñ, ek khet nahiñ, hum saari duniya maangenge
When we labourers demand our share of this world

Not just an orchard, not merely a field, we will demand the entire world

– Sahir Ludhianavi


    1. Ka’ee yaadoñ ke chehre haiñ, ka’ee qisse puraane haiñ


Teri sau daastaaneñ haiñ, tere kitne fasaane haiñ

Magar ek voh kahaani hai, jo ab mujh ko sunaani hai

Zindagi, aa raha hooñ maiñ
Memories have several faces; there are several tales from the past

You have a hundred stories, and as many parables

But there is one little story, which is now mine to tell

Life, I am on my way

– Javed Akhtar

Mere haathoñ ki garmi se, pighal jaayegi zanjeereñ


Mere qadmoñ ki aahat se, badal jaayegi taqdeereñ

Umeedoñ ke diye le kar, ye sab tere liye le kar

Zindagi, aa raha hooñ maiñ

The warmth of my hands will melt chains

The sound of my footsteps will change fortunes

Carrying these lamps of hope for you

Life, I am on my way

– Javed Akhtar


PAGE 236
Maiñ pal do pal ka shaayar hooñ

Pal do pal meri kahaani hai

Pal do pal meri hasti hai

Pal do pal meri javaani hai
I am a poet of a brief moment or two

My story is a passing one

My life is ephemeral

My youth, transient

– Sahir Ludhianavi
Footpaathoñ ke hum rahne vaale
Raatoñ ne paala hum voh ujaale
Aakaash sar pe, pairoñ tale, hai door tak ye zameeñ
Aur to apna koi nahiñ, aur to apna koi nahiñ

We are the pavement dwellers

We the light that has been sheltered by the nights

Our companions are the sky ahead, the ground beneath our feet

And none else

– Javed Akhtar
Bachpan meiñ khele gham se, nirdhan gharoñ ke bete
Phooloñ ki sej nahiñ, kaanton pe hum haiñ lete
Dukh meiñ rahe, sau gham sahe, dil ye kahe


Roti jahaañ, hai swarg apna vahiñ
Aur to apna koi nahiñ, aur to apna koi nahiñ

Our childhood spent playing with sorrow

Our beds made not of flowers but thorns

We live with unhappiness, suffer sadness, and say with our heart

That our heaven is where we can find bread

– Javed Akhtar
Maiñ har ek pal ka shaayar hooñ

Har ek pal meri kahaani hai

Har ek pal meri hasti hai

Har ek pal meri javaani hai
I am a poet for all times

My story is forever

My life, unending,

My youth, eternal!



– Sahir Ludhianavi
PAGE 238
SAME AS PAGE 236



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