The pigeons are dying before death

Published: September 18, 2015

Children whose families say have been abused, hide their faces while their mothers are interviewed by a Reuters correspondent in their village of Husain Khan Wala. PHOTO: REUTERS

I know you are busy.

There are a thousand different things,

You are obligated to do,

Just like my parents;

They too spent themselves earning bread,

For me and my five siblings.


Given their limited means,

They have done their best,

To help us survive,

But have we survived?

Or would your child be able to survive?


I was 10,

Playing in the street with my friend,

That uncle,

Who lived just around the corner,

And his friends,

They said they wanted to show us pigeons.


You know how curious young boys can be,

Even the uncle living next door and the aunty,

Who often sat with my mother,

Saw us leave to see the pigeons.


There were only two pigeons,

The rest, upon seeing all the uncles,

Just rushed to hide,

“If you had not come to visit them,” they said,

All these pigeons would have died.


We ran after them,

But they could not fly,

Those uncles had clipped their wings,

So that they may not even try.


Could you imagine a bird’s misery?

When it cannot fly?

When it is stripped of its wings?

Does before death it die?


But those uncles said,

We could help them fly.


“If you could give them your wings.” They replied.


Our wings?

“Yes, if you take off your clothes,” they said,

“And do as you are told.”

We really wanted those birds to fly.


And they stripped us of our wings,

By and by,

Can you imagine the pain?

Our miserable plight?


And they stripped us of all our wings,

But those pigeons still could not fly.

Now, those uncles have our wings too.

And we are left with a few.


I know you are busy,

And you have lot to do.

But they are collecting wings all over the country.


Could you help us get our wings back?

And stop those uncles from clipping more wings?

Would you?

Muhammad Shafiq Haider

Muhammad Shafiq Haider

The writer is a sustainable development practitioner with expertise in governance, policymaking and implementation. He holds an M.Phil in Public Policy with a specialization in Political Economy. He blogs at and tweets as @SHVirk.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Dipak Mehta

    These uncles are Mullahs who run terrorist Madrassahs. Jinnah is turning over in his graves for the biggest blunder of his life.Recommend

  • hkhan

    ↑Says the one who has a relevantly bigger problem then their neighbours. Ever heard of the term apni giriban mein jhankoo. Do that is an amazing thing. Recommend

  • Nadia Haroon

    Dipak, in case you missed the point, this poem is not about mullahs or holy men sadhus. it’s about children being abbused by pedophiles. Pedophiles have no religion, no nationality and no faith.Recommend

  • Sona

    Brilliant, poignant and extremely heartbreaking. Love the way you’ve written it Recommend

  • Sona

    Brilliant, poignant and extremely heartbreaking. Love the way you’ve written it Recommend

  • hina

    Well Written..Recommend

  • Sane

    Can’t you Indians keep away from hating Muslims and religions other than Hindutwa. Irrespective to what topic and subject is you bring Mullah, Islam, Muslim and Pakistan. Look back at your home many more problems you have.Recommend

  • Sid

    Crimes and criminals have no religion. Slinging mud on a community for the deeds of few is not fair, neither right. This coming from a fellow hindu.Recommend

  • Saher