Stories about poem

105 years later, Allama Iqbal’s Shikwa and Jawabe Shikwa are still raising significant existential questions

Kyun ziaan kaar banun, sood framosh rahoon Fikr-e-farda na karun, mahw-e-ghum-e-dosh rahoon Naale bulbul ke sunoon, aur hama tan gosh rahoon Hamnawa, main bhi koi gul hoon ke khamosh rahoon Jurrat aamoz miri taab-e-sakhun hai Mujh ko shikwa Allah se khakam badahan hai mujh ko (Why should I play the part of the loser and refrain from seeking what I can gain? Why shouldn’t I think of the future, instead of mourning the losses of the past? Why should I listen to the woes of the nightingale? My friend, I am not a flower who will remain silent It is truly my poetic ability that gives me the courage ...

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The endless fascination of a window

Windows are fascinating. Many adventures have started with a gaze, a deep alley, a train station, or an intriguing stranger. We all share the secret hope that there is something better, across the river or over the hill. A universal wish, that we were out there somewhere, and not on this side of the window. Yes, windows are fascinating. Why else do we, as schoolchildren, stare out at the sky, yearning for the bell signalling the end of class? Cradling our chins in our pulpy hands, we looked out a pane of glass and let our imagination drift as we awaited the ...

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The silence that kills us

Perhaps it isn’t the discomfort of the narrow streets which makes liberty unbearable for us, It isn’t the sharp scents of sweat which disgust us, It isn’t the crowd which suffocates us, In fact, it isn’t the noise, the crowd or the obvious lack of quality in products, It’s the silence.   The unsaid hush when I turn to speak up to the unwanted hands up my clothes, The constant background whistles of frustrated middle-aged men, It’s the toxic masculinity which suffocates us, The vulnerability when your body turns into a canvas, Painted by obnoxious stares, Held by unholy hands.   It’s the desensitisation, the normalisation, the silence, The echoes of shameless name ...

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A father’s ode to his daughter on her wedding

As I walked you down the aisle holding your hand, It reminded me of a time when I once waited at the other end, Eyes affixed on the beautiful bride approaching me, Counting each second for the perfect moment to engulf me, I never saw the pleading eyes of the person giving away my bride, Otherwise, I would have the consolation that this was a customary ride, With bitter happiness I saw your groom waiting to receive you, Watching you with love not even a quarter of what I have for you, My eyes moistened, my throat went dry, My heartbeat became faster as I resisted to cry, Pleading ...

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The woman with hands of gold

I always gushed about how my Mother’s hands were beautiful; though, all wonder had ceased as I realised… Her hands tenderly held my vulnerable self as I opened my eyes in this big-bad world; her face comforted me, there was an angel in this world Allah had sent me down to, I was in safe hands. Her hands determinedly raised me to my tiny feet, every time I fell to the ground in the attempt to walk; her will to support me still gives me strength from then till today. Her hands would swiftly push my swing as she pointed towards the ...

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My birth was an ill-fated ugliness

The kiss from the scorching sun was now a routine, For there was no shelter that could block it from me; Ugliness not just defined my face, As my birth was no less than an ugly fate.   Amidst the chaotic environment, I was trained, And repeatedly told that it was no shame, Because survival on your own is something only the bold can do, And if I resist, then society would crumple me, like a toy of play dough.   The countless tears I hid silently, Were considered useless and unworthy. The smile I gave with a one clap gesture, Had unknowingly become my unique signature.   A thick coat of red ...

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If you don’t ask why…

I request a reply. Dad, please tell me, Why Is the earth not flat? Oh, I don’t know that! Why do bears hibernate? Well, that’s out-of-date! Why is the sun so hot? I’m sorry, I forgot!   Where do the trade winds blow? Come on, you should know! Do you know how TVs work? Let me call Mr Burke! Or how the seasons change? That’s out of my range!   What is the sense of smell? Quite difficult to tell! The capital of France? No, I don’t stand a chance! The speed of light? Your science teacher might!   Any clue of aerosol? It’s quite hard to recall! Any Indian folklore? I knew one before! The length of lunar years? I’ll break into tears!   Why a panda bear hides? The cause of ...

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Ignorance is bliss!

My friend, I do not wish to know, And I’m in no mood, To think of global warming, Or pesticides in food.   Hardwood forests in decline, Endangered pink frogs. Salt or freshwater wetlands, Fast vanishing bogs. Illiteracy, hunger, AIDS, Tsunami, hurricane. Inflation or unemployment, Worrying is in vain.   Dwindling water resources, Or poaching elephants. By God, I’ve no patience for, Futile raves and rants. Let others lead the world from front, For admirable feat. I’ll lead the horde from behind, To a hasty retreat!   I love my unawareness, Ah! Ignorance is bliss! Don’t interrupt my cricket game, I don’t want to ...

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Remembering Ahmad Faraz: Do not murder the voices

The 87th birthday of one of Pakistan’s most beloved poet – who was also a resistance poet par excellence – the legendary Ahmad Faraz, was celebrated on January 12th. The honour of both the Pakhtuns and Urdu-speaking community, I was lucky to hear him recite his famous poem ‘Muhaasra’ (siege) in one of his last public appearances in Karachi back in 2008. He joined the immortals soon afterwards on August 25, 2008. To pay tribute to his memory, here I am sharing my translation of one of my favourite Faraz poems, “Mat Qatl Karo Aavaazon Ko” (do not murder the voices), which it seems ...

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“Desi Website”– Indulge yourself! There is no shame

Surfing aimlessly late at night, I came across a cool website, Where feeble hearts remain unseen, Modest are few and far between.   Where every topic always leads, An attack on someone else’s creeds. To hurl insult just take a pick: Christian, Hindu, Muslim or Sikh.   You meet chest-thumping fanatics, Old-fashioned mullahs, liberal chicks. Imposing on adversary’s mind, The likes and dislikes of their kind! And all are free to blow their lids, Till wisdom dims, and reason skids.   Most favorite sight? The view of rear, The world revolves around Kashmir. Check out, my dear friends, tonight, With Google search “Desi Website”. Indulge yourself! There is no shame, Just hide behind a ...

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