जलियाँवाला बाग में बसंत

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

Poetry

About The Author

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

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तेरे बिन ये पहला-दिन

Ikram Rajasthani

तेरे बिन ये पहला-दिन,
सूना-सूना निकला दिन।
सूरज किरनें धूप वही,
फिर भी बदला बदला दिन।
तेरे साये, ढूंढ़ रहा है,
कैसा है ये पगला दिन।
तनहाई के सन्नाटों में,
घूमा झुंझला-झुंझला दिन।
शाम तलक तड़पा यादों में,
फिर मुश्किल से सम्भला दिन।

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वीरों का कैसा हो वसंत

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

आ रही हिमालय से पुकार
है उदधि गरजता बार बार
प्राची पश्चिम भू नभ अपार;
सब पूछ रहें हैं दिग-दिगन्त
वीरों का कैसा हो वसंत
फूली सरसों ने दिया रंग
मधु लेकर आ पहुंचा अनंग
वधु वसुधा पुलकित अंग अंग;
है वीर देश में किन्तु कंत
वीरों का कैसा हो वसंत
भर रही कोकिला इधर तान
मारू बाजे पर उधर गान
है रंग और रण का विधान;
मिलने को आए आदि अंत
वीरों का कैसा हो वसंत
गलबाहें हों या कृपाण
चलचितवन हो या धनुषबाण
हो रसविलास या दलितत्राण;
अब यही समस्या है दुरंत
वीरों का कैसा हो वसंत
कह दे अतीत अब मौन त्याग
लंके तुझमें क्यों लगी आग
ऐ कुरुक्षेत्र अब जाग जाग;
बतला अपने अनुभव अनंत
वीरों का कैसा हो वसंत
हल्दीघाटी के शिला खण्ड
ऐ दुर्ग सिंहगढ़ के प्रचंड
राणा ताना का कर घमंड;
दो जगा आज स्मृतियां ज्वलंत
वीरों का कैसा हो वसंत
भूषण अथवा कवि चंद नहीं
बिजली भर दे वह छन्द नहीं
है कलम बंधी स्वच्छंद नहीं;
फिर हमें बताए कौन हन्त
वीरों का कैसा हो वसंत

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आज एक आकाश नीचे उतर आया

Dr. Omendra Ratnu

आज एक आकाश नीचे उतर आया
करने आच्छादित मुझे, मेरे उपरान्त भी,
अस्तित्व हुआ तरल झीनी चादर सा,
चित्त हुआ सरल, जो था कातर सा,
तन मन हुए भारहीन ,
निज पर की सीमा मिटी,
संकल्प विकल्प सारहीन ,
चेतना की सब धाराएं अंतर को प्रवाहित सी,
कुण्डलिनी ज्यूँ स्वयं की धुरी पर समाहित सी,
प्रेम बना दृष्टि, संवाद भी !
प्रतीक्षा बनी स्वभाव...
आज एक आकाश नीचे उतर आया...

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An Indian Love Song

Sarojini Naidu

HE

Lift up the veils that darken the delicate moon
of thy glory and grace,
Withhold not, O love, from the night
of my longing the joy of thy luminous face,
Give me a spear of the scented keora
guarding thy pinioned curls,
Or a silken thread from the fringes
that trouble the dream of thy glimmering pearls;
Faint grows my soul with thy tresses' perfume
and the song of thy anklets' caprice,
Revive me, I pray, with the magical nectar
that dwells in the flower of thy kiss.

SHE

How shall I yield to the voice of thy pleading,
how shall I grant thy prayer,
Or give thee a rose-red silken tassel,
a scented leaf from my hair?
Or fling in the flame of thy heart's desire the veils that cover my face,
Profane the law of my father's creed for a foe
of my father's race?
Thy kinsmen have broken our sacred altars and slaughtered our sacred kine,
The feud of old faiths and the blood of old battles sever thy people and mine.

HE

What are the sins of my race, Beloved,
what are my people to thee?
And what are thy shrines, and kine and kindred,
what are thy gods to me?
Love recks not of feuds and bitter follies,
of stranger, comrade or kin,
Alike in his ear sound the temple bells
and the cry of the muezzin.
For Love shall cancel the ancient wrong
and conquer the ancient rage,
Redeem with his tears the memoried sorrow
that sullied a bygone age.

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The Love Poem Unwritten

Prof Makarand Paranjape

The poem he wished to write began this way:
Is it come to this
That I am reduced to writing love poems
To you....
There he stopped. A heavy onus
Of unresolved emotions
Seemed to gag him.
He wished to say:
How ironic it was that separation
Had revived their love,
How she still defined his existence
By absence, as she had once done
Through her presence;
How distance generated intimacy,
So that now they were in love again.
And how corny, how odd, how unusual that felt.
Like nothing they'd felt before,
In fact, almost like in the movies,
Their romance was beginning to dramatize itself.
Yes, this was the intoxication
Of not just being in love,
But of being in love with being in love.
He wanted to say: I love you.
I love myself when I love you.
I love what you do to me.
I love what my love does to you.
When I think of us, there's a tremor
Not in my heart, but in the pit of my stomach,
It's a dull fire that spreads upwards,
From my loins. It's a hormonal high
When I remember how we lie side by side,
Naked, and how we make love.
Unlike the past, now we don't even need foreplay.
We are so hot just being next to each other.
And we are so serene when we join,
We even talk and smile.
But as I push into you, in, in, in,
All words are stuck in the throat.
I feel myself dissolving into you,
My self sinking lower and lower,
To vanishing point.
By entering you, I give you back to yourself.
There you are, your face flushed, but calm.
And then there's neither you nor me,
But only a warmth, throbbing and vital,
Which says: Love, love, love,
Or Om, Om, Om--just the primordial note.
We look at each other like this,
And an eternity passes away
As time forgets itself.
He wanted to say:
Now that we're apart once again,
I think, how strange it is to be in love
And to write about one's love,
To write poems to you,
Telling you how much I miss you,
How I am pining away,
And yet how delicious the pain is,
How exciting, inviting, welcome.
To reinvent language to say all this
To call back to oneself the sighs and tremors
Of love, to talk of your eyes and lips,
To celebrate your face, to get lost
In your fragrant tresses, to seek refuge
In the shade of your eyelashes, to praise
The softness and warmth of your touch,
To talk of the scent of your breath,
To remember your intimate gestures,
To cup your breasts in my hands
Like two panting doves,
To nestle my face between them,
And to remember all the noises you make,
And how you clown around, making faces,
And how we invent silly names for each other...
To talk about all this and much more.
In words, words, words, to project myself at you.
Then after this burst of verbal energy, fear:
To think that the person I am in love with
Is not you, but something that I have created myself,
An image of what I love. To think that I have made
An idol of you which in my loneliness I adore.
And how such love fills me with both
Ecstasy and dread, lest you interrupt these effusions,
Breaking through the image, declaring
Your real self, shattering the mirror of dreams.
How all this fits in with the poetry reading
In which I read love poems to you,
Thus becoming a poet in love,
Wooing you with my poems,
Making public our passion,
And in the process, making you my dream, my love, my muse,
Always passive, the recipient of all this homage,
The silent deity to which the priest-poet
Lights his lamps, pouring out his devotion.
And so the recurrent fear:
It's so easy to love one's own creation,
But how difficult to love a real person.
O God, how scared I am of loving you.
He wanted to write all this,
But how awkward and unconvincing it sounded,
And a silent onus seemed to gag him.
He felt saddened at his inability to love.
He thought: being in love is easy,
But to love someone so difficult.
He wondered if he could ever love,
If there was any hope for him,
If his heart heart would melt,
If he would be saved.
How important it was to find love:
It was the perfume of existence;
And life was arid without it.
He examined himself and his own life,
His compulsions to write,
To project things, to become something else,
To alter life, to change reality,
Always the drive, the ceaseless flow of words, words, words.
And now, the onus on his heart,
The inability to write, to express
His stirring love for his own wife,
The inability to force all this into words,
The fear of being found out as a liar,
The anxiety of being exposed and branded,
The dread of discovering his own changeability,
To find out, alas, that he couldn't, didn't,
Was unable to love, to love her.
At last he wrote:
There are those who love;
And there are others who only write poems.
It is you who love;
And I only write poems.
Did he then realize
The simple release of love
And the bitter doom of having to write only poems?

Poem from "The Serene Flame"
Read More at www.makarand.com

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प्रेम

आप और जी की सम्बोधन औपचारिकता से होते हुए
अर्द्धांगिनी और स्वामी तक के हमारे आत्मीय सफर में
मैंने जाना कि,
जीवन की तमाम अनिश्चिताओं और
वैचारिक भिन्नताओं के बावजूद
प्रेम, तमाम विसंगतियों को पार करते हुए
अंत में सरोवर में खिले कमल की भांति प्रतीत होता है :
मनोरम, मनोरम बस मनोरम।

लेखक परिचय:
उत्तर प्रदेश के बाँदा जिले के निवासी वैभव जी कुमार वैभव नाम से कविताएं लिखते है। वैभव जी ने अंग्रेजी साहित्य से पोस्ट ग्रेजुएशन किया है, और उन्हें सभी भाषाओं के साहित्य से प्रेम है।
@kumarvaibhav212

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आज उस पक्षी को फिर देखा

Kedarnath Singh

आज उस पक्षी को फिर देखा
जिसे पिछले साल देखा था
लगभग इन्हीं दिनों
इसी शहर में
क्या नाम है उसका
खंजन
टिटिहिरी
नीलकंठ
मुझे कुछ भी याद नहीं
मैं कितनी आसानी से भूलता जा रहा हूँ
पक्षियों के नाम
मुझे सोचकर डर लगा
आख़िर क्या नाम है उसका
मैं खड़ा-खड़ा सोचता रहा
और सिर खुजलाता रहा
और यह मेरे शहर में
एक छोटे-से पक्षी के लौट आने का विस्फोट था
जो भरी सड़क पर
मुझे देर तक हिलाता रहा।

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हजारों ख्वाहिशें ऐसी

Ghalib

हजारों ख्वाहिशें ऐसी कि हर ख्वाहिश पे दम निकले
बहुत निकले मेरे अरमाँ, लेकिन फिर भी कम निकले
डरे क्यों मेरा कातिल क्या रहेगा उसकी गर्दन पर
वो खून जो चश्म-ऐ-तर से उम्र भर यूं दम-ब-दम निकले
निकलना खुल्द से आदम का सुनते आये हैं लेकिन
बहुत बे-आबरू होकर तेरे कूचे से हम निकले
भ्रम खुल जाये जालीम तेरे कामत कि दराजी का
अगर इस तुर्रा-ए-पुरपेच-ओ-खम का पेच-ओ-खम निकले
मगर लिखवाये कोई उसको खत तो हमसे लिखवाये
हुई सुबह और घर से कान पर रखकर कलम निकले
हुई इस दौर में मनसूब मुझसे बादा-आशामी
फिर आया वो जमाना जो जहाँ से जाम-ए-जम निकले
हुई जिनसे तव्वको खस्तगी की दाद पाने की
वो हमसे भी ज्यादा खस्ता-ए-तेग-ए-सितम निकले
मुहब्बत में नहीं है फ़र्क जीने और मरने का
उसी को देख कर जीते हैं जिस काफिर पे दम निकले
जरा कर जोर सिने पर कि तीर-ऐ-पुरसितम निकले
जो वो निकले तो दिल निकले, जो दिल निकले तो दम निकले
खुदा के वास्ते पर्दा ना काबे से उठा जालिम
कहीं ऐसा न हो याँ भी वही काफिर सनम निकले
कहाँ मयखाने का दरवाजा 'गालिब' और कहाँ वाइज़
पर इतना जानते हैं, कल वो जाता था के हम निकले

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नया साल

Amrita Pritam

जैसे सोच की कंघी में से
एक दंदा टूट गया
जैसे समझ के कुर्ते का
एक चीथड़ा उड़ गया
जैसे आस्था की आँखों में
एक तिनका चुभ गया
नींद ने जैसे अपने हाथों में
सपने का जलता कोयला पकड़ लिया
नया साल कुछ ऐसे आया...
जैसे दिल के फिकरे से
एक अक्षर बुझ गया
जैसे विश्वास के कागज पर
सियाही गिर गयी
जैसे समय के होंठों से
एक गहरी साँस निकल गयी
और आदमजात की आँखों में
जैसे एक आँसू भर आया
नया साल कुछ ऐसे आया...
जैसे इश्क की जबान पर
एक छाला उठ आया
सभ्यता की बाँहों में से
एक चूड़ी टूट गयी
इतिहास की अँगूठी में से
एक नीलम गिर गया
और जैसे धरती ने आसमान का
एक बड़ा उदास-सा खत पढ़ा
नया साल कुछ ऐसे आया...

This is one of the rare examples in literature ushering in a new year with a resolute melancholy, written by Amrita Pritam, a prominent Punjabi poet.

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ये कौन आह जगी

Dr. Omendra Ratnu

मन के अनुसंधान समझ, शब्दों के परिधान पहन...ये कौन आह जगी ?
शीतलता से उत्तप्त, सभी स्मृतियों से विगत, क्षितिज पे जागती जोत सी ....ये कौन आह जगी ?
बोध के वर्तुल से मुक्त, मात्र चैतन्य से युक्त, जलाती उष्णता में हल्की बयार सी.... ये कौन आह जगी ?
स्वत्व को विस्तीर्ण करती, अहम् जीर्ण जीर्ण करती, माँ की फटकार सी ....ये कौन आह जगी ?
स्थित अपनी नग्नता में, निश्चिन्त अपनी मग्नता में , शिशु की किलकार सी...ये कौन आह जगी ?

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तू अब भी है

Dr. Omendra Ratnu

सब लुट गया तो क्या, तू अब भी है,
अँधेरी रातों में तेरी महक अब भी है !
टूटती नहीं ये खुमारी क्या करें,
वजूद में मेरे घुली मिली, तू अब भी है !
जानता हूँ खूब नज़र फिर गयी तेरी,
दिल की तन्हाईयों में मगर , तू अब भी है !
तेरे होने, ना होने से अब फ़र्क नहीं कोई,
इस आशिकी के जुनून में ,तू अब भी है !
दौर-ए-हिज्र में हालांकि हुए घायल,
एहसास-ए-शुक्रमंदी में, तू अब भी है !
तिजारत की दुनिया रखे हिसाब तेरा,
इश्क में आज़ाद तू तब भी थी , तू अब भी है

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आप बार बार आए

Dr. Omendra Ratnu

लौट के ना वहाँ से कोई इस पार आए,
पर इस दिवाली पे आप बार बार आए...
वो देरी से उठने पे मीठे उलाहने,
हर दस्तूर के हमको समझाना माने,
स्मृतियों की पालकी सपनों के कहार लाये,
इस दिवाली पे आप बार बार आए
वो मुहूरत में देरी पे जल्दी मचाना,
वो रूठे हुओं को मनाना हँसाना,
कितने भटके हुओं को उबार लाये
इस दिवाली पे आप बार बार आए।
वो बढ़ बढ़ के सबका पटाखे दिखाना
वो बहुओं का दिन भर यूँ खाने बनाना,
अब किसी को भी क्यूँ वो दुलार आए,
इस दिवाली पे आप बार बार आए।
वो भजनों की वाणी पे ध्यानस्थ होना,
वो डिंगल के दोहों का कंठस्थ होना,
कितनी बिगड़ी हुई बातें सुधार लाये,
इस दिवाली पे आप बार बार आए!

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One Cosmic Dance

Dr. Gaurav Mathur

Thought and its futility
Are seen
Desire and its pointlessness
Are seen
Fear and its subsidence
Are seen
The unwavering flame of attention
Engulfs all that is
Mind is still, void of content
Ego sinks back in quiet repose
To its source
All is as is
Naturally at ease
And the Self is all there is
A presence within and all around
The benevolent monarch
Calm and eternal
Patient and gentle
Soft and subtle
All-pervading, yet untouched
Creator, mover and destroyer
Of worlds upon worlds
Which are all but itself
Playing with itself
The raas of Krishna
And Shiva’s tandav
Are one cosmic dance
Of the unmoving Self

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I am not

Dr. Gaurav Mathur

Victim or victor
I am not
Friend or lover
I am not
Poet or philosopher
I am not
Seeker or seer
I am not
Thought or thinker
I am not
Experiencer or doer
I am not
Do not ask who I am
For I am not
I am not

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Sky Bird

Dr. Pariksith Singh

To fly
Is to be
The infinite space
To rise
Into openness
The vast opens as I
My love of transparence
Fills me now
To flesh and marrow
The journey upon my breast
Enters each cell
As the journey within
Each horizon
My new home
Where stillness is flight
And skin porous as space
The seeking of flesh
To be light
A bird of thought
Behind each background
Secretly preening
The gyre of each dream
Ascending higher
To the Great Bird
Can each bird
Winging through my pen
Escape the tyranny of word?
The expanse of flight
Caught within
A secret winging
And space too
Is turned into
The thought of a bird

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College Days

Prof Makarand Paranjape

In the grilled window overhead
Before ringing the bell
I see your face.
It is only love, nothing else.
You rush down the stairs
You hold my hand,
Your cheeks flushed with excitement.
It is only love, nothing else.
We sit on the lawn
In cushioned wicker chairs.
The night queen exudes its scent.
It is only love, nothing else.
You smile at me,
I lean over,
The world blurs out of focus again.
It is only love, nothing else.
At the sound of the car
We hastily disengage,
You rearrange your hair.
It is only love, nothing else.
* * *
Then, your parents suspect.
They inspect your mail,
They take counter measures.
It is only love, nothing else.
We meet elsewhere
Whispering in dingy cafes,
Under the waiter's suspicious gaze.
It is only love, nothing else.
Or else outside your college,
Or on a park bench,
Or in a shopping centre on a weekend.
It is only love, nothing else.
On your birthday, before the final exam,
You lie you're at a friend's place,
We meet in an expensive restaurant.
It is only love, nothing else.
In the dim light you say
We can't go on like this.
In silence I stare ahead.
It is only love, nothing else.
* * *
At last it is time to graduate.
You hold my last letter,
Now smudged, tightly to your chest.
It is only love, nothing else.
What will become of me, you wail,
My throat catches too,
The sari slips off your heaving breasts.
It is only love, nothing else.
In a flash, all the memories--
Letters, phone calls, innumerable meetings--
Dart by as we watch, helpless.
It is only love, nothing else.
You resist my caress, at first
But suddenly yield, with vehemence.
It is to be our last embrace.
It is only love, nothing else.
I leave town.
You settle down,
Marrying somebody else.
It is only love, nothing else.

Poem from "The Serene Flame"
Read More at www.makarand.com

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Getting Outside Patriarchy

Prof Makarand Paranjape

Our distances are intimate,
We grow vast in our silences.
In freedom we have blossomed,
Not having thwarted one another.
How unrestricted are our movements:
We have never tried to trim each other to size.
You come back, asynchronious,
Twisted by your concourse with others.
I react to your divergences.
How we have fought,
With no holds barred
Tearing at each other fiercely,
Until our brains nearly exploded.
Then, all anger spent,
Not one word or hit, left unstruck,
We gaze at each other mutely--
Astonished at the devastation
Each has wrought on the other.
Standing forlorn amidst the debris of our selves,
We heal, and once again
Stretch towards each other,
All our crooked places straightened.
We are the enemies of each other's egos
Ruthless in hunt;
Thus we destroy and recreate each other ceaselessly.
Yet our eyes talk and understand
The subtle signals of love,
The open smile of happiness
Wrapping the other in a warm embrace.
Indeed, our gestures are complete.
My curses have failed.
The blows that I struck you
Drained me of all violence.
Even memories have lost their sting.
Instead, eternal be my blessing
Overflowing all the harsh sayings,
Washing them away like loose dirt.
So go, you are not mine--
Prosper and flower wherever you are.
And yet stay,
Grow strong and straight
Like a companion eucalyptus,
Tall and elegant,
And restless in the breeze.

Poem from "The Serene Flame"
Read More at www.makarand.com

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Free Fall

Prof Makarand Paranjape

Let me forget myself momentarily
as the divine did itself when it made this
beautiful world of sound, light, and colour,
and peopled it with all kinds of creatures,
great and small, peaceful or violent.
So let me find myself completely in the object
of my desire, let my self be totally lost
in the other, let me thus become a woman,
and fall hopelessly in love with the man
in her. Let this love have no destination,
no hope of fulfilment or consummation;
let it be entirely futile, pointless, even
inconsequential. And let my heart be riven,
broken, crushed, scattered beyond all
retrieval or recognition, let all my poise
and self-control, my pride of manhood
be totally undone in this all-consuming
passion. O victory, I shall seek you
in my utter ruination, like a desperate
soul seeking solace in everlasting annihilation.
My obsession brooks no restraint or moderation;
I must be totally destroyed before I'm done,
no particle of me left safe or untouched.
I risk all to gain all; I am reckless in love
because I know that the one I love, after all,
is not I or you, but the lost whole of which
both are parts. I am willing to wager all
because I know that my love will be as safe
with you as it is with the Mother of God.

 

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सुकून

Ikram Rajasthani

ढूंढ़ता है आदमी, सदियों से दुनिया, में सुकून।
धूप में साया मिले, कमल जाये सहरा में सुकून।
छटपटाती है किनारों, पर मिलन की आस में
हर लहर पा जाती है, जाकर के दरिया में सुकून।
बेक़रारी है कभी, पूरे समन्दर की तरह,
और कभी मिल जाता है बस, एक क़तरे में सुकून।
ज़िन्दगी को इससे ज्य़ादा और क्या कुछ चाहिए?
लबस हो इक प्यार का, और उसके लमहात में सुकून।
हर सवाली चेहरे पे लिख़ी इबारत देखिए,
चैन है कि न आँखों में, और कौन से दिल में सुकून।
वो खुदा से कम नहीं लगता है, मुझको दोस्तो,
मेरे ख़ातिर माँगता है जो दुआओं में सुकून।
ये उसी दामन की भीनी खुशबू का एहसास है,
जो मुझे महसूस होता है हवाओं में सुकून।

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Zakhm phir se khula

Dr. Pariksith Singh

ज़ख्म फिर से खुला तो हुआ आईना
लहू की जगह बस एक शुआ आईना
तेरा ही अक्स झलकता था नज़रों में
दिल से उठती बस एक दुआ आईना

A wound opened again and became the mirror
In place of blood, a ray of light the mirror
Your reflection alone shimmered in my eyes
Only a prayer arising from my heart the mirror

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Faiz Ahmed Faiz: The Neo-Classicist

Dr. Pariksith Singh

Last night, your lost memories came to me
As spring steals into the wilderness
As the morning breeze skims the desert gently
As a patient finds solace without cause
These lines, among the peaks of Urdu poetry, are written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, widely considered as one of the greatest poets from the Indian sub-continent. Born in Sialkot, British India, in 1911, he stayed on in Pakistan after independence. A classical poet to the core, he extended the traditional idiom of Urdu poetry. Where in the past Urdu poetry was restricted to the Saaqi, the wine, roses and nightingales, he changed the concept of the divine wine-bearer to mean the social and political revolution which would bring justice, freedom and equality to the oppressed. For him love for the Saaqi became a call to arms to create a new world order based on the principles of liberty and fraternity. It is perhaps these opinions that got him in trouble with the authorities. Arrested for subversive activities twice in Pakistan, he spent about 5 years in prison between 1951 and 1959. Yet, this did not blunt his desire to speak on behalf of the underprivileged in various capacities throughout his life.
Faiz was Chief Editor of Pakistan Times, and later, Editor of Lotus magazine published by Afro-Asian Reuters Association. He was awarded the prestigious Lenin award by U.S.S.R. in 1962. In his day he was deemed one of the worthiest nominees for the Nobel Prize. That he did not win it is one of the gravest omissions in the history of the award. Faiz passed away in 1985.
He remains one of the most romantic poets in world literature, comparable to Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth or Tagore. However, what makes his poetry unique is how it moves effortlessly between romanticism and reality. One of his most famous poems, typical of his style, starts off in this manner:
Do not ask for love as before, my dear!
I had thought that if you are, life is light,
If you are sad, what quarrel is worth the world’s sadness?
Your face is the reason for spring in the Universe.
What else is there in the cosmos if not your eyes?
But as the poet realizes the harsh realities of life, he is forced to confront them and sing a different tune:
Life has more torments than love alone
And greater solace than being with the loved one.
Do not ask for love as before, my dear!
Faiz does not jar the reader’s sensibility with startling juxtapositions or shock the brain with post-modern effects, merely for the sake of it. Each line is measured, deliberate, refined, quiet. Yet, when he makes a transition from one thought process to another, the results could not be more striking, in part due to their subdued texture underlining a sharp contrast. In the example given above, we find a clear contradiction between two visions and compelling movements. One is the pull of the beloved; the other, the suffering of his people. Faiz does not scream, he whispers; when he speaks softly, you pay attention because of what he has to say, not solely because of how he says it.
He does not break rhyme or rhythm like free-verse poets. His images are apt and not arbitrary like Lorca. His music rings with compassion, subtlety, wit and innovation in its neo-formalism. If Ghalib was the Father of Urdu Poetry, Faiz, to my mind, is the Father of Modern Urdu Poetry.
Faiz is old but new, traditional but contemporary. His feelings are true and deep. Whether it is in dealing with his beloved or the masses, his is not rhetoric or high-pitched falsetto. One feels the presence of a genuine emotion, an individual concern growing so deep that it becomes universal. Faiz cannot be classified only as a communist, even though he was associated closely with the socialist movement; his empathy makes him a true bearer of his religion even though he seems irreligious on the face of it. His compassion rings true and cannot be restricted to a movement or philosophy.
Faiz loved his people and his land deeply. But he was not blinded by his love. Being a true humanist, he showed his appreciation for all peoples and lands. He was able to overlook the cultural and religious baggage that well-meaning people carry, especially when it came to the rivalry between India and Pakistan. That he remained as popular in India as in Pakistan is testament to his reach beyond borders.
For any student of Modern Poetry, Faiz remains extremely significant. He needs to be studied until he becomes a part of one’s blood. Faiz ranks among the great poets of any language. He is as great a peak as Tagore, Yeats, Neruda, Rilke, Eliot or Sri Aurobindo.
Classics never die. They grow as you mature and mature as you grow. The poetry of Ghalib or Tagore or Shakespeare or Faiz is immortal and worthy of being read again and again till it changes us for the better. Even in suffering, it sings of joy and hope.
Be close to me…my assassin, my beloved, stay close to me…
When the night moves, the dark night, having drunk the red blood of skies…
Laughing, singing, ringing the epileptic anklet of pain…
When the night moves, funereal and empty…
Stay close to me…

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ठुकरा दो या प्यार करो

Subhadra Kumari Chauhan

देव! तुम्हारे कई उपासक कई ढंग से आते हैं
सेवा में बहुमूल्य भेंट वे कई रंग की लाते हैं
धूमधाम से साज-बाज से वे मंदिर में आते हैं
मुक्तामणि बहुमुल्य वस्तुऐं लाकर तुम्हें चढ़ाते हैं
मैं ही हूँ गरीबिनी ऐसी जो कुछ साथ नहीं लायी
फिर भी साहस कर मंदिर में पूजा करने चली आयी
धूप-दीप-नैवेद्य नहीं है झांकी का श्रृंगार नहीं
हाय! गले में पहनाने को फूलों का भी हार नहीं
कैसे करूँ कीर्तन, मेरे स्वर में है माधुर्य नहीं
मन का भाव प्रकट करने को वाणी में चातुर्य नहीं
नहीं दान है, नहीं दक्षिणा खाली हाथ चली आयी
पूजा की विधि नहीं जानती, फिर भी नाथ चली आयी
पूजा और पुजापा प्रभुवर इसी पुजारिन को समझो
दान-दक्षिणा और निछावर इसी भिखारिन को समझो
मैं उनमत्त प्रेम की प्यासी हृदय दिखाने आयी हूँ
जो कुछ है, वह यही पास है, इसे चढ़ाने आयी हूँ
चरणों पर अर्पित है, इसको चाहो तो स्वीकार करो
यह तो वस्तु तुम्हारी ही है ठुकरा दो या प्यार करो

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The Looking Glass

Kamala Surayya

Getting a man to love you is easy
Only be honest about your wants as woman. 
Stand nude before the glass with him,
So that he sees himself the stronger one
And believes it so, and you so much more
Softer, younger, lovelier.
Admit your Admiration.
Notice the perfection
Of his limbs, his eyes reddening under the shower,
The shy walk across the bathroom floor,
Dropping towels, and the jerky way he urinates.
All the fond details that make him male 
And your only man.
Gift him all,
Gift him what makes you woman,
The scent of long hair,
The musk of sweat between the breasts,
The warm shock of menstrual blood,
And all your endless female hungers.
Oh yes, getting a man to love is easy, 
But living without him afterwards may have to be faced.
A living without life when you move around, 
Meeting strangers, with your eyes that gave up their search, 
With ears that hear only his last voice calling out your name
And your body which once under his touch had gleamed
Like burnished brass, now drab and destitute.

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