Saturday, October 23, 2010

Read This Poem

If I wanted to be ultra cynical, I would respond to the poem that I am posting, that the quality of the music, poems and art that came out of Pakistan are mediocre. But when you had Zia-ul-Haq (in response to who's time this was written), who's basic attitude was that democracy should be banished from Pakistan, on the grounds of it being "un-Islamic", the fact that there are any arts coming out of Pakistan is still kind of surprising for those who understood the repression of that era. Zia's attitude towards the arts can be represented by the anecdote of the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, where he saw a funeral being held for music in his austere kingdom, and quipped, "Bury it so deep that it never rises again". In the vein of that ideology, I present to you Fakhar Zaman:

How can he who lost his eyesight paint?

How can he who lost his hands sculpt?

How can he who lost his hearing compose music?


How can he whose tongue was cut out sing?


How can he whose hands are tied write poetry?


How can he whose feet are fettered dance?


With muffled nose and mouth how can one inhale the scent of flowers?


But all this has really happened:


Without eyes, we painted,


Without hands, we sculpted statues,


Without hearing, we composed music,


Deprived of a tongue, we sang


Handcuffed, we wrote poetry,


With fettered legs, we danced


And the fragrance of flowers pierced our muffled mouths and nostrils.


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