(Pakistani poet, human-rights activist and feminist, Fahmida Riaz, passed away at the age of 72 on November 22, 2018. We are publishing below the English translation of one of her oft-quoted nazms, “Tum bilkul hum jaise nikle”.)
So it turned out you were just like us!
Where were you hiding all this time, buddy?
That stupidity, that ignorance
we wallowed in for a century
Look, it arrived at your shores too!
Many congratulations to you!
Raising the flag of religion,
I guess now you’ll be setting up Hindu Raj?
You too will commence to muddle everything up
You, too, will ravage your beautiful garden.
You, too, will sit and ponder,
I can tell preparations are afoot,
Who is truly Hindu, who is not.
I guess you’ll be passing fatwas soon!
There, too, it will become hard to survive.
There, too, you will sweat and bleed.
You’ll barely make do joylessly.
You will gasp for air like us.
I used to wonder with such deep sorrow,
And now, I laugh at the idea,
It turned out you were just like us!
We weren’t two nations after all!
To hell with education and learning
Let’s sing the praises of ignorance
Don’t look at the potholes in your path
Bring back instead the times of yore!
Practice harder till you master
the skill of always walking backwards.
Let not a single thought of the present
break your focus upon the past!
Repeat the same thing over and over
over and over,
Say only this:
How glorious was India in the past!
How sublime was India in days gone by!
Then, dear friends, you will arrive
in heaven after all.
Yep. We’ve been there for a while now.
Once you are there,
Once you’re in the same hell-hole,
Keep in touch and tell us how it goes!
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