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Poetry

The Law of Nature by Akbar Barakzai

Akbar Barakzai was born in Shikarpur, Sindh in 1938. He is ranked amongst the proponents of modern Balochi literature. His poetry reflects the objective realities of life. Love for motherland, peace and prosperity and dignity of a man are the recurrent themes of his poetry. His love for human dignity transcends all geographical and cultural frontiers. Barakzai is not a prolific poet. In a literary career which spans over half a century, Barakzai has brought out just two anthologies of poetry, Who can Kill the Sun and The Lamps of Heads, but his poetry has depth and reaches out to human hearts with its profundity. Last year, Barakzai rejected the Pakistan Academy of Letters (PAL) award, quoting  the oppressive policies meted out to his region by the government as the reason.

The Law of Nature

(First Voice)

Come, you the riff-raff evildoer!
Hearken to what I utter

You are my slave 
I am your Master
You are homeless
At my feet are forts and palaces
You are homeless 
I’m the lord of power and puissance 
You are destitute and famished
I am rich and affluent

I am wise and prudent, you are brainless
I am the man of might, you are weak and frail
I'm the owner of large estates and orchards
Irksome is your existence in this world
I’m the master
You are my subject

Of faith and the divine book
Guidance I always seek
You are a wayward heretic
I am pure, you are filth
I am strong, you are meek

Have you ever pondered?
On the law of nature
Always subdued in the world
Are the weak and vulnerable 
A shark preys on little herrings
The lion hunts the ibex
Birds and locusts are the falcon’s prey

History bears witness
Always favours the fittest
Throne and crown,
Glory and pride. Discern! 
In rebellion
You’ll gather only humiliation
I am powerful, you are powerless
I am the master, you are the subject

(Second Voice)

Granted, you are the master
Proud, rich and affluent
I am miserable and poor, 
Pious jurists and clerics
Your companions and cohorts
I am but a sinner and transgressor

True you are the mighty overlord
I'm just a wretched slave
But listen you to me --
I’m also a man, a descendant of Adam
No matter how much you oppress me
I wouldn't accept your law of nature
A pretext of my subjugation
No matter how mighty you are
No matter how weak and frail I am.

Fazal Baloch is a Balochi writer and translator. He has translated many Balochi poems and short stories into English. His translations have been featured in Pakistani Literature published by Pakistan Academy of Letters and in the form of books and anthologies. Fazal Baloch has the translation rights to Barakzai’s works and is in the process of bringing them out as a book.

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