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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