Independence Day Poetry

Akbar Barkzai’s Songs of Freedom

Akbar Barakzai’s poetry translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch


Before liberating the people
Let’s liberate ourselves first
We who are slaves of our centuries’ old feuds and malevolence
Slaves of our follies and sins; malice and greed
How could we liberate the people?

How could we liberate our laborers and peasants
Shepherds and fishermen?
Before liberating the people
Let’s liberate ourselves first!

Who Can Snuff Out the Sun? 
(In Memory of Ernesto "Che" Guevara)

Who can snuff out the sun? 
Who can suppress the light? 

In the realm of the dark night 
The night-birds proclaimed 
To have snuffed out the sun
They rejoiced and revelled in trance
With wine, songs and dance

Without the glorious light 
Without Phoebus Apollo
The primeval source of light, music and poetry
The Heaven and the Earth
The moon, stars and Pleiades
Will lose their way
Into the dark void of nothingness
Without the timeless Phoebus
Life's most handsome knight
Passion will lose its spark
The sea of music will go dry
And the songs of love fall silent
Without the ardent Adonis
Life's Aphrodite wouldn't survive for a moment
Nobody can ever dare to snuff out the sun
Or suppress the light
In the dark wilderness of the night 
The blind night-birds celebrated in vain 
The triumphant sun comes out every day
spreading its radiance trough out the world
Chanting ever so gracefully
"I'm Phoebus Apollo"
"I'm Ernesto Che Guevara"
"I'm Immortal"

Everywhere in the world
It unveils Ernesto's smiling face
With splendor and grace

Who can snuff out the sun? 
Who can suppress the light? 

For How Long?

For how long
Light will languish in captivity
In vales and dales death will roam free?
For how long
Life will remain in utter distress
Handsome youths keep falling to bullets
And mirror like hearts continue to shatter into shards
For how long?
For how long?
Light -- the very essence of freedom
Will not forever remain in prison
Life will not suffer distress
The serpent of tyranny will vanish evermore
The sapling of envy and hatred will wither away
This world of mankind will blossom
Into a garden of paradise
But who knows?
How many more years will it take?
How many more eons will it take?

Akbar Barakzai was born in Shikarpur, Sindh in 1939. 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.

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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