Akbar Barakzai’s poetry translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch
Freedom 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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