Categories
Stories

Fakir Khizmil & the Missing Princess

A Balochi folktale translated by Fazal Baloch

Balochistan. Courtesy: Creative Commons

Once there ruled a king over a certain land. In the outskirts of the land there lived a rich man. A few days later the rich man died leaving a huge sum of wealth and property behind. His widow made it to the palace and told the king: “My husband passed away a few days back leaving enormous wealth behind. I have no one to look after me except for my son. I fear I’ll be robbed off my property. I urge you to give me a place near your palace where I could live in peace and without fear”.

The king asked his men to find out if the woman was telling the truth. They reported back  that whatever the woman had told him was true. Her husband left her with enormously wealthy. The king, then, summoned her and asked her to live with them in the palace. He also told the woman that he would marry his daughter with her son when they were old enough. The woman was quite happy hearing this.

Time passed by.

The boy grew young and so did the king’s daughter. One day the woman went to the king and told him that she wanted to the marriage to take place. The king said that he had no objection whatsoever, but he asked her for a few days to make preparations. A few days later they were finally married. Along with jewels and fineries, the king also gifted a golden bowl to his daughter.

The groom took the bride to his house. One day, when the womenfolk were going to fetch water at a river near their home, the king’s daughter also expressed her desire to accompany them. They tried to convince her that as she was a princess, she should let them have the opportunity to serve her. But she was adamant and accompanied them. They filled their pots, washed their faces and started on their way back home. Midway through, the princess remembered that she had unmindfully left her golden bowl at the river. She excused herself and hurried back to the river.

When she reached the riverbank, she met four thirsty horsemen who stopped by to ask for a drink of water. She filled the golden bowl and offered it to the horsemen. He was struck by her beauty. Since she was alone, they rode beside her.

Meanwhile, the womenfolk waited for long, but the princess did not return. When they went to the river, there was no trace of her there. They told her mother-in-law about what befell her daughter-in-law. Initially she waited for her to turn up, but she did not return. She went out to search of her but could not find any clue. Later in the evening when her son came back, she started wailing and told her about the incident. Her son immediately went out looking for his wife but he too could not find any trace of her. As he went along the road, he noticed some strands of a woman’s hair and drag marks on the road. He followed the marks till he reached a town.

A few children were playing there. He asked one of the children whose son he was. The boy replied, “Fakir Khizmil”. 

“Where do you live?” he asked them.

“There.” They pointed towards a nearby house.

“Ask your father, a horseman has said, he would be your guest tonight.”

After covering some more distance, he was overwhelmed by thirst. He saw a woman was filling her jar at a nearby stream. He approached her and asked her for a bowl of water. Initially, the woman berated him but then she offered her water. He sat there to rest for a while. Then he coaxed/lured the woman into a conversation. Amongst other things, the woman revealed to him that their king had brought a beautiful maiden with a golden bowl from a distant land. The man felt relieved to have finally found news of his wife. He took leave of the woman and rode back to fakir’s.

The fakir’s meal used to be sent from the king’s palace. At night the young horseman noticed that someone had sealed her ring in the middle of the plate. He looked closely at it. It was his wife’s ring. Next day, he noticed the seal again on the plate. He secretly sent a message to his wife with the maidservant who delivered the food asking her to be ready so that he could rescue her and take her back that evening.

Meanwhile the fakir asked him about the purpose of his journey. He told him how the king took his wife away and how he had uncovered her traces. The fakir asked him:

“Is she ready to come with you?”

“Of course, she is. But I am wondering how to manage the escape as the king has a huge contingent of army and the swiftest horses in the land.”

“Don’t worry. Just ask her to take a goatskin bag full of water, a stone from the right corner of the house and a matchbox. The rest I will explain to you later.”

The next day, the maidservant told the young man that his wife was ready, and she had asked him to wait for her in the garden. When stars arrayed themselves across the night sky, she would come to him. The young man conveyed to her what the fakir had told him to do.

The fakir further advised him thus: “When you notice the king’s army approaching you, throw the stone at them. When you see them again drawing nearer, spill the water. Again, when you notice them drawing close to you, just light a matchstick and throw it towards them.”

Later in the evening he saddled his horse and made preparations for his departure. When stars had covered almost the whole sky, he secretly rode to the garden and waited for his wife. A later, she arrived carrying the goatskin bag, the stone and a matchbox. They mounted the horse and rode off.

At dawn, the king noticed the maiden was not in her bed. He knew she had fled. He commanded his men to find her and bring her back to the palace. He said: “Whosoever will bring her alive or her head, I will give that person half of my wealth”.

Numerous soldiers went in different directions looking for the woman.

Meanwhile, the young man and his wife noticed a group of horsemen were approaching them. The young man threw the stone towards them. It turned into a huge mountain standing between them and the king’s men. After covering some distance, again he saw another group of horsemen drawing close to them. He untied the mouth of the waterskin and spilled the water on the ground. The spilt water turned into a huge sea. Some of the horsemen drowned in the sea and the others turned back.

When they had drawn close to their land, the young man noticed some dust spiralling into the air. A few horsemen emerged out of the dust. By then, their horse had almost collapsed and it was barely moving forward.

The woman said: “Hurry up! We are almost surrounded.”

“Don’t worry,” said the young man. In that very moment he lit a matchstick and flung it towards the horsemen. A huge fire erupted around. The horsemen turned back and took to their heels.

Finally, the couple reached home and lived happily ever after.

(This tale is taken from Geedi Kessa-2(Folktales: Vol 2) compiled and retold by Mahmood Mari in Balochi and published by the Balochi Academy Quetta in 1969. Fazal Baloch has the translation rights for this. )

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.

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Categories
Stories

The Faithful Wife

A Balochi folktale translated by Fazal Baloch

Courtesy: Creative Commons

Once there lived a king who had a son. With the passage of time, the prince grew into a young man.  The king thought that before he shut his eyes forever, the prince should be married off. He expressed his desire to his son who responded with his choice. He wanted to marry a princess of a distant land. The next day, the king summoned his vizier and told him what the prince desired. Moreover, he said that he would pay as much dower as they asked for.

The vizier sent a messenger to the king for the purpose. The king gave his consent. The messenger returned to his country with the good news. The prince was married with great pomp and splendour. A few days after their marriage, the king brought his daughter-in-law to the palace. She was beautiful and well-mannered.

Days passed by. One day the king breathed his last and his son subsequently ascended the throne and became the king. But he loved his wife so much that he did not pay much attention to the affairs of his kingdom. At last, he abdicated his throne to live a happy and peaceful life with his beautiful wife. Soon he ran out of his wealth and become so poor that he had nothing left. A few days later his wife turned to him and said, “By sitting idle at home we will die of hunger. You should do something or engage yourself in a business”. He replied, “First, I can’t live without you. Separation from you will rend my heart. Second I’m not well-versed in any craft. There is however a desire in my heart to conduct some trade but I don’t have any capital for it”.

“Don’t worry I will finance you,” his wife told him.

“How come?” asked the husband.

“Take all my jewels and sell them off and bring me the sum you receive for them.”

The husband did what his wife had told him. The wife then advised him to buy goods with the money and board a ship. Thus he loaded the goods on a ship and returned to his wife and asked her, “What should I do next?”

She gave him a flower and said, “Whenever you feel sorrowful for me, just look at the flower. It will ease off your sorrows”.

He put the flower into his pocket, boarded the ship and set on his journey. After journeying for many days and night he finally landed in a distant country. He anchored the ship in the harbour. Meanwhile, the soldiers arrived and demanded duties. He paid the duty for the ship but surprised the soldiers saying that he had something else on him but neither was he going to pay any duty for it nor show it to them.

“How strange! What is it?” a soldier asked him but he refused to reveal.

When the soldiers continued to insist, he at last told them that it was the flower given by his wife. The soldiers took him to the king’s court and told the king about the flower he was keeping with him. The king turned to him and asked him sarcastically, “Oh, you think your wife is such a good woman that you can live by her token?”

“Yes, I think so” was his reply.

“If we produce your wife here at our court, what would you say?”

“If you think you can convince her to come here, I will give her to you”, he told the king. Then he turned to the court and said, “A man or two could go and try to persuade his wife to come.”

Two young men, one was king’s own son and the other was the vizier’s, presented themselves for the adventure. After making necessary preparations, they set out on their journey.

Meanwhile, the man sought permission to sell his goods. The king granted permission happily.

The king’s and vizier’s son traveled long and finally reached the city where the wife of the king who was now a merchant lived. There they ran into an old lady who invited them to her cottage. They asked the old woman to go to the merchant’s wife and tell her that the son of a king was desperate to see her. Initially she refused but when the prince gave her a sack full of gold coins, the old woman hurried to merchant’s wife and conveyed her prince’s message. At first she made excuses but when the old woman gave her no rest she at last said, “Ask the prince to visit me at night”.

The old woman told the prince what she had been told by the merchant’s wife. In the evening, the prince spruced himself up and took leave of his friend, the vizier’s son and left for his desired destination.

When he reached there, the woman pointed towards the bathroom and said, “Go there and refresh yourself. I do the same. Then we will have a conversation. We’ve a long night ahead”.

The moment the prince entered the bathroom, the woman locked the door from outside. Two days later, when the prince failed to return, the vizier’s son grew anxious about him. He wondered if someone had done him ill or he had gone somewhere. The next night he decided to see the woman and ask her about the prince. But when his eyes fell on her, he forgot the prince and thought that it would be a lucky hit if he managed to trick her.

He told her that he had been desperate to see her and would be much obliged if she would spare some moments to talk to him. The woman told him to do what she had asked the prince the other night. When he entered the bathroom she locked it from the outside. Now the prince and vizier’s son both lay locked in the bathroom. Six or seven days later she sent for a carpenter and asked him to make two giant sixed boxes in which a man could sleep easily. He also asked the carpenter to make two holes on the side of the each box.

The carpenter went off and made the boxes as she had ordered him. She then summoned two men who owned camels. She instructed them thus, “I have locked two men in the bathroom, put them in these two boxes, load them on the camels”.

When they were all done she asked the camel owners to follow her. She fed them water and food through the holes in the boxes. After travelling for many days and night, they finally reached the land of the king who wished to have her in his court. Upon reaching there, she rented a quarter and placed the two boxes there. She locked the house and went out. On her way to the city, she encountered the kotwal or the police chief of the city. He inquired her: “Who are you?”

“I am a courtesan”, she replied.

“Don’t you know courtesans are not allowed to move around freely in this city? I wouldn’t let you wander like this.”

“Is there any way that I could be spared?” She asked the kotwal.

“If you visit my home in the evening, I will let you go,” the kotwal put the condition before her.

“Of course I will come. This is what I do. But being a servant of the king you have always people around you. If any of your sentries or soldiers catches the sight of me, it will bring ruin to your reputation. I have rented a house in the corner of the city. It is better we meet there”.

Thus, the kotwal let her go.

The Imam of the mosque was the next she encountered. He asked her:

“Who are you?”

“I am a courtesan,” she replied.

“I seek refuge from the Holy Lord! Don’t you know such impure women are not allowed to roam freely in this city? I will take you to the king”.

“Please for God’s sake, let me go,” she pleaded.

“If you visit me in the evening I will let you go,” he told her.

“Of course, I will come. This is what I do. But as you are the Imam of the entire city, whether it is death or marriage people will come to you to perform the rituals. If someone saw me with you, it would tarnish your dignity and honor. I have rented a house in the corner of the city. It is better we meet there”.

Hence the Imam let her go.

She then ran into the vizier who inquired: “Who are you?”

“I am a courtesan”, she replied.

“The king has banned the movement of courtesans in the city. I will take you to the king”.

“Is there any way that I may be spared?” she asked the vizier.

“Yes, if you come at my home near king’s palace tonight, then I will leave you,” said the vizier.

“Of course, I will come. This is what I do. But as you are the vizier, if king sends someone for you and he happens to catches the sight me with you it will dent your dignity. I have rented a room in the city. It is better we meet there”.

The vizier agreed and let her go.

At last she bumped into the king himself. He asked her: “Who are you?”

“I am a courtesan,” she replied.

“In my kingdom sinful women like you are not allowed. I will put you in the prison”.

“I am a poor woman. Let me earn a livelihood. Take pity on me,” she pleaded.

“No, I can’t,” the king replied.

“Isn’t there any way that I may be spared?” she asked the king earnestly.

“Yes, there is but one condition. If you accept it I will let you go the very instant”.

“What is it”?

“If you come at my palace in the evening, I will let you go,” said the king.

“Of course I will. This is what I do. But as you are the king of the land, if someone saw me with you; it would stain your honour and esteem. I have rented a house in the corner of the city. It is better we meet there”.

Thus the king was agreed to see her at her house. He noted down the details of the location and told her that he would pay her a visit at her place that night.

The woman returned to her quarter. At dusk she cooked herself a dinner. She was just done with her meal when someone knocked at the door. She got up and opened the door. The kotwal was standing outside. She let him in. He had barely seated himself when someone again knocked at the door. The kotwal pleaded with the woman:

“For God sake hide me somewhere.”

“There is no such place in the house where I could hide you, but I have an idea,” replied the woman.

“What is the idea?” the kotwal instantly asked her.

“I will give you a sack of grain and you grind the content in the quern. Thus, nobody will suspect you”.

The kotwal agreed.

She opened the door and found the mullah standing outside. She welcomed him. The mullah had just started the conversation with the woman, when someone knocked at the door again. The mullah grew worried, and he begged to the woman saying: “Pray hide me somewhere”.

“There is no such place in the house where I could hide you but I have an idea”, replied the woman.

“What is the idea?” the mullah asked her trembling.

“You should bend down on your knees, and I will place the water-pitchers on your back,” said the woman.

The mullah consented and she placed two water-pitchers on his back and strolled out of the room.

She opened the door and let the vizier in. The vizier had barely stepped into the house, when there was a knock on the door again. The vizier turned to the woman and urged her: “Please hide me somewhere”.

“There is no such place in the house where I could hide you but I have an idea,”replied the woman.

“What is the idea?” The vizier asked her in an earnest voice.

“You should snuggle against the wall and I will place the lamp on your head. It will be dark beneath the lamp and nobody will notice your presence,” said the woman.

The vizier did what the woman told him. She placed the lamp on his head and left the room.

She opened the door and to her surprise she found the king himself standing before her. She courteously greeted him and conducted him into the house. Then she went and unlocked the two giant boxes. A moment later she excused herself and said: “Let me take a bath to refresh myself before I join you”.

The king granted her the permission, and she stole out of the door and started her journey back home.

Back in the house, the king kept waiting for her. When after a long time she failed to show up, the king decided to ask the maidservant who was grinding the grain. Hence he walked over there and he was astonished to discover that instead of a maidservant it was the kotwal grinding the grains. When the kotwal saw the king there he smiled and said: “Thank God! I’m not alone. His Majesty too has been tricked by the woman”.

The vizier also felt relieved and so did the mullah. The king said that since they had been tricked by the woman, they would take away the two boxes of the woman. The king went forward and opened one box and but instead of any finery or jewelry he found his own son lying in the box. The king lost his temper saying, “I spit on your face. You damn coward!”

The prince turned to his father and said, “I was made a captive away from home, but I curse you for you all have been tricked in your own kingdom.”

The king asked him about vizier’s son. The prince told him that he was lying in the next box. They all broke the door and sheepishly went to the merchant and sought his forgiveness for they couldn’t bring his wife into the palace. The king presented him a shipload of silver and gold.At last he reached his home. He felt very proud to have a clever woman as his wife who with her shrewdness not only protected her own honour but also did not let any stain spoil her husband’s dignity. Thus, she remained honoured and exalted in the eyes of both her husband and God.

(This folktale was originally featured in Balochi in Geedi Kessah-5, compiled by Mahmood Mari published by Balochi Academy Quetta in 1979. Fazal Baloch has the translation rights of this collection.)

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.

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Categories
Tribute

Akbar Barakzai’s Paean to Humanity

Poem by Akbar Barakzai, translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch

Akbar Barakzai (1939-2022)
WE ARE ALL HUMAN

Russia, China and India,
Arabs and the New World*,
Africa and Europe,
The land of the Baloch and Kurds --
Indeed, the whole world is ours.
We are all human.
We are all human.

Of blood and brotherhood,
We share common traits and ties.
Love is all we harvest.
On freedom our faith does rest.
Indeed, the whole world is ours.
We are all human.
We are all human.

A life free from strife,
A world blooming with 
Dreams and desires,
Happiness and delight --
This is all we seek.
Indeed, the whole world is ours.
We are all human.
We are all human.


From murderers and tyrants,
Like Genghis,
With our swords and soul,
We protect the beautiful Earth.
Indeed, the whole world is ours.
We are all human.
We are all human.

Together along with the downtrodden, 
The wretched of the Earth,
We shall wage a war 
Against brutes of the world,
And for truth we shall lay our lives.
Indeed, the whole world is ours.
We are all human.
We are all human.

With the stars of our blood,
Like our beloveds, we shall adorn
The night-bitten cities and valleys.
The dark night will vanish forever.
Indeed, the whole world is ours.
We are all human.
We are all human.

The sun will rise from our blood,
the prophet of glory will appear,
The night will pass into dawn --
There will be happiness everywhere.
Indeed, the whole world is ours
We are all human.
We are all human.

*By the New World, the poet means the continents of Americas and Australia.

Akbar Barakzai (1939-2022) was born in Shikarpur, Sindh. 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 managed to bring out just two anthologies of his poems, 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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Categories
Poetry

You & I by Munir Momin

Translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch

 YOU AND I

The flames of our existence
cannot scorch us.
At times a patch of cloud 
sails overhead
(we are all dead forests)
in a dead forest
when ecstasy strikes 
the heart of a forlorn tree.

Where can it go?
How far can a tree move, after all?
 
We haven't seen our face yet.
We haven't found our homes yet.
All roads and trails burnt to ashes before our eyes.
All homes and abodes
reflected in the false glow of a mirror,
disappeared
into haze and dust…
 
The wind asked me,
where have the clouds vanished
for kites have invaded the sky?
We can't hear the whispers of doves
nestled within us.
All hail to us!
For we didn't die of our own thirst.
 
Tomorrow,
when we are gone
to the bottom of many vessels,
our agony will settle.
After all it's not the agony
that shaped our solitude.
We, who couldn't die of our own thirst, wonder
how come this grief makes us perish?
 
Once we are gone,
the wind might not whisper with our wounds,
the rain might not cleanse the naked body of our solitude.
The fire of our own existence
will not scorch us!

Munir Momin is a contemporary Balochi poet widely cherished for his sublime art of poetry. Meticulously crafted images, linguistic finesse and profound aesthetic sense have earned him a distinguished place in Balochi literature. His poetry speaks through images, more than words. Momin’s poetry flows far beyond the reach of any ideology or socio-political movement. Nevertheless, he is not ignorant of the stark realities of life. The immenseness of his imagination and his mastery over the language rescues his poetry from becoming the part of any mundane narrative. So far Munir has published seven collections of his poetry and an anthology of short stories. His poetry has been translated into Urdu, English and Persian.  He also edits a literary journal called Gidár.

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.

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Categories
Poetry

Mahnu by Atta Shad

Balochi Poem by Atta Shad, translated by Fazal Baloch

Atta Shad: Photo provided by Fazal Baloch

Atta Shad (1939-1997) is the most revered and cherished modern Balochi poet. He instilled a new spirit in the moribund body of modern Balochi poetry in the early 1950s when the latter was drastically paralysed by the influence of Persian and Urdu poetry. Atta Shad gave a new orientation to modern Balochi poetry by giving a formidable ground to the free verse, which also brought in its wake a chain of new themes and mode of expression hitherto untouched by Balochi poets. Apart from the popular motifs of love and romance, subjugation and suffering, freedom and liberty, life and its absurdities are a few recurrent themes which appear in Shad’s poetry. What sets Shad apart from the rest of Balochi poets is his subtle, metaphoric and symbolic approach while versifying socio-political themes. He seemed more concerned about the aesthetic sense of art than anything else.

Shad’s poetry anthologies include Roch Ger and Shap Sahaar Andem, which were later collected in a single anthology under the title Gulzameen, posthumously published by the Balochi Academy Quetta in 2015. The translated poem is from Gulzameen.

Mahnu, you envy of the moon,
I am a wretched of the earth.
My existence is like a dry and barren field.
Lightning scorched it to ashes.
Facing the wrath of the frigid winters,
Forever thirst-stricken,
Eyes seek the sea of fragrant clouds
At the far and unbeknownst threshold of hope.
May the rain of sublime hailstones set the dry field afire.
May there remain no cluster of marrying clouds 
at the far end of the horizons. Nor any desire 
in the hearts of waiting maidens.

Mahnu, envy of the moon,
You're oppressed by the night.
I'm a wretched of the earth.
Like you,
I too am lost in the fathomless expanse of loneliness.
Milky-way illuminates your path,
And mine is dark without a star.
Moonlight is the ecstasy of your beauty's wine,
I'm nothing but a sigh.
Like melody everywhere echo the words of your command,
I've shrunk like a suppressed call.
A world yearns for you.
A fake hope is all my life hinges upon.
You soar high like a lover's imagination.
I'm humble like wisdom.

Mahnu, envy of the moon,
Granted you are light, 
I'm ash and dust.
Yet, if I survive not these fathomless days and nights
Woes and torments of life,
Then, think awhile,
Who in the world 
Will write the songs extolling you?

Mahnu, you envy of the moon,
I am a wretched of the earth.

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 of Atta Shad from the publisher.

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Categories
Poetry

Shorter Poems of Akbar Barakzai

Translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch

Unfinished Song

Mankind is a beautiful song,
A song unfinished as of yet

Heart and soul of the sacred earth
to conscience it gives voice 

It’s each word and each rhyme
like flowers soft and sublime

A heavenly wine in Nature's cup
like morning breeze it does chime

Someday 'twill touch its finest note
‘twill survive the tides of time

Bestowed by the Mother Nature
A blossom that lasts forever


Not Forever

The rule of chains and fetters
Will last only for today not forever
The age of tyranny and oppression
Will last only for today not forever
All these wealth and riches will liquidate soon
This loot, pillage and plunder
Will last only for today not forever


Motherland

Even if like a wasteland
it’s all burnt and blazed,
Motherland is but motherland.
I crave not for the land of the sun
and its flowing rivers of light,
Even if it's dark like a dungeon
Motherland is but motherland.

The Anguished Sigh 

The restless sigh! 
Lay trapped in my collapsed chest 
May you become a little songbird 
And in every sad heart find yourself a nest 


Distracted Youth

O, you, the distracted youth!
Why you lament on the shore
Go ahead and embrace the tides
Wherein lies life’s lore

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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Categories
Author Page

Akbar Barakzai

Akbar Barakzai (1939-2022) was born in Shikarpur, Sindh. 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 managed to bring out just two anthologies of his poems, 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.

Interview

In Conversation with Akbar Barakzai, a ‘Part-time Poet’ in Exile

‘The East and the West are slowly but steadily inching towards each other. Despite enormous odds “the twain” are destined to “meet” and be united to get rid of the geographical lines…’

Click here to read.

Poetry

  1. The Word: Click here to read
  2. Waiting for Godot: Click here to read
  3. The Law of Nature: Click here to read
  4. No: Click here to read
  5. Freedom: Click here to read
  6. Who can Snuff out the Sun: Click here to read
  7. For How Long: Click here to read
  8. Be & It All Came Into Being: Click here to read
  9. Mysteries of the Universe: Click here to read.
  10. Shorter Poems of Akbar Barakzai: Click here to read.
  11. We are All Human : Click here to read.

All his poetry has been translated by Fazal Baloch who has the rights to their translation.

Categories
Poetry

The Beloved City

Poetry of Munir Momin, translated from Balochi by Fazal Baloch

Munir Momin is a contemporary Balochi poet widely cherished for his sublime art of poetry. Meticulously crafted images, linguistic finesse and profound aesthetic sense have earned him a distinguished place in Balochi literature. His poetry speaks through images, more than words. Momin’s poetry flows far beyond the reach of any ideology or socio-political movement. Nevertheless, he is not ignorant of the stark realities of life. The immenseness of his imagination and his mastery over the language rescues his poetry from becoming the part of any mundane narrative. So far Munir has published seven collections of his poetry and an anthology of short stories. His poetry has been translated into Urdu, English and Persian.  He also edits a literary journal called Gidár.

The Beloved City

Bemoan not the silence.
You are still a new arrival here, 
Your colour' still brighter than this city’s trees 
No one will talk to you yet. 
Once the city’s poison 
Seeps into your veins and fades away, 
A relationship will blossom 
And then the city will converse with you. 

Look at me, 
I’ve travelled all my life 
Still my questions remain thirsty for an answer 
And dry are the eyes of these stagnant clouds. 
If you seek life here,
Look for a few graves on the city’s outskirts 
Which are not ruined yet.
On these graves, 
Some flowers have blossomed 
They often whisper to each other 
And there are a couple of pigeons 
Whose eyes well up at times, otherwise, 

The inhabitants of this city are the kind of people 
Who right at the time of their death
Drifted off to sleep.
When they woke up, 
The battler was over 
And the caravan’s dust had settled. 

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.

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PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Poetry

The Mysteries of the Universe by Akbar Barakzai

Balochi Poetry by Akabar Barakzai, translated by Fazal Baloch

Mysteries of the Universe

I wonder if mountains smile
If the wind gets hungry
If clouds too have a mind
I wonder if ants wash themselves
If flowers have any sight
If colours breathe

I wonder if the sun also feels thirsty
If the moon stretches out for a yawn
If fire ever becomes pregnant 
If water dreams any dream

I wonder if stones, pebbles and gravels
Pass through childhood, youth and old age?
I wonder if beads and pearls are passionate for one another
If fish and birds compose songs
I wonder if there exist such walls
Which have no ears at all
If dead can also see us from their grave
If they laugh at us
If days and nights have tongues
If they mourn for others
I wonder if clouds too burst forth in the heavens
If flowers and trees also tie the knot
If river, lake and sea feel grief and pain
If stars and Pleiades have heart, eyes and ears
I wonder if Mars and Venus know of friendship and poetry
I wonder if the earth has ever fallen in love
If it has endured any pain and anguish
I wonder if anyone can unravel the enigmas
Embedded in Akbar's verse
The mysteries of the universe

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.

.

PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL

Categories
Poetry

Be And It All Came Into Being

Balochi poetry by Akbar Barakzai, translated by Fazal Baloch

Folio from an `Aja’ib al-Makhluqat (Wonders of Creation) of Qazwini (late 16th century).Courtesy: Creative Commons
Be and it All came into Being
(A Poem for Atta Shad*)

The heavens and the earth 
The moon and the sun 
Stars, galaxies and clouds
Space and spacelessness
Indeed the entire creation
God created all in just seven days 
All praise be to God!
 
On the seventh day 
Tired of hard labour 
He thought of heavenly delights
Of fair damsels and houries
Thus hurried to the garden of paradise 
All praise be to God!

’Tis not all His fault 
If unaware He is of worldly woes and worries 
Of the agony of love and longing
Of the harsh nights of hunger and famine
'Tis not his fault if He is unaware
Of the monsters of tyranny and suppression     
Ours is a world too far from Him
Let us not disturb Him in His heavenly abode
He must have other more important things on His mind
May the curse of Allah befall these blasphemous thoughts!
Indeed how would Akbar, a mere minion of God
Know His never ending mysteries!
A mere poet and wordsmith 
He seeks His forgiveness
All praise be to God!

*Atta Shad (1939-1997) is one of the most cherished modern Balochi poets.

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 Sunand 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.

.

PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL