Anthems of Resistance: A Celebration of Progressive Urdu by Ali Husain Mir, Raza Mir

By Ali Husain Mir, Raza Mir

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By Ali Husain Mir, Raza Mir

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Jab yahaañ aaye the tum saudaagari ke vaaste Nau-e insaani ke mustaqbil se kya vaaqif na the? Hindiyoñ ke jism meiñ kya rooh-e aazaadi na thi? Sach bataao, kya voh insaanoñ ki aabaadi na thi? Apne zulm-e be-nihaayat ka fasaana yaad hai? Company ka bhi voh daur-e mujrimaana yaad hai? Loot-te phirte the tum jab kaarvaañ dar kaarvaañ? Sar barahna phir rahi thi daulat-e Hindostaañ Dastkaaroñ ke angoothe kaat-te phirte the tum Sard laashoñ se garhon ko paat-te phirte the tum San’at-e Hindostaañ par maut thi chaayi hui Maut bhi kaisi?

Jawaharlal Nehru, once the darling of the Progressives, received his share of the flak and was subjected to vitriolic criticism such as ‘Commonwealth ka daas ye Nehru, aur tabaahi laane na paaye’ (‘Let us ensure that Nehru, the slave-agent of the Commonwealth does not wreak any more havoc’). The disillusionment with the bourgeois nation-state was expressed in acerbic terms by Sahir in his poem titled ‘Chhabbees Janvary’ (26th January25): Aao ke aaj ghaur kareñ is savaal par Dekhe the hum ne jo, voh haseeñ khwaab kya hue?

Majaz in his poem ‘Inquilab’ (Revolution) composed in 1933 writes: Kohsaaroñ ki taraf se surkh aandhi aayegi Jabaja aabaadiyoñ meiñ aag si lag jaayegi ... Aur is rang-e shafaq meiñ ba-hazaraañ aab-o taab Jagmagaaega vatan ki hurriyat ka aaftaab A red storm is approaching from over the mountains Sparking a fire in the settlements ... And on this horizon, amidst a thousand tumults Shall shine the sun of our land’s freedom This influence is visible even in Iqbal’s poetry of this period, which included some unabashed odes to Lenin.

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