understanding punjabi poetry …

When there was no Net, no Google and no Facebook, there were books to give me company if I was not feeling well. Now even a small fry on the lowest rung of the family of androids does all that.
So the sob story is, I am not well and since my colds are never a small affair, I am in the company of poets and their creative works these days. Propped against the pillows I lose myself in poetry – checking Websites, blogs and personal pages. Yesterday I saw that Shakeel Ahmad Tahiri has a new poem on his wall. First read was difficult. But slowly it started dawning on me . After a few more readings, I was ready to test if I had understood what I was reading and enjoying.

To be honest, I cannot say that I know the language fully and have accessed the heart of this poem. Maybe,  it is not exactly what the poet experienced and then expressed his angst in words. But I can at least say that as limited as my vocabulary of the language is, I still found it vivid, expressive and true picture of a
certain segment of life. I would call it the modern day society and it’s social fabric.

I marvel at the poet’s mastery over the Punjabi language. He has a treasure trove of words and he has a
way to make them submit to his thoughts. He is a creator to the core! …. کوئی خیال ذہن میں آتا ھے
اور الفاظ ہاتھ باند ھے ، شاعر کی سوچ کو اپنے اندر سمونے کے لیئے حاضر ھو جاتے ھیں۔
میں ایک بار پھر کہوں گی کہ مجھے ہرگز ایسا کوئی دعو یٰ نہیں کہ میں ان کی باتوں اور ان کے خیالات کو بعینہ دوسری زبان میں
منتقل کرنے کی صلاحیت رکھتی ھوں۔ ممکن ھے یہ میں خود اپنے لیئے کرتی ھوں ایک
– امتحان کی طرح کہ جو میں نے پڑھا وہ کہاں تک سمجھ پائی

Here is Tahiri sahab ‘s fine, creative work and then read my attempt at understanding it.

اج کل ساہنوں نہ ھی چھیڑو تے چنگا اے
شکیل احمد طاہری

وٹے ہوئے آں ویکھ ویکھ کے رونیاں شکلاں
اکے ھوئے آں لک چھپ ھندیاں ٹوکاں کولوں
اکھڑ گئے آں سن سن اوھو ای تھکیاں گلاں
تھک جئے آں نتت دیاں اینہاں روگاں کولوں
بھل جئے گئے آن رستہ کوئی اوں نوں جاندا
لنگھ جیہے رئے آں گواچےہوئے چونکاں کولوں

Better you stayed away from me these days!
By Shakeel Ahmd Tahiri

All around I only see sullen and gloomy faces and that irritates me
I feel weary of those who hide behind their snide remarks, thinking I do not get it
the cliche’, the same old stories they tell, make me feel nauseous
I feel so tired like I get a new affliction every new day
I sometimes feel I have lost my way to where I wanted to be
like walking undecided past the forgotten crossroads.

3/15/2017
Orlando

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