Punjabi Poetry: Ustad Daman

Trans.daman

Written by Randeep Purewall

Ustad Daman (né Chiragh Din) was born in Lahore in 1911. As a boy, he worked at his father’s tailoring shop while also attending school. Daman learned classical Punjabi poetry at home and was educated in Urdu. He also learned Persian and English including Shakespeare, Keats and Hardy.

Having participated in school poetry recitals, Daman began attending musha’ara in the parks, fairs and bazaars of Lahore as a teenager during the 1920s. The movement for India’s independence had already begun. In 1929, the Indian National Congress made its Declaration of Independence from Lahore. The city was also home to Marxist groups like the Kirti Kisan and anti-colonial and revolutionary groups like the Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.

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Daman recited his own revolutionary and anti-colonial poetry at the musha’ara. While attending one such gathering, Jawaharlal Nehru referred to Daman as the “Poet of Freedom.”

‘In China the Chinese are grand,
In Russia they do as they have planned.
In Japan its people rule over its strand.
The British rule the land of England,
The French hold the land of France,
In Tehran the Persians make their stand.
The Afghans hold on to their highland,
Turkmenistan’s freedom bears the Turkmen’s brand,
How very strange is indeed this fact,
That freedom in India is a contraband’
(Trans. F. Sharma)

Daman remained in Lahore upon the creation of Pakistan in 1947. The riots of the Partition had consumed his shop and library and he lost his wife and son to illness. His first act of political defiance came in 1958 when he made fun of Pakistan’s first military coup under Ayub Khan. Daman’s arrest however did little to temper his criticism of Pakistan’s military dictatorships and the corruption of its civilian governments in his poetry.

Daman wrote in Punjabi and the form, rhythm and metaphor of his poetry bears the influence of the classical and folk Punjabi tradition. If he could be sober and thoughtful in writing on the Partition, he could also adopt a more comic and satirical note in criticizing General Zia. He maintained a friendship with poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Habib Jalib, but lived unassumingly in an old apartment in the precinct of the Badshahi Mosque.

Daman died in 1984. His poetry was published after his death by his friends and followers. The room he lived in near the Badshahi Mosque has since become an academy in his name.

Selected Poems (Trans. F. Sharma)

We may not say it but know it well
You lost your way. We too.
Partition has destroyed us friends.
You too, and us.
The wakeful have quite plundered us.
You slept the while, and we.
Into the jaws of death alive
You were flung. We too.
Life still may stir in us again:
You are stunned yet, and we.
The redness of the eyes betrays
You too have wept, and we.

What a house, this Pakistan!
Above live saints, down thieves have their run
A new order has come into force
Up above twenty families, below the hundred million.
Other people conquered mountains,
We live under the divisions heavy ton.
Other people may have conquered the moon.
But in a yawning precipice a place we’ve won.
I ran and ran and was aching all over,
I looked back and saw the donkey resting under the banyan.


Two gods hold my country in their sway
Martial law and La Illaha have here their heyday.
That one rules there over in the heavens
Down here this one’s writ runs.
His name is Allah Esquire.
This one is called Zia, the light of truth in full array.
Hurrah, General Zia, hip hip hooray,
Whoever can make you go away.

Ecstacy does my land surround
All around the Army is to be found.
Hundreds of thousands were surrendered as POWs.
Half of the land was bartered away in the fray.
Hurrah, General Zia, hip hip hooray,
Whoever can make you go away.

On TV you give recitations from Quran
With fables and traditions you go on and on.
Here we are engulfed in a brouhaha
While up there you are still there, my Allah
A pretender has staked his claim today
Hurrah, General Zia, hip hip hooray,
Whoever can make you go away.

Thankful are some if they can chop wood
The others, on them, their orders bestow.
Why have the people lost their mind?
For every one the Almighty has a loving glow.
People are the real masters of this world
Orders do not from the handle of a sword flow.
The ones, Daman, who have forsaken God,
Those Nimruds are laid low at the very first blow.

Recognize Sikh Community As Integral Part of Pakistani Society – Add Sikhism to the Current Headcount Form

Ramesh Singh Arora, MPA, Punjab Assembly, Lahore (Photo: Pakistan Today)

It is a scandal that Pakistan’s Sikh community does not feature in the country’s Headcount happening now after a gap of 19 years. In the section of religion, the forms offer Islam, Christianity, Hinduism, Qadianiat, scheduled caste, and ‘others’. This has prompted the Sikh community to launch protests in different parts of the country, and one of the leaders who is the ‘first and only Sikh lawmaker in the Punjab Assembly since the partition,’ Ramesh Singh Arora spoke on a point of order in the Punjab Assembly on Monday, and said that he feels his community is being ‘marginalised’, and he asked that the federal and provincial governments redress this issue immediately as the country’s 6th Headcount was already underway.

According to Arora, there may be about 25,000 Sikhs in Pakistan, but the actual number can not be ascertained if the current Headcount does not provide a clear option.

This oversight on part of Pakistan government, that Arora attributes to bureaucracy, may be another reflection of the prejudice that exists against minorities within this self-entitled ‘Muslim’ government that chose to use religion as one of the coercive weapons to control the population.

Not only that Sikhism was founded in areas now in Pakistan, but the Sikh community represents the richness and continuity of Punjabi culture through literature, language, architecture and songs, and it reminds us that there once was a secular and humane Punjabi Sikh Empire in Indian Subcontinent that at its peak in the 19th century ‘extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to western Tibet in the east, and from Mithankot in the south to Kashmir in the north’, and that it was ‘the last major region of the subcontinent to be conquered by the British’. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikh_Empire)

Pakistan and Punjab governments must add Sikhism to the provided list of religions, because it’s not just about the numbers; omitting Sikhism from the list of religions from the forms for national census, also omits and makes invisible the historical and the ongoing peaceful and constructive role played by Sikh community in the development of Pakistani society.

Fauzia
gandholi.wordpress.com

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Nigar Ahmad – A Great Punjabi Woman

nigar-ahmad1Nigar Ahmad (1945 – 2017)

Nigar Ahmad, an educationist and a woman’s rights activist, was one of the founding members of Women Action Forum (WAF) established in the 1980s to fight General Ziaul Haq’s Islamicization policies that attacked women’s status in Pakistan. Later, Nigar founded Aurat Foundation and served as its Executive Director for many years.

Her contributions to the enhancement of the status of women include mobilizing women candidates to run for local government during the 1993 and 1997 general elections, organizing networks of citizens’ action committees in 70 districts to provide support to women; organizing national conferences and radio programs to inform peasant women on health and agricultural issues. ‘She was a consultant to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1991 on the gender impact of a watershed management project in Azad Kashmir. She presented a case study to the Asian Development Bank on a pilot on credit for rural women, and, as a consultant to the United Nations Development Fund For Women, has been involved in a rural credit and gender sensitization training program of UNDP staff. Nigar has also been involved with the National Commission on the Status of Women, and the South Asian Partnership. She was a coauthor for the report on Women’s Development Programs for Pakistan’s Eighth Five-Year Plan.’ (wikipeacewomen.org)

Nigar was awarded the Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah Life Time Achievement Award in 2010 for her work for the empowerment of women. She was one of the 1000 women proposed for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, and a nominee from Pakistan of the Global Sisterhood Network.

Nigar was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. She was admitted to a hospital in Lahore for chest pain where she passed away on February 24, 2017. She was the daughter of Mian Riaz Uddin Ahmad, a prominent civil servant in the Punjab.

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This is what Nigar had to say for George Bush, i wonder what she would have said for Donald Trump.

Fauzia Rafique
gandholi.wordpress.com
frafique@gmail.com

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Punjabi Termed ‘Foul Language’ by Pakistan’s Leading Private School System

uddari-punjabiparchar
Support this demonstration in Lahore
Thursday October 20th at 12pm
In front of BSS Head Quarters

The Sahiwal Campus of Beaconhouse School System (BSS) has issued a notice to students prohibiting them to speak ‘foul language’; and, being helpful, has offered this definition of it: ‘Foul language includes taunts, abuses, Punjabi and the hate speech’.

The school has denied the allegations, and has provided an explanation, saying that it was a mistake. They need not insist on that since this is one of the most employed tool of colonization where local cultures are crushed and then dominated by demonizing local languages. In Canada’s residential schools, Indigenous kids were prohibited from speaking or learning any of the Indigenous languages because those were classified by settler-colonizers as foul, savage, uncivilized, inferior, and most were not even accepted as languages but brushed aside as mere ‘dialects’. So, the Bullshit School System continues to remain faithful to its roots.

The absolute colonial brazenness of the BSS notice has lit a fire under the dash of every Punjabi i know, and that’s the good news because the act has thrown blinding light on something that we try not to see: the state of our language rights in the Punjab province of Pakistan. All shades of Punjabis are coming together to protest; Author Parveen Malik has pulled the BSS into court from Punjabi Adbi Board. Maybe now the affluent elite Punjabis will begin to acknowledge their historic ditching of their mother language in favor of Urdu after the 1947 partition of India, and they will begin to use their influence, resources and political clout to make sure that Punjabi is taught in Punjab’s all government-owned and private educational institutions. 

Uddari is delighted to support the demonstration planned in Lahore today- let’s make our feelings known.

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‘Hawawaan de Sanjh – ہواواں دی سانجھ’ by Harinder Kaur Dhahan

uddari-harinderdhahan-1

Vancouver diye seetlay hwa, toon Lhore val ve ja
apni nighhi nami, khushk hwa ch mila

Sukki sukki Thandh rahi Lhoriyan noon tarrpa
badl le ja urra ke, val Lhore de desha

Na toon lorrein passport, na toon lorrein visa
na lagnay dollar tere, na custom, security te sama

Tainun koi na vekh sakda, kern tainun mehsoos sada
toon taan vagdi vagdi, jhaT paar ker lawein haddan

Tainun sajjay khhabbay’ aggay pichhay, rok na koi sakda
toon shurk ker ke langein kolon, bin dassay thaun patta

Gurumukhi te Shahmukhi nain, sanjhan layan pa
toon ve rishta jorr le, sang Lhore de hwa

Saday piyaray naal dostaan, toon ve dosti nibha
hathein chhawaan kern tainun, saijal palkan te biTha

Vancouver deye seetlay hwa, toon Lhore val ve ja
apni nighhi nami, khushk hwa ch mila
..

Read the original in Gurumukhi
Hwawan De Sanjh

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ہواواں دی سانجھ
ہریندر کور ڈھاھاں

وینکوور دییے سِیتلے ہوا، توں لہور ول وی جا
اپنی نگھی نمی، خشک ہوا چ ملا

سُکّی سُکّی ٹھنڈ رہی لہوریاں نوں تڑپا
بدل لے جا اُڑا کے، ول ہور دی دِشا

ناں توں لوڑیں پاسپورٹ، ناں توں لوڑیں وِیزا
نہ لگنے ڈالر تیرے، نہ کسٹم، سیکیوریٹی تے سما

تینوں کویئ نہ ویکھ سکدا، کرن تینوں محسوس صدا
توں تاں وگدی وگدی، جھٹ پار کر لویں حدّاں

تینوں سجّے کھبّے، اگّے پِچھے، روک نہ کویئ سکدا
توں شُرک کر کے لنگھیں کولوں، بِن دسّے تھَوں پتہ

گورمُکھی تے شاہ مُکھی نیں، سانجھاں لیاں پا
توں وی رشتہ جوڑ لے، سنگ لہور دی ہوا

ساڈے پیارے نال دوستاں، توں وی دوستی نِبھا
ہتھیں چھانواں کرن تینوں، سیجل پلکاں تے بٹھا

وینکوور دییے سِیتلے ہوا، توں لہور ول وی جا
اپنی نگھی نمی، خشک ہوا چ ملا
..

مینوں اپنی ماں بولی پنجابی نال بے حد پیار ہے۔ وینکوور دے خالصہ سکول چ پنجابی پڑھاون دا سبھاگ وی پراپت ہویا۔ ہُن وی ہر اِتوار گوردوارے وچ بچیاں نوں پنجابی پڑھا کے خوشی محسوس کردی ہاں۔ پنجابی ساہت کویتاواں، کہانیاں تے ناول بڑے شوق نال پڑھدی رہندی ہاں۔ کدی کدی دھارمک کویتا لِکھ کے گوردواریاں چ پڑھن دا موقعہ وی ملدا رہندا ہے۔ میں اک پرمانت یوگا ادھیاپک (سرٹیفایئڈ یوگا ٹیچر) وی ہاں۔ ایہہ سِکھیا میں لنگارا کالج توں حاصل کیتی ہے۔

ڈھاھاں إنٹرنیشنل پنجابی لِٹریچر پرایئز نال میریاں بھاوناواں اتے سیواواں جُڑیاں ہویئاں نیں۔ نومبر ۲۰۱۳ وچ اسیں ڈھاھاں پرایئز دا اعلان کرن لئی لہور گئے سی۔ اوتھوں ایس قسم دی کویتا لکھن لیئ مُڈھلی پریرنا مینوں لہوریاں ولوں ساڈے لئی پیار، ستکار تے مان وچوں ملی۔ اوندے سیال پتہ لگیا کہ لہور دے لوک ٹھنڈیاں تے خشک ہواواں توں پِیڑت ہن۔ اک دن سیر کرن ویلے گرمی نال میریاں تپ رہیاں گلّاں نوں جدوں وینکوور دی سمندری ہوا نے چھویا تے اک انوکھا جیہا سکون ملیا۔ اوسے ویلے میرا دل وینکوور دی سیتل ہوا نوں لہور دی خشک ہوا نال سانجھ پیدا کرن لئی پکار اٹھیا۔

Read the above in Gurumukhi

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New Poster from Pakistan Punjabi Adbi Board

New Poster 1

Pakistan Punjabi Adbi Board plans to celebrate
International Mother Language Day by organizing
a day long cultural program and a rally
on Feb, 21, 2015
from Nasir Bagh to Punjab Assembly.

More than ten thousand people
are expected to participate.

The Board ‘appeals to all,
individuals and entities,
concerned with the linguistic and cultural rights of the people,
for financial help and support’.

For details view the Press Release below.
https://uddari.wordpress.com/2015/02/05/mother-language-day-an-appeal/

Contact
Amjad Saleem Minhas (Publisher), Coordinator
0333 4051741, sanjhpk@yahoo.com
Parveen Malik (Author), Secretary
042 36370520
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Mother Language Day: An Appeal

lahorecityofgardensImage: Lahore City of Gardens, Facebook page

Uddari fully supports the initiative taken by Mother Language Day Celebrations Committee in Lahore to present our demands in a forceful way at this year’s International Mother Language Day. Please help out by contributing money and resources to make Saturday 21 February a resounding success.

Press Release

‘February 21st is the International Mother Language Day celebrated every year all over the world with the express purpose of preserving, protecting and promoting the incredible linguistic diversity we humans have. Linguistic diversity is receptacle of human evolution and thus immensely fecund source of irreplaceable intellectual, literary and cultural richness.

‘But sadly we in the Punjab wrongly perceive the multiplicity of languages as a divisive force threatening the ill conceived notion of national unity. That is why the linguistic rights of the people in the Punjab have been denied in the name of ill-conceived linguistic cohesion. Quest for monolithic and exclusive identity has resulted in the denial of diversity and plurality creating pervasive extremism which contradicts the inclusive cultural tradition evolved by Punjab’s saints and poets.

‘Pakistan Punjabi Adbi Board, the oldest independent cultural body, has been at the forefront of struggle to get the linguistic rights of the Punjabi language restored. The Board has to its credit around two hundred publications of classical and contemporary literature. The Board plans to celebrate International Mother Language Day by organizing a day long cultural programme and a big rally on Feb, 21, 2015 from Nasir Bag to the Punjab Assembly with the demand that the mother language/Punjabi be introduced immediately at primary level so that the students get their early education in their mother language as is universally emphasized by the educationists and the UNO.

‘The Board alone cannot organize the event with its meager resources. It therefore appeals to all, individuals and entities, concerned with the linguistic and cultural rights of the people, for financial help and support. More than ten thousand people are expected to participate in the day long programme and the rally. The estimated budget is around Rupee 3 millions. Your support and cooperation will be highly appreciated.’

Amjad Saleem Minhas (Publisher), Coordinator
Parveen Malik (Author), Secretary
Cell: 0300 4117262 & 0322 4830965
Mother Language Day Celebrations Committee
Cell: 0333 4051741
Or
Send an email message to Amjad Saleem Minhas
sanjhpk@yahoo.com
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