No Ordinary Sufi

shah hussain

“If you want your life, die before your death” (Shah Hussain).

This is my summary of Fauzia Rafique’s presentation on the life and poetry of Shah Hussain. The presentation was part of the Dead Poets Reading Series which took place at the Vancouver Public Library (Central) on May 6, 2018.

Shah Hussain (1538-1599) was a Punjabi poet from Lahore. He wrote 163 poems in Punjabi and introduced the kafi genre into the language.[1] His collected works remain among the top selling books of all time in Punjabi.

When he was thirty-six years old, Shah Hussain had a dispute with his religious teacher over the interpretation of the following verse:

“duniya khel tamasha hai” (‘the world’s a play and spectacle’).”

For the teacher, the verse meant the renunciation of the fleeting material world. For Shah Hussain, it meant that life is to be enjoyed. With that, he laughed, donned himself in a red cotton robe and became a dancing mendicant in the streets of Lahore.

Shah Hussain was a “malamti” Sufi, one who took pride in the “malamat” or “shaming” he was subjected to. He stood against the the political and religious establishment in support the common people. He identified himself with the julaha (weaver), the chuhra (sweeper) and the faqir. He associated with rebels like Dulla Bhatti who stirred peasant rebellions against the Emperor Akbar. His poetry reflected the folk rhythms and idiom of everyday Punjabi.

Shah Hussain was a rebel in another way. Unlike the male poets of his day who used the feminine voice (rekhti) to express the “feminine” emotions of grief and anguish, Shah Hussain wrote in the feminine voice to acknowledge and express his own self as a gay man.

If Shah Hussain’s love was transcendent, it was in the earthly sense of overcoming distinctions of class, gender, creed and sexual orientation. He belonged to no sect or lineage other than humanity’s.

Kafi 131

Swaying in ecstasy play on in the inner yard, all is near to those meditating
Rivers flow in this yard, thousands of millions of boats
Some are seen drowning, others have reached the shore
This yard has nine doors, the tenth is locked shut
No one needs to know, from where my lover comes and goes
This yard has a pretty curve, a hollow in the curve
I spread my bed in the hollow to love my lover at night!
A wild elephant in this yard, is struggling with the chain
Says Hussain the Beggar of His Beloved, (the elephant) is teasing the awake

(Trans. Fauzia Rafique)

Jhume jhum khaid lai munjh vehRay, japdeyaN nooN hur naiRay
Vehray de vich nadiyaN vagan, baiRay lakh hazar
kaiti iss vich Dubdi vekhi, kaiti langhi paar
iss vehRay de nauN darvazay, dusswaiN qulf chuRhai
tiss darvazay de mehram nahiN, jit shauh aaway jai
vehRay de vich aala soohay, aalay de vich taaqi
taaqi de vich sej vichaawaN, apnay pia sung raati
iss vehRay vich makna haathi, sangal naal khahaiRay
kahe Hussain Faqir SaeeN da, jagdeyaN kooN chehRay

 

 

[1] A kafi is a lyric poem of four to ten lines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Confucius in Punjabi

classic_chinese_painting

Translated and compiled by Randeep Singh

These are translations of Yasir Javid’s Urdu translations into Punjabi, with Hindi and Urdu alternatives added only where necessary.

Thank you to Sadhu Binning  and Ajay Bhardwaj for their help.

Kee eh khushi dee gall nahin ki tu jo vee sikhya os da amal kitta jaave?

Kee eh vee khushi dee gall nahin ki door toN tain nooN dost miln aave?

Je lok main noon na pahnchaan te main noon nahin takleef hundi
kee main ek vadhiya insaan nahin haan?

學而時習之、不亦說乎。有朋自遠方來、不亦樂乎。人不知而不慍、不亦君子乎。

Isn’t it a joy to apply what one has learnt?
Isn’t it also a joy to have friends come from afar?
If people don’t  recognize me, and this bothers me not, am I not a sage?

(1:1)

Main har roz tin nuktiaN bare khud nu parakdha haaN
Kee main dujiyaan dee madad le khud nu smarpit/waqf kita hai?
Kee main apne dostaan de naal gallaan de vich bharosa da qaabil si?
Kee mere amal mere qaul de mutaabiq nahin san?

吾日三省吾身、爲人謀而不忠乎。與朋友交而不信乎。傳不習乎。

Everyday, I examine myself on three points
Have I been devoted in helping others?
Have I been worthy of trust in what I say to my friends?
Have I not acted according to my word?

(1:4)

Oh gall karan to pehla amal karda te baad de vich amaal te mutaabiq gal karda
子貢問君子。子曰。先行其言、而后從之。
The noble person acts before speaking and then speaks according to his action

(2:13)

Sikhna sochna to beghair bekaar hain te sochna sikhna to beghair khatarnaak hai
攻乎異端、斯害也己。
Learning without thinking is useless. Thinking without learning is dangerous.

(2:15)

PUNJABI LANGUAGE CELEBRATION – 13th Annual – Delta Feb 27/16

plea-banner-copy

PUNJABI LANGUAGE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION’S (PLEA)
13th Annual
International Mother Language Day
Saturday Feb. 27, 2016
Time: 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
North Delta Rec. Centre 11415 – 84 Ave., Delta
❉ Discussions: efforts to have Punjabi language education in
local educational institutions. Mr. Garry Thind from the Surrey
school board will be present.
❉ It is a matter of great pride for all of us that a large number
of Punjabis are part of Canada’s federal government. Is this
going to have any effect on the development and preservation
of Punjabi language in Canada? Surrey Centre MP Randip Sarai
will be present to discuss this.
❉ Young Punjabi learners will share poetry, songs and ideas.
❉ PLEA cordially invites everyone to come and be part of the
annual celebration of Punjabi language.
❉ Free Event. Refreshments.

For more information Please contact
Balwant Sanghera – 604-836-8976
Sadhu Binning – 604-437-9014
Parvinder Dhariwal – 778-838-1121
Paul Binning – 778-889-8255
ਪ ੰਜਾਬੀ ਲੈਂਗੂਏਜ ਐਜੂਕੇਸ਼ਨ ਅਸੋਸੀਏਸ਼ਨ (ਪਲੀ)

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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
.
.

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
.
.