CAA triggers poetry of resistance

Hyderabad: There is nothing like poetry to express your angst, disillusionment and sense of wrong. The spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings is once again taking the shape of poetry as protests against CAA rages through the country. It is touching shayeri which the protestors are mouthing to expose grim truths.

Interestingly, the resistance poetry of Pakistan’s well-known bard, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, has come handy to question the establishment on the contentious Act. From Delhi to Hyderabad, students are reciting pithy and powerful verses of Faiz. Particularly his famous nazm – ‘Hum Dekhenge’ – is being recited by students across the country. The progressive poet that he was, Faiz wrote ‘Hum Dekhenge’ against Zia ul Haq’s oppressive regime in Pakistan. The revolutionary poem is oft-quoted by protestors as a song of resistance and defiance. The poem goes like this:

Hum dekhenge, hum dekhenge

Lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge

Wo din ke jis ka vada hai

Jo lauh-e-azal mein likha hai

Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-giran

Ruui ki tarah ud jaenge

(We shall witness

Certainly we too shall witness

The day that has been promised

Which has been written on the slate of eternity

When the mountains of tyranny

Blow away like fluffy cotton)

With protests spilling over to the new year, many netizens have used the poem of Faiz to cock a snook at 2020. In the insightful poem ‘Naya Saal’, Faiz expresses surprise at the new year revelry when nothing has changed except a number. He says:

Aye naye saal bata tujh mein naya kya rakha hai?
Har taraf khalq ne kyun shor macha rakha hai?
Roshni din ki wahi, taron bhari raat wahi
Aaj hum ko nazar aati hai har ek baat wahi
Asman badla hai na badli hai ye afsurda zameen
Ek hinsay ka badalna koi jiddat to nahin

Tu naya hai to dikha subah nai sham nai
warna in ankhon ne dekhay hain naye saal kai

Urdu media is also full of moving verses of Allama Iqbal to depict the present situation and to raise hopes. Stanza 30 of his famous poem Jawab-e-Shikwa is flashed everywhere:

Hai jo hangama bapa yorish-e-balghari ka

Ghafilon ke liye pegham hai bedari ka

Tu samajhta hai ye saman hai dil aazari ka

Imtihan hai tere isaar ka, khud-dari ka

(The Bulgars march, the fiend of war in fearful fury breathes

The message comes: Sleepers awake! The Balkan cauldron seethes

You deem this a cause of grief, your heart is mortified

But no, your pride, your sacrifice one again are tried)

Another popular verse doing the rounds is that of Mahshar Afridi. The poet packs a sarcastic punch in it.

Wo chahte hain ke Hindustan chhod de hum

Bhoot ke dar se makan chhod de hum

Since poetry is near to vital truth, authorities are placing restraints on its recital too. A poetic session convened on the new year’s eve at a house was cancelled by police in Hyderabad. People trying to reach the venue were stopped and turned away. As the American poet, Robert Frost said poetry happens when an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found words. The present agitation against CAA sure has brought out the muse among protestors.

J.S. Ifthekhar

J.S. Ifthekhar is a senior journalist with nearly four decades of experience. Ifthekhar cut his teeth in journalism at the Indian Express before he moved to The Hindu. He was also associated with the Siasat Daily, Telangana Today, Deccan Chronicle, Onlooker magazine, Newstrack, Detective Digest and a few news agencies. He has written on different subjects and aspects of Hyderabadi life. However, his passion remains literature in general and Urdu poetry in particular. He is equally concerned with culture, heritage, civic affairs and problems confronting the man in the street. As a journalist he has taken up cudgels on behalf of the underprivileged and many of his stories in The Hindu saw the government promptly taking corrective measures. Ifthekhar has authored two books - Hyderabad - The Nawabi City on The Move and Haj - The Spirit Behind it. He has also translated two books from Urdu to English. Currently he is working on his third book - Poets and Writers of Deccan.

Loves to write and writes to live. Can't imagine doing anything else.

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