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By Ali Husain Mir, Raza Mir

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Additional resources for Anthems of Resistance: A Celebration of Progressive Urdu Poetry

Example text

Or not. But in the meantime, here is Faiz, reminding us of the value of struggle: Hai dasht ab bhi dasht, magar khoon-e pa se Faiz Seraab chand khaar-e mugheelaañ hue to haiñ The desolate desert we walked through still remains desolate, Faiz But at least the thirst of some of its thorns has been quenched by the blood of our feet SAARE JAHAAN SE ACHCHA At every step, stands the court of Indra, and Indra himself envies these courts. This generation is not of Krishna’s gopis, For those gopis were imperfect imitations – this, the real!

Yaad hai Jhaansi ki Raani ka zamaana yaad hai? Hijrat-e Sultan-e Dilli ka samaañ bhi yaad hai? Sher-dil Tipu ki khooni daastaañ bhi yaad hai? Teesre faaqe meiñ ek girte hue ko thaamne Kin ke sar laaye the tum Shaah-e Zafar ke saamne? Voh Bhagat Singh jis ke gham meiñ ab bhi dil naashaad hai Us ki gardan meiñ jo daala tha voh phanda yaad hai? Zahn meiñ hoga ye taaza Hindiyoñ ka daagh bhi Yaad to hoga tumheñ Jaliaanwaala Baagh bhi With what tongue dare you counsel us, O traders! ’ I am amazed by the words that emerge from your assembly!

Urdu poetry for long had had a tradition of an engagement with the human condition but the period of 1920s onwards saw a new mood, one that Jan Nisar Akhtar calls avaami bedaari ki lehar (the awakening of the masses). An anthology of Urdu patriotic poetry called Hindustan Hamara (Our India), edited by Akhtar, covering the period 1857-1970 runs into two volumes with its thousand or so pages containing over seven hundred poems. There were plenty of standard patriotic pieces, but a large number of poems of this period indicated the beginning of a new form of social and political awakening.

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