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“O My Land!” (ai arz-e-vatan) – Tahira Naqvi’s trnaslation of Fahmida Riaz

Editor’s Note: At least 20 people including two children were killed and over 48 others sustained injuries in an explosion at Quetta’s Hazarganji market on Friday morning. Tahira Naqvi has translated ‘Ai Arz-e-Vatan’ in the memory of the martyrs of the attack today.

“O My Land!” (ai arz-e-vatan)

O my Land, O my Land!
Why has on your wounded body
Sprouted only this harvest of bayonets
On whose pointed tips sway
Like dusty spider webs
The laughter of powerful torturers

Why are your moons hidden
In the black veils of the gallows
Why do the buds of your red roses
Adorn the executioner’s courtyard
Who has bedecked the scaffolds
With the unopened blossoms of your voices
Who are the impetuous ones crying out the slogans
What is the blood which carries these melodic strains
O Master of Both Worlds You tell us!
That which envelops my Land
What is that thing, what is that menace
Darkness is Your creation
There is mystery in Darkness
But this stifling blindness
This season of sightlessness
This severed neck, this assembly of blood
Have You created this as well?

Why did my surroundings echo with
The obscene laughter of blindness?

O my Land, O my Land
Elevated is the place of martyrdom
Your youth seeking a new path are young
They throw up scaling ladders made of slogans
And holding on to them one step at a time
They achieve the elevated privilege of the gallows
And standing before death they repeat
All the pledges made to life
The hardened earth shudders
Did your heart also tremble or not!

Why did my surroundings echo with
The obscene sound of blindness?

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