gumnaam sipaahi ki tarah-parveen shakir

For word meanings and explanatory discussion in English click on the tabs marked “Roman” or “Notes”.

گُمنام سپاہی کی طرح ۔ پروین شاکر

۱

مقتلِ وقت میں خاموش گواہی کی طرح

دل بھی کام آیا ہے گُمنام سپاہی کی طرح

۲

ایک لمحہ کو زمانے نے رضا پوچھی تھی

گفتگو ہونے لگی ظلّ الہیٰ کی طرح

۳

ظلم سہنا بھی تو ظالم کی حمایت ٹھہرا

خامشی بھی تو ہوئی پشت پناہی کی طرح

۴

اُس نے خوشبو سے کرایا تھا تعارف میرا

اور پھر مجھ کو بکھیرا ہے ہوا ہی کی طرح

۵

کُلّہم ایک دیا اور ہوا کی اقلیم

پھیلتی جائے مقدّر کی سیاہی کی طرح

गुमनाम सिपाही कि तरह – परवीन शाकेर

मक़्तल-ए वक़्त में ख़ामोश गवाही कि तरह

दिल भी काम आया है गुमनाम सिपाही कि तरह

एक लम्हे को ज़माने ने रज़ा पूछी थी

गुफ़्तगू होने लगी ज़िल्ल-ए इलाही कि तरह

ज़ुल्म सहना भी तो ज़ालिम की हिमा’एत ठहरा

ख़ामुशी भी तो हुई पुश्त पनाही कि तरह

उस ने ख़ुश्बू से कराया था ता’अरुफ़ मेरा

और फिर मुझ को बिखेरा है हवा ही कि तरह

कुल्लहुम एक दिया और हवा की इक़्लीम

फैलती जाए मुक़द्दर की सियाही कि तरह

 

Click here for background and on any passage for word meanings and explanatory discussion. parveen shakir (1952-1994), English literature and linguistics, correspondent, educator, Pakistan Civil Service officer. Prolific writer bringing new thought and new forthright, feminist style to urdu shaa’eri. An explicit expression of love and especially of spurned love by women was taboo until courageous poets like parveen shakir came forward. This is another poignant expression of her personal experience after a divorce that brought her sadness. It is linked to series of Ghazal with the radeef ‘ki tarah’ collected under the icon ‘dulhan ki tarah’ on the radeef-refrain page.
1
maqtal1-e vaqt2 meN Khaamosh3 gavaahi4 ki tarah
dil bhi kaam aaya hai gumnaam-sipaahi5 ki tarah   
1.slaughterhouse 2.times, world 3.silent 4.testimony 5.(memorial to the) unknown soldier
The times/societal traditions are cruel, like a slaughterhouse. The grave of the unknown soldier bears silent testimony to the cruelties/tragedies of war. The heart too, has served the same purpose, bearing testimony to the cruelty of oppressive traditions.

2
ek lamhe1 ko zamaane2 ne raza3 poochhi thi
gufatgu4 hone lagi zill-e-ilaahi5 ki tarah  
1.moment 2.world, society 3.free will, consent, agreement 4.conversation 5.shadow of god
This has reference to the tradition in islam of asking the bride whether she consents to be married. It is supposed to be a consent given by her of her own free will. She is (ritualistically) asked for consent just at that one moment. Soon after that the conversation changes to a tone as if the ‘shadow of god’ is speaking i.e., it is no longer a consensual relationship of equals.

3
zulm1 sahna2 bhi to zaalim3 ki himaa’et4 Thahra
Khaamushi5 bhi hui pusht-panaahi6 ki tarah   

1.oppression 2.bear, accept 3.oppressor 4.help, cooperation 5.silence 6.covering the back, protecting
After all quietly bearing oppression/injustice is like helping the oppressor/unjust. Being silent is also like helping along the unjust system.

4
us ne Khushbuu1 se karaaya tha ta’aaruf2 mera
aur phir mujh ko bikhera3 hai hava hi ki tarah   
1.fragrance, happiness 2.introduction 3.spread, scatter, cast away
He introduced me to happiness and then scattered/cast me away like the wind.

5
kullahum1 ek diya2 aur hava ki iqliim3
phailti4 jaaye muqaddar5 ki siyaahi6 ki tarah   
1.sum total, all in all 2.lamp 3.domain 4.spread 5.fate 6.darkness
Wind blows out the lamp and darkness spreads. Thus, all there is, is a single lamp, and the domain of the wind blows it out and darkness spreads like the darkness of fate.

parveen shakir (1952-1994), English literature and linguistics, correspondent, educator, Pakistan Civil Service officer.  Prolific writer bringing new thought and new forthright, feminist style to urdu shaa’eri.  An explicit expression of love and especially of spurned love by women was taboo until courageous poets like parveen shakir came forward.  This is another poignant expression of her personal experience after a divorce that brought her sadness.  It is linked to series of Ghazal with the radeef ‘ki tarah’ collected under the icon ‘dulhan ki tarah’ on the radeef-refrain page.
1
maqtal1-e vaqt2 meN Khaamosh3 gavaahi4 ki tarah
dil bhi kaam aaya hai gumnaam-sipaahi5 ki tarah

1.slaughterhouse 2.times, world 3.silent 4.testimony 5.(memorial to the) unknown soldier

The times/societal traditions are cruel, like a slaughterhouse.  The grave of the unknown soldier bears silent testimony to the cruelties/tragedies of war.  The heart too, has served the same purpose, bearing testimony to the cruelty of oppressive traditions.
2
ek lamhe1 ko zamaane2 ne raza3 poochhi thi
gufatgu4 hone lagi zill-e-ilaahi5 ki tarah

1.moment 2.world, society 3.free will, consent, agreement 4.conversation 5.shadow of god

This has reference to the tradition in islam of asking the bride whether she consents to be married.  It is supposed to be a consent given by her of her own free will.  She is (ritualistically) asked for consent just at that one moment.  Soon after that the conversation changes to a tone as if the ‘shadow of god’ is speaking i.e., it is no longer a consensual relationship of equals.
3
zulm1 sahna2 bhi to zaalim3 ki himaa’et4 Thahra
Khaamushi5 bhi hui pusht-panaahi6 ki tarah

1.oppression 2.bear, accept 3.oppressor 4.help, cooperation 5.silence 6.covering the back, protecting

After all quietly bearing oppression/injustice is like helping the oppressor/unjust.  Being silent is also like helping along the unjust system.
4
us ne Khushbuu1 se karaaya tha ta’aaruf2 mera
aur phir mujh ko bikhera3 hai hava hi ki tarah

1.fragrance, happiness 2.introduction 3.spread, scatter, cast away

He introduced me to happiness and then scattered/cast me away like the wind.
5
kullahum1 ek diya2 aur hava ki iqliim3
phailti4 jaaye muqaddar5 ki siyaahi6 ki tarah

1.sum total, all in all 2.lamp 3.domain 4.spread 5.fate 6.darkness

Wind blows out the lamp and darkness spreads.  Thus, all there is, is a single lamp, and the domain of the wind blows it out and darkness spreads like the darkness of fate.

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