A helping hand from the past…
It was a cold, winter afternoon couple of years ago…I was sitting with a friend in her house in Delhi with black tea in hand and wrapped in blankets. Perhaps, I was in the crossroads yet again (perhaps a new job or an important decision-making hour), but I could hardly think or even feel, except for the warm tea and my own silence, which was deafening. After some talking, my friend just looked at me and told me to turn around and see a label that she had stuck on her wooden almirah. What I saw there broke a dam within; it was the poetry of Paash, a Punjabi naxalite poet who died standing up for his beliefs, who lived for his beliefs and his convictions! Yes, his words reached out to someone in the present and gave her life to dream again to struggle and never to give up…the poem was:
The Most Dangerous
Most treacherous is not the robbery
of hard earned wages
Most horrible is not the torture by the police.
Most dangerous is not the graft for the treason and greed.
To be caught while asleep is surely bad
surely bad is to be buried in silence
But it is not most dangerous.
To remain dumb and silent in the face of trickery
Even when just, is definitely bad
Surely bad is reading in the light of a firefly
But it is not most dangerous
Most dangerous is
To be filled with dead peace
Not to feel agony and bear it all,
Leaving home for work
And from work return home
Most dangerous is the death of our dreams.
Most dangerous is that watch
Which run on your wrist
But stand still for your eyes.
Most dangerous is that eye
Which sees all but remains frostlike,
The eye that forgets to kiss the world with love,
The eye lost in the blinding mist of the material world.
That sinks the simple meaning of visible things
And is lost in the meaning return of useless games.
Most dangerous is the moon
Which rises in the numb yard
After each murder,
but does not pierce your eyes like hot chilies.
Most dangerous is the song
which climbs the mourning wail
In order to reach your ears
And repeats the cough of an evil man
At the door of the frightened people.
Most dangerous is the night
Falling in the sky of living souls,
Extinguishing them all
In which only owls shriek and jackals growl,
And eternal darkness covers all the windows.
Most heinous is the direction
In which the sun of the soul light
Pierces the east of your body.
Most treacherous is not the
robbery of hard earned wages.
Most horrible is not the torture of police
Most dangerous is not graft taken for greed and treason.
Translation by Dr.Satnam Singh Sandhu of Punjabi University, Patiala
Ps: You can see some more of Paash's poems here.