This murder…

یہ قتل قتل کسی ایک آدمی کا نہیں
یہ قتل حق کا مساوات کا شرافت کا
یہ قتل عِلم کا حِکمت کا آدمیت کا
یہ قتل حِلم و مُروّت کا خاکساری کا
یہ قتل ظلم رسیدوں کی غم گساری کا
یہ قتل ایک کا دو کا نہیں، ہزار کا ہے
خدا کا قتل ہے قدرت کے شاہ کار کا قتل
یہ شام شامِ غریباں، ہے صبح صبح حُنین
یہ قتل قتلِ مسیحا یہ قتل قتلِ حُسین

مخدوم محی الدین

yeh qatl qatl kisi ek aadmi ka nahiN
yeh qatl haq ka musaawaat ka sharaafat ka
yeh qatl ilm ka hikmat ka aadmiyat ka
yeh qatl hilm-o murawwat ka Khaaksaari ka
yeh qatl zulm raseedoN ki gham gusaari ka
yeh qatl ek ka do ka nahiN, hazaar ka hai
Khuda ka qatl hai qudrat ke shaahkaar ka qatl
yeh shaam shaam-e GhareebaaN hai subh subh-e hunayn
yeh qatl qatl-e maseeha yeh qatl qatl-e husayn

This murder is not the murder of any one person
This is the murder of truth, of equality, of decency
This is the murder of knowledge, of wisdom, of humanity
This is the murder of tolerance and kindness, of humility
This is the murder of sympathy with the most oppressed
This is the murder of not one or two, but that of a thousand
This is the murder of God, the murder of the masterpiece of providence
This evening is the evening of desolation, this morning the morning of Hunayn
This murder is the murder of Christ, this murder is the murder of Husayn

Makhdoom Mohiuddin

(My translation)

Update: This poem was translated into Persian by Eskandar. Makhdoom wrote this poem upon the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr (in 1968). It is the first of three parts, but I’ll leave the other two for later.

Shaam-e-Ghareeban is literally, “evening of the poor,” but I learned from Eskandar’s translation that this refers to the commemoration of the martyrdom of Husayn (see below) on the 10th of Muharram (Ashura), and so, following Eskandar, “evening of desolation” it is.

The Battle of Hunayn was fought between the Muslims and certain tribes after the conquest of Makkah. In the opening part of the battle, the Muslims were ambushed and in disarray despite their strong numbers, which resulted in the slaughter of many of them. The battle was later turned around for Muslim victory, but apparently after great loss.

Husayn ibn Ali was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s cousin. He was killed (martyred) by Yazid’s forces — many considered Yazid to be a usurper of the caliphate — at the Battle of Karbala. this!

4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Eskandar said,

    June 22, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

    یہ شعر بہت دلدوز ہے اور آپ کا ترجمہ بہترین ہے۔ میرے خراب اردو کے لیے معذرت چاہتا ہوں، میں ایرانی ہوں مگر اردو سیکھ رہا ہوں۔

    I feel it is so appropriate to what’s going on in Iran right now. Would you mind if I translated it into Persian and posted it on my blog, along with your English translation (which is surely better than what I could come up with, as you can see my Urdu is not very good)? I would give you credit, of course. By the way, your blog is excellent. I am here via Lenin’s Tomb, where I appreciated your comments on Yoshie’s most recent post; I look forward to seeing more of your posts here in the future.

  2. 2

    noaman said,

    June 23, 2009 @ 2:37 am

    Your Urdu is better than mine — I am learning it, too. And ending up picking up a lot of Farsi on the way. (I still have no idea how to translate hilm-o-murawwat, so if you have any suggestions, please let me know.)

    It seems to me that a lot of things ‘exploded’ at around the same time — the situation in Peru, in Iran, in India, while things are still going on in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and so on. I think this poem is apt for all of it, and certainly very apt for the situation in Iran. Please feel free to propagate it (it’s not mine, after all, it’s Makhdoom’s and he was a communist, so there is nothing to hoard).

    Thanks for your kind words, I am also looking forward to reading your blog.

  3. 3

    Red Muslim said,

    June 23, 2009 @ 9:16 am

    I’m also here via Lenin’s Tom. Just wanted to second what Eskandar says.

  4. 4

    Eskandar said,

    June 26, 2009 @ 2:21 am

    Noaman – I’m quite sure your Urdu’s better than mine. I was only able to read this poem in the original because literally the only words that aren’t originally from Persian are “ye”, “ka”, “hai”, and “nahin”! I’ve posted my Persian translation on my blog, including your English translation and notes (with minor changes). I translated hilm-o-murawwat as “tolerance and mercy.” I don’t know if it’s one of those phrases in Urdu that has its own specific meaning, like amn-o-amaan; I was just going by the Persian meanings of the two words.

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