Āzə̄dī ‘Freedom’

Ghulam Ahmad Mahjoor (1885-1952) was a revolutionary, progressive poet of modern Kashmir who used his native language, Kashmiri, as the primary mode of expression. Following the Partition in 1947, Mehjoor played a key role in opposing the Tribal invasions through his poetic compositions inspiring people to rise against the perpetrators in defending their land. Some of his very popular compositions include valo hā bāgvāno (‘Come, O Gardener’) and āzə̄dī (‘freedom’) which reflect his anguish at the state of affairs of the underprivileged, downtrodden and oppressed people of Kashmir. Following is an excerpt from his well-known poem āzə̄di ‘freedom’:

     sanā sə̄rī pariv sānyan garan manz tsāyi āzə̄dī
     syaṭha yətskə̄ly asi kun jalva hāvan āyi āzə̄dī
     ‘Let us all offer thanks for to our homes visits Freedom
After a long time, a rare glimpse towards us gives Freedom’  

     yi āzə̄dī čhi trāvān magribas kun rahmatuk bārān
     karān sə̄nis zamīnas pyaṭh tsharey gagrāyi āzə̄dī
     ‘This Freedom showers the rain of blessings on the West
On our soil, just empty thunderstorms are offered by Freedom’

     garībī muphlisī bebūj nāpursān zabān bandi
     amē rutsi trāyi asi pyaṭh āyi trāvān sāyi āzə̄dī
     ‘Poverty, destitution, liability, anarchy, and repression
Coming along with these blessings, a shadow on us casts Freedom’ 

     yi āzə̄dī čhi sorgič hūr phēryā khāna path khānay
     fakat kēntsan garan andar čhi mārān grāyi āzə̄dī
     ‘A houri from the heaven, Freedom will not visit door-to-door
Only in a select few homes does merrily dance Freedom’

It seems the poem is as relevant today as it was in 1947. An audio rendition of the above excerpt is available here.

© Sadaf Munshi (August 15, 2020)

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