Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world, in an unword
That grants you sanctuary from fire and from
The smell of salt as it lunges forth from this
Slice of the world, where it lodges on the seams of a restored yesterday, punishing each inch of flight
With an unroot: the unearthed limp of the master’s glib filch of unfaith.

“Freedom from fear is the freedom I claim for you, my Motherland!

Freedom from the burden of ages, bending your head, breaking your back, blinding your eyes to the beckoning call of the future;

Freedom from shackles of slumber wherewith you fasten yourself to night’s stillness, mistrusting the star that speaks of truth’s adventurous path;

Freedom from the anarchy of destiny, whose sails are weakly yielded to blind uncertain winds, and the helm to a hand ever rigid and cold as Death;

Freedom from the insult of dwelling in a puppet’s world, where movements are started through brainless wires, repeated through mindless habits; where figures wait with patient obedience for a master of show to be stirred into a moment’s mimicry of life.” – Rabindranath Tagore

fidelity to flame

The slow mourn -
    what makes fidelity to flame lack
    lustre for the fog?

kis tarah dhund
ki sham’ay se rawaadaari ho
kyuNkar ho fursat ke tasaadum ka hayoola mumkin
kaun bichRay huoN se rooh ka parcham chheenay
kub talak hosh ka maatam ho maddham maddham?

night's silence translates
    into a pejorative muting of,
    burrowing of dawn
    ka ranj kyuN, haalat-e
    Khamr ka marz kyuN?

saakit huN ab
    ke raat bhar, sukoot-e
    fajr ka ramz kyuN?

    ko yuN moqay ki jo
    talaash hai, uss be-

hijr zabt ka zabt 
    kyuN, woh la-deeni
    yat bilfarz kyuN?

ushshaaq aur kamaan
    ab haathoN se farq
    Dhaa chukay, iss

    ka, hasil-e-fard
    be-rung kyuN?
a droplet's beckon -
    a desert's foreboding of,
    dissolution of resolve

maiN tabaahi ki tajassus

may ghaayal ho kar

iss bayabaN se taghaaful
ho kar tajawuz ker

ke, ik CheeNTay ki faqat
rah takooN andhere

may; ye barabar hua lutf
yuN Thikanay lagay


power, justice, man, god

Power is the justification of power, the daily slights
adding up to a gaping wound staring you in the face,
a grand pus-filled showcase of historical inequity
ordained by god, for the glory of man, his middling meddling


Justice is the undoing of power. It is the stream correcting its
flow, talking to the wind, gushing past the mountain, seeping
the lowly fields. It is the wrath of the wind, touching the stream,
laughing with the mountain, weeping when it reaches the seed.

Prelude to Jon Elia’s “Do AwaazaiN” (Shayad, pg. 243)

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We walk into, beside each other, breathing
the space around us, but not each other, you
and I, forgetting daily the remembrance of
what could once again be you and I.

Interpretation of Jon Elia’s “Maa’mool” from Shayad (pg 88). Transliteration and translation below:

Maa’mool Routine
jaanay kub se For how long
mujhe yaad bhi naheeN jaanay kub se can’t even recall how long it has been
hum ik saath ghar se nikaltay haiN since we have been leaving our home together
aur shaam ko and in the evening
aik hee saath ghar lauTte haiN coming back home together
magar hum ne ik doosray se But neither of us
kabhi haal pursi naheeN ki ever asked how the other was
na ik doosray ko and neither of us
kabhi naam lay kar mukhaatib kiya ever called out the other by name
jaanay hum kaun haiN! Who knows who we are!