Royal Throne

You qualified custodians of the elevated throne of power!

What wisdom will you impart to me?

You who show me the right path, understand this much

You are ensconced on this high chair, and I stand on the earth

You can turn me away from the threshold of your temple of power.

On my platter burns the lamp of my hot blood

The flower that germinated from the unsullied soil of my heart, blooms within

I don’t need your wisdom; keep your temples to yourselves

That which you couldn’t learn despite parroting the sacred texts

This woman has felt in her wounded body.

Rajsinghasan

THE BODY LACERATED

Let this silken night rustle a bit

For it shrouds the corpse of an age within itself

This night is both crime and its punishment

This night, that flows like water from my hair

Dripping

Sliding, falling down my shoulders

My eyes now cloud with stupor

Yes, I can still feel those kisses on my lips

Which my heart refused even to taste

That liquid still flows through every vein of my body

Which my heart insisted on escaping from

All around me, like moths,

Fly my kisses.

My kisses, heavy with lies

Wounded kisses, splashing drops of blood

Long done is the conflict between my mind and tongue

Gone is that disgusting fatigue

This lacerated body has broken my life

A dark wave carries me along

As if my blood is fast leaving my body

Is it sleep or death or some fainting spell?

I feel my breath stopping any moment now.

 Badan Daridah

TONGUES OF STONE

This, yes this was the solitary hill on which we met

Came together on these very heights

This, yes this is the rock of my fidelity

Ruined, wild, sad, desolate

But I have clung to it for centuries

Wrapping your breath in my torn raiment.

This raiment, which flies madly with the wanton wind

I clutch close to me by clinging to the stones

Sharp stones

Which, with time, have sunk so deep in my heart

That everything around me is dyed with my living blood

But I, for centuries have clung to them

And with a bird soaring high in the blue sky,

I send you a missive

That you come and behold

That you smile with happiness to see

These pebbles which have now turned to rubies

Glowing

And a rose blooms from among the stones

Pattharki Zaban

YOU’VE TURNED OUT JUST LIKE US

You’ve turned out just like us

Where were you all this while, brother?

The foolishness and idiocy

In which we wasted a century

Has finally reached your doorstep

Congratulations, many congratulations, brother!

The spectre of religion dances wild

A Hindu raj will you now bring?

Will you swim against the current?

Destroy your garden in spring?

You too will sit and ponder

The preparations have been made

Who’s a Hindu, who is not

Fatwahs will decide their fate.

As you sweat through your teeth

You’ll find it a tough life

Somehow scraping through

You’ll suffocate in all that strife.

Yesterday, my own state saddened me

Today, I laugh aloud at you

You’ve turned out just like us, brother

We’re certainly not nations two.

Let education go to hell

Now praised be barbarity

Ignore what lies ahead

Look behind, not at posterity

Work hard, and you’ll learn

How to walk back in time

Concentrate on the task at hand

Let the future be worth a dime.

Memorise this chant

Repeat again this rant

How great, how brave was Bharat

How magnificent and grand was Bharat

For only then will you attain your goal

That is- the nether world of blundering souls

We’re there waiting for you, so take your time

From whichever hell you live in, do drop us a line.

Tum Bilkul Hum JaiseNikle

Fahmida Riaz (1946- ) counts amongst one of Pakistan’s foremost senior woman poets. She has several volumes of poetry to her credit as well as an acclaimed novel. Her poetic stance is feminist, bold, fearless, and anti-establishmentarian. Exiled for alleged sedition during the regime of general Zia ul Haq in 1981, Riaz sought asylum in India and lived for seven years as poet- in-residence at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, returning to Pakistan only after the end of the Zia regime. She continues to write and speak vociferously on women’s issues in Pakistan, as well as on Pakistan’s religio-political scenario.

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Famida Riaz
Fahmida Riaz (1946- ) counts amongst one of Pakistan’s foremost senior woman poets. She has several volumes of poetry to her credit as well as an acclaimed novel. Her poetic stance is feminist, bold, fearless, and anti-establishmentarian. Exiled for alleged sedition during the regime of general Zia ul Haq in 1981, Riaz sought asylum in India and lived for seven years as poet- in-residence at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, returning to Pakistan only after the end of the Zia regime. She continues to write and speak vociferously on women’s issues in Pakistan, as well as on Pakistan’s religio-political scenario.

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