The March To The Footpath / Aaj Ke Naam – Intesaab by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

The sun has set, darkness has risen, and now it begins like every night — the march to the footpath. I can almost feel them crawl under my skin, slithering through my body, inching slowly to some lane beyond the window. I have never seen them walk; these creatures of the footpath always appear dead. They breathe, but through a heaving carapace, wriggling under heaps of  their own. No not vermin, no not human either — which a human is like this? — they are something else. Creatures of the dark, they are perhaps mutants made to survive this wretched city. They feed on the urban dust, and as everything turns to dust, they keep on feeding and keep on growing.

Are they city’s night-watch? They watch us sleep everynight. Crawling to another footpath, they watch you from there. Don’t blind yourself, admit that you have seen their march; that at least once they have crawled under you skin like they crawl under mine. It can’t be my imagination alone. 

Step out of your confine once, and you will be among them. Yet you will never be one of them. They are beyond our reach, evolved to survive this crippling city. We think we survive this urban jungle. We think we make this city. But we make nothing; only dust.

I have tried to shut their thought out. I tried to shut it all out. I closed my door, I shut the windows and drew the curtains. I tried to wash it out too. I dusted my shoes, washed my clothes and washed myself. Yet, without fail, every morning, the dust they feed on mocks me, circling the first ray of light breaking in through this window. Not a wall, not a door, not a cloth, nothing separates us from them. 

Do you feel your heart weakening; its beat slowing down against the gushing flow of city? I feel mine is turning to dust. I must be crazy to scare you. I don’t even intend to warn you. I just wanted to tell you. Ok. Sleep now. It’s alright! I am sure something else will turn to dust tonight, and they’ll get to that. You’ll survive tonight. 

PS: I step out tonight.

Aaj Ke Naam -Intesaab by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Aaj Ke Naam
Aaj Ke Gam Ke Naam
Aaj Kaa Gam Ki Hai Zindagii Ke Bhare Gulasitaan Se Khafaa

Zard Patton Kaa Ban

Zard Patton Kaa Ban Jo Meraa Des Hai
Dard Kaa Anjuman Jo Meraa Des Hai
Kilarkon Kii Afasurdaa Jaanon Ke Naam
Kirm_Khurdaa Dilon Aur Zabaanon Ke Naam
Post-Mainon Ke Naam
Tangewaalon Ke Naam
Rel_Baanon Ke Naam
Kaarakhaanon Ke Bhole Jiyaalon Ke Naam
Baadashaah-E-Jahaan, Waali-E-Maasivaa, Nae_Bullaah-E-Fil-Arz, Dahakaan Ke Naam

Jis Ke Dhoron Ko Zaalim Hankaa Le Gaye
Jis Kii Betii Ko Daakuu Uthaa Le Gaye
Haath Bhar Khet Se Ek Angusht Patavaar Ne Kaat Lii Hai
Duusarii Maaliye Ke Bahaane Se Sarakaar Ne Kaat Lii Hai
Jis Ke Pag Zor Waalon Ke Paanvon Tale
Dhajjiyaan Ho Gayi Hai

Un Dukhii Maaon Ke Naam
Raat Men Jin Ke Bachche Bilakhate Hain Aur
Niind Kii Maar Khaaye Hue Baazuuon Se Sanbhalate Nahiin
Dukh Bataate Nahiin
Minnaton Zaariyon Se Bahalate Nahiin

Un Hasiinaaon Ke Naam
Jinakii Aankhon Ke Gul
Chilamanon Aur Darichon Kii Belon Pe Bekaar Khil Khil Ke
Murjhaa Gaye Hain
Un Byaahataaon Ke Naam
Jinake Badan
Be_Mohabbat Riyaakaar Sejon Pe Saj Saj Ke Ukataa Gaye Hain
Bewaaon Ke Naam
Kata.Diyon Aur Galiyon, Muhallon Ke Naam
Jinakii Naapaak Khaashaak Se Chaand Raaton
Ko Aa Aa Ke Karataa Hai Aksar Wazuu
Jinakii Saayon Men Karatii Hai Aaho-Bukaa
Aanchalon Kii Hinaa
Chuu.Diyon Kii Khanak
Kaakulon Kii Mahak
Aarazuumand Siinon Kii Apane Pasiine Men Jalane Kii Buu
Pa.Danewaalon Ke Naam
Wo Jo Asahaab-E- Tablo-Alam
Ke Daron Par Kitaab Aur Qalam
Kaa Takaazaa Liye, Haath Phailaaye
Pahunche, Magar Laut Kar Ghar Na Aaye
Vo Maasuum Jo Bholepan Men
Wahaan Apane Nanhe Chiraagon Men Lau Kii Lagan
Le Ke Pahunche Jahaan
Bant Rahe The Ghataatop, Be-Ant Raaton Ke Saaye
Un Asiiron Ke Naam
Jin Ke Siinon Men Fardaa Ke Shabataab Gauhar
Jel_Khaanon Kii Shoriidaa Raaton Kii Sar-Sar Men
Jal-Jal Ke Anjum-Numaan Ho Gaye Hain
Aanewaale Dinon Ke Safiiron Ke Naam
Vo Jo Khushbuu-E-Gul Kii Tarah
Apane Paigaam Par Khud Fidaa Ho Gaye Hain

(Left incomplete by Faiz)

Beautiful translation from :

Dedicated to these times, and the sorrow of these times.
The pain of today, that is set against the plentiful garden of life.
The forest of dead leaves, that is my land.
The collection of pain that is my land.

Dedicated to the gloomy lives of clerks
Moth eaten hearts and words.
Dedicated to the postmen
Dedicated to the coachmen
Dedicated to the railway workers
Dedicated to the innocent beings in the factories.

O Emperor of the World, Master and God’s representative on this Earth,
this is dedicated to the farmer
whose herds were run off by the wicked men
and whose daughter was carried off by the dacoits.
One finger of whose handful of land was cut by the bureaucrats
and another finger by the government, in the name of taxation.
Whose pride is destroyed under the feet of the men with power.

Dedicated to the sad mothers
whose children sob at night.
Sleepless, who are not steadied by an embrace.
Don’t share what ails them,
and are not consoled by entreaties or tears.

Dedicated to the beautiful girls,
the beauty of whose eyes
on every balcony, behind every curtain,
blossomed in vain and withered away.

Dedicated to those wives
whose bodies have grown tired of trying to look beautiful on loveless beds
…-dedicated to the widows.

Dedicated to the lanes in the slums and colonies
Whose scattered garbage and refuse the moon often contemplates and sanctifies
In the night.
From amongst whose shadows emanates
The hennaed hair under the veils
The clink of bangles
The scent of loosened tresses.
The stench of impassioned bodies burning in their own sweat.

Dedicated to the students
Those who arrived at the gates of the officials
Petitioning with open arms for pen and paper.
But never came back.
Those innocents who, in their idealism,
took the fire of dedicated learning in their young hearts
and reached where
Were being promiscuously distributed the shadows of endless nights.

Dedicated to those prisoners
in whose hearts the future shone like a pearl
But was burnt in the troubled nights of the prison
and diminished into a tiny flicker.

Dedicated to the heralders of the days to come
Those, who, like the scent of a rose, are
Enraptured by their own message.

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