by Raza Rumi
Pak Tea House is grateful to Yasmin Hosain* for sharing her recent translation of Faiz‘s legendary peom “Bol ke lab Azaad Hai Teray“. We are posting this on the eve of the shut down of two news channels. Even though these channels are not always representing people, freedom of expression is non-negotiable and therefore it is a sad day for Pakistan.
Speak, for your lips are yet free;
Speak, for your tongue is still your own;
Your lissom body yours alone;
Speak, your life is still your own.
Look into the blacksmith’s forge:
The flame blazes, the iron’s red;
Locks unfasten open-mouthed,
Every chain’s link springing wide.
Speak, a little time suffices
Before the tongue, the body die.
Speak, the truth is still alive;
Speak: say what you have to say.
The original Urdu version is here:
bol ki lab aazaad hai.n tere
bol zabaa.N ab tak terii hai
teraa sutawaa.N jism hai teraa
bol ki jaa.N ab tak terii hai
dekh ke aaha.ngar kii dukaa.N me.n
tu.nd hai.n shole surKh hai aahan
khulane lage quffalo.n ke dahaane
phailaa har ek zanjiir kaa daaman
bol ye tho.Daa waqt bahot hai
jism-o-zabaa.N kii maut se pahale
bol ki sach zi.ndaa hai ab tak
bol jo kuchh kahane hai kah le
Watch this video for a rendition by Tina Sani.
*Yasmin Hosain has been an academic, translator and broadcaster and was also an Associate of Newnham College, Cambridge.