Friday, May 5, 2017

Rahi, live, drink, die



Zinda [living] rozna bapat chi [for] maran [die] lukh [people],
Tche [you] marakh [die] naa [no]
Lotpeth [quietly] chekha [drink] pyala [the cup] kyoho [why]
uff [ahh] ti [why] karakh naa [no]


Tharre [hind] t'chaane [your] asann [spot] traaye[gait, I see],
gachann [destined] Jaaye [place] wuchaan [I look] chus [for],
Mane kehenze Rihell gonche [bud] folith [blossomed] aay
sarakh [tend] na [no].

Tharre [creeper] t'chaane [your] asann [spot] traaye [grown],
gachan [will] Zaaye [be wasted] wuchaan chus [I see] ,
Man't'henze[smoketree shrub] Rihell [small] gonche [bud] folith [blossomed] aay
sarakh [tend] na [no].

Lotpeth [quietly] chekha [drink] pyala [the cup] kyoho [why]
uff [ahh] ti [why] karakh naa [no]

Na [No] chu daari [window] alaan [movement] pardi [curtain] ti [and],
na [No] chu brandi [courtyard] dazaan [burns] T'chong [lamp]
Waawas [wind] chu, wanan kaw [crow asks] chi [you], moluum [enquire] karakh naa [No]
Lotpeth [quietly] chekha [drink] pyala [the cup] kyoho [why]
uff [Ahh] ti [why] karakh naa [no]

Tatte [hot] Lawwe [sprinkle] chi khasaan [climbs] Naare bubarr [fiery flames] prewe [grace] chu wasaan [downs] sheen [snow],
Hay [hey] pardi [veil] chechi [fades] myoon [mine] kruhun [black],
gaam [village] karakh naa
gaam karakh naa
Lotpeth [quietly] chekha [drink] pyala [the cup] kyoho [why]
uff [Ahh] ti [why] karakh naa [no]

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In 1990s, they complained that the villages didn't rise up, if only they too had joined the chorus, that poet Rehman Rahi was silent, that he didn't sing the popular tune. Now, his silence is being explored and re-marketed. There are villages to be inflamed, what better than the tongue of the man who sang of villages in which even birds recited Koran. Now, Rahi too is a poet of the Tahreek, when a Hizbul Mujahideen dies in some village in Kashmir, people on Facebook share "Zinde Rozan'e bapath chi maraan Lukh che te marakh na. Lotte paeth chakha pyaale kyoho Uff te karakh na." (People are dying to live. Will you drink your poison in silence, won't you protest)...like it is some kind of primal call to embrace death, forgetting that among the charges on Socrates was the charge that his beliefs were not same as rest of his community. His charge was blasphemy.

Poets, real poets, are complicated and even more so are the worlds and words they deal in. There is story that in the charged atmosphere of late 60s Rahi read a poem on death that shocked people as they thought it was all too propagandistic and reactionary. Only later he told his audience that his work was just a translation of Maxim Gorky's 'Death and the Maiden', a favorite of that man named Stalin. There is a famous painting of the scene: Gorky narrating the poem to Stalin and Molotov. Poet Rahi all too well knows how Stalinism turned out for the poet and that country. Do his readers know? If is fine to dig out that Kashmiri poem and sell it in villages of Kashmir minus the context? Will it not be called propaganda?

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