Culture & Society

Poem: Outside, I Was Told

Dr Huzaifa Pandit translates a poem by Abdur Rehman Rahi, one of the foremost exponents of Kashmiri literature who died earlier this week at the age of 98.

Dr Huzaifa Pandit translates a poem by Kashmiri poet Abdur Rehman Rahi.
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Abdur Rehman Rahi was a Kashmir poet, translator, and critic. He was one of the foremost exponents of Kashmiri literature and he authored a dozen books and translations. He was also awarded with the prestigious Jnanpith Award and the Sahitya Akademi Fellowship. 

Rahi died on Monday at the age of 98. He was an influential figure in Kashmir’s literary scene. 

Dr Huzaifa Pandit has translated a poem by Rahi below. 

All awareness severed,
Surroundings throbbed in my insides

Its call silenced; voice muted
The shrinking rivulet blurs before the cicada –
Drowsiness has extracted its due. 
Wings muffled, 
Sulking shadows in tearing hurry
The sky claws at its wounds futilely 
and the breeze stilled by languor 
Pestilence stricken toys slip out 
from feeble hands —
lost without a trace. 

Where have gone those — those 
tormented by desire?
Every twig, every bough was bedecked
with tinsel.     
Now a feeble ray is left at my tip 
— eyes expectant, lain in wait for Navroz 
When spring will again stretch its arms
And summer run riot with colour
and tempestuous fragrance 
Heir of epochs.
What then if sunshine is lost 
and darkness begins to weave its snare?
I will not doze. 
Dust hovering in the breeze 
has receded — a grain at a time. 
Evening shadows brew scheming whispers. 
The lone apple of my eyes — this naïve ray 
will also find a pretext. 
See! How fair, how comely, how intent
Yet when dark has extracted its due,
Who will speak out for it?
Eyes groping in the dark
Hands bereft, numb 
A circle without a centre. 

(Dr Huzaifa Pandit is an Assistant Professor at Government Degree College, Pampore.)

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