Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

I Ask Waris Shah Today

I Ask Waris Shah Today

Her famous poem on Partition

I ask Waris Shah (1) today to speak up somewhere from the graves
And to turn to a new page of the book of love

Once, when one daughter of Punjab wept, you had hit out by writing
Today a million daughters weep and implore you, Waris Shah:

Arise, O friend of the distressed! Arise, see the plight of your Punjab
Corpses lie strewn in the fields and Chenab is filled with blood

Someone has mixed poison into the waters of the five rivers
And that water is now irrigating the land

This fertile land is sprouting poison,
the horizon has turned scarlet-red and the curses fly to the sky

The poisonous wind that passes through the forest
Has transformed each bamboo-shoot into a cobra

The first snake-bite made the snake-charmer forget his spell
And the subsequent bites have addicted the people

They have been bitten again and again
And in no time, the limbs of Punjab have turned blue

Silenced are the songs in the streets, the thread of the spinning-wheels snapped
The girls have fled the courtyards, the whirr of the spinning wheels halted

The wedding beds and the boats have been thrown away
Today the branch with the swing on the Pipal has broken

The flute through which blew the breath of love is lost
All the brothers of Ranjha today have forgotten this art

Blood rained on the earth and the graves are leaking
And the princesses of love are crying amidst the tombs

All have become Qaidon (2) today, thieves of beauty and love
Today, wherefrom shall we get yet another Warish Shah?

I ask Waris Shah today to speak up somewhere from the graves
And to turn to a new page of the book of love


aaj aakhaaN waris shah nuuN

aaj aakhaN waris shah nuuN, kitoN kabraaN vichchoN bol,
te aaj kitab-e ishq daa koii aglaa varkaa phol

ik roii sii dhii punjaab dii, tuuN likh likh maare vaen,
aaj lakhaaN dhiiaaN rondiaa, tainuN waris shah nuN kahen

uTh dardmandaaN diaa dardiaa, uth takk apnaa punjaab
aaj bele lashaaN bichhiaaN te lahu dii bharii chenab

kise ne panjaN paniaN vichch dittii zahar ralaa**
te unhaaN paniiaaN dharat nuuN dittaa paanii laa**

is zarkhez zamiin de luun luun phuttia zaher **
gitth gitth charhiaaN laaliaN fuuT fuuT charhiaa kaher**

veh valliissii vha pher van van vaggii jaa, **
ohne har ik baaNs di vanjhalii ditti naag banaa **

pehlaa dang madaariaN, mantar gaye guaach, **
dooje dang di lagg gayii, jane khane nuN laag **

aagaaN kiile lok muNh, bus phir dang hi dang, **
palo palii punjaab de, neele pae gaye ang.**

gale'oN tutt'e giit phir trakaleon tuttii tand, **
trinjanoN tuttiaaN saheliaaN, chaRakhRre ghuukar band**

sane sej de beriaaN, luddaN dittiaaN rohr, **
sane daliaan peengh aj, piplaaN dittii toR **

jitthe vajdii sii phuuk pyaar dii, ve oh vanjhalii gayii guaach**
raanjhe de sab viir aaj, bhul gaye usadii jaach**

aj dhartii te lahuu varsiyaa, kabraaN paiaaN chon,
preet diaaN shaahzaadiaaN, aaj vichch mazaaraaN ron

aaj sabh 'Qaido' ban gaye, husn ishq de chor
aaj kitthoN liaaiye labbh ke waris shah ik hor

aaj aakhaN waris shah nuuN, kitoN kabraan vichchoN bol,
te aaj kitaab-e ishq daa, koii aglaa varkaa phol

This was transcribed and translated hurriedly - and, as usual, rather pathetically, by Sundeep Dougal - when Amrita Pritam's original was not handy. We hope to check and correct with the original. Verses marked with ** (and their clunky translation) are, perhaps later additions.

1. Waris Shah wrote the celebrated Punjabi classic Heer Ranjha. Many verses attributed to him have been shown to be later additions and accretions.

2 Qaidon, the uncle of Heer, was the villain in the eternal classic love story between Heer and Ranjha


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