Three Poems for Troubled Times: Abhi Tou Kuch Nahin Hua

Posted on January 13, 2011
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Poetry
35 Comments
Total Views: 37042

Share

Adil Najam

A cascade of horrible recent events, all involving an outpouring of violence – in thought, in words, in deed – and culminating in the brutal murder of Salman Taseer continues to haunt the Pakistani psyche. We are left numb in disbelief of a reality which we always knew: the dysfunctional divisions in society are not just a scar on the face of modern Pakistan, it is a bleeding wound that threats the very body politic of our fragile being.

The fanatical murder of Salman Taseer, and even more than that the reaction to it, has shaken us as we should have been shaken well before. As one tries desperately to make sense of the senselessness that surrounds us, this line from an old poem by Himayat Ali ShairAbhi tou kuch nahiN hua – keeps coming back to hound one’s senses. Indeed, this, along with two other poems – Obaidullah Aleem’s ‘Meyray shehr jal rahey hain, mairey loug marr rahen hain’ and Ahmed Faraz’s ‘Aaj aisa nahiN, aisa nahiN honay daina’ – resound today even though all three were written inn very different times for different (but not unrelated) crises. They are all worth a listen again:

Himayat Ali Shair: Abhi tou kuch nahiN hua

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Obaidullah Aleem: Meray loug marr rahey haiN

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ahmed Faraz: Aaj aisa nahiN, aisa nahiN, honay daina

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

All three were written in very different times – Aleem in 1971, Faraz and (I think) Shair in the 1980s – in different contexts and about different but very related challenges to the ones we face today. Each was a cry of pain and a warning to the nation. Warnings we did not heed. One listens to them today and one wishes we had paid attention then. One also wonders if, in fact, we are paying attention even today.

The self-righteousness and intolerance on everything that everyone seems to have is frightening. Even on the most minor things and even in our comments section, just disagreeing seems to be never enough; there seems to be a compulsion to be disagreeable and uncivil, and forever angry. The hatred we display for anyone who we do not agree with and the violence we justify on the basis of that hatred boggles the mind. Intolerance is everywhere.

Anyone we disagree with becomes not just a subject of  disagreement, but a fair target for slander and character assassination, verbal abuse, and ultimately murder. Indeed, there is a huge difference between venting anger with words and anger that leads to murder. But both lie on the same progression. A society that tolerates – and promotes – too much of the first will inevitably harvest too much of the latter.

It is good that at least some discussion has begun on what is happening to this society where everyone seems forever angry, forever incensed, and forever aggrieved, and forever at the tip of blowing up. But in proportion to the air of self-righteousness that pervades society the discussion is too little, and may well be too late. Some of the chest-beating is also self-serving and itself so angry as to lose its own meaning. But, at least, we are beginning to talk about things we have been ignoring for too long. That is a good sign. Maybe we should also do a little listening. It would be good to begin by listening to the reasoned words in these three poems. Reason is often the first casualty of anger. Ultimately, it is also the only antidote.

P.S. We are adding a fourth poem, sent to us by a reader, called Abhi kuch dair baqi hai by Shakil Jaffery:

Related Posts with Thumbnails

35 responses to “Three Poems for Troubled Times: Abhi Tou Kuch Nahin Hua

  1. Samdani says:

    Had not heard the first one before. It is very powerful:
    Abhi to kuch nahen hua
    Abhi to ibtida hai yeh

    Although it seems that what he was afraid would follow (anarchy) is now already there.

  2. Rafique says:

    A wise post. But probably wasted on your readers. You are speaking to a lynch mob, your reasonable and reasoned words are wasted.

  3. Kafir Per Pakistani Law says:

    @Adil Najam,

    You must have heard:
    WHAT GOES AROUND, COMES AROUND.

    Dear it all started when in 1974, good people i you could NOT standup against their beloved, popular, intellectual, charismatic leader Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

    Blood trail of Shahadat of Salman Taseer leads to Pakistan Parliamant and ends on hands of ZAB.
    Although, Malik Qadri pulled the trigger on ST, but it was ZAB who loaded the gun and handed it to Malik Qadri to fire.
    So, the real murderer of ST is NOT Malik Qadri, rather ZAB!

  4. Kafir Per Pakistani Law says:

    Abhi tou kuch nahiN hua

    Abi agay agay dekhiay hota hay kia

    If Pakistan is to survive, then 2nd constitutional ammendment has to go and along with it PPC 298A,B,C.
    Otherwise fellow Pakistanis in part of country should get their Passports ready to visit other parts of today’s Pakistan!

  5. Ghani says:

    Thought provoking.
    I think the role of the media in fueling this culture of anger should also be explored. Have you noticed that no matter what the subject (from cricket to gajrella) the reporter is always angry that the “government is not ding enough”

  6. Durrani says:

    Very well said:

    naara-i-hubb-i-watan maal-i-tajarat ki tarhaan
    jinss-i-arzaan ki tarhaa deen-i-khuda ki baatein

  7. Tahir says:

    You ask: ” Each was a cry of pain and a warning to the nation. Warnings we did not heed. One listens to them today and one wishes we had paid attention then. One also wonders if, in fact, we are paying attention even today.”

    The answer is NO, we are still not paying attention. Only filling air space with silly chatter.

  8. Asif Ali says:

    @ Rafique
    what are you some sort of “Dr. No” sitting in front of echelon console ?
    how did you arrive to the conclusion that ATP readers are ” lynch mob”
    you are wrong if some how you were slightly right choice of wording in your comment makes you “pot” who is calling the kettle black

    @ kafir Sahib
    تسی بندے بنو ایہ ایک ھور نوا شوشہ کافراں والا شروع کرن لگے او ؟ اگے پاکستان وچ ہر طرح دے کافر تھوڑے نے
    ویسے میں تے اینجے تواڈے نال دل پشوری کرن لگان وان مینو پتا لگ گیا تسی مشوری کسے ھور چیز دی کرنے دے چکر وچ ہو
    میرا مشورہ منو تسی کوئی ہور گھر تآَڑو کیوں کے اس بلاگ تے بڑے بڑے سیانے بابے آندے نے اوہ تواڈے چکر وچ نئی پھسن گے

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*