Tag Archives: Pash

Pash: The Most Dangerous Thing

Standard

The Most Dangerous Thing

The life of a pirate is not so dangerous
nor is a bashup in a police lockup
spying too is not very dangerous

to be woken up in the middle of the night
by the secret police
I admit is nerve wrecking
so is the quiet lonely fear
which follows you
and throttles your chest
when you are locked up in a cell
on a framed up false charge
for a crime you did not commit
all this I admit is bad enough
but all these are still not so dangerous

because the most dangerous thing is
to live like a dead man
when you don’t feel any thing
when the routine of daily life saps you totally
the fixed life of
home to work
work to home
that is a life without dreams
that is the most dangerous thing

that is when
the hour is alive and kicking for everyone
excepting for you
that life is the most dangerous thing

because
like the eyes of a dead fish
you stare at everything
but cannot feel anything
about yourself
or about others
that’s why
the most dangerous are those people
who have forgotten how to love people
for such people
live and shift aimlessly
in the ordinary humdrum orbit of their lives
in which nothing happens
nothing moves
like a placid cemetery

these people
are like that cold blooded moon
which feels nothing
no pain, love, sympathy or revulsion
when it goes over the courtyards
of the innocent victims
butchered in a slaughter

the most ugly sight is
that of a debauched old man
who is trying to sing a melody
but only succeeds in racking his weak chest

So the most dangerous life is the one
in which our conscience doesn’t prick you
because your soul is dead
that’s why I say

piracy is not so dangerous
spying is not so dangerous
bashup in a police lockup is not so dangerous
the most dangerous life is…

Translated by Suresh Sethi

Courtesy: Pash ‘s poetry in English

A radical poem by Pash

Standard

Pash was the pen name of Avtar Singh Sandhu (September 9, 1950 – March 23, 1988), an Indian poet. His strongly left-wing views were reflected in his poetry.

He was born in Talwandi Salem, Jalandhar, Punjab, growing up in the midst of Naxalite a revolutionary movement waged in punjab against the landlords, industrialists, traders, etc who control the means of production. He published his first book of revolutionary poems, Loh-Katha (Iron Tale) in 1970; his militant and provocative tone raised the ire of the establishment and a murder charge was hastily brought against him. He spent nearly two years in jail, before being finally acquitted.

On acquittal, he became involved in Punjab’s maoist front, editing a literary magazine, Siarh (The Plow Line). He became a popular political figure on the left during this period, and was awarded a fellowship at the Punjabi Academy of Letters in 1985. He toured the United Kingdom and the United States the following year; while in the U.S., he became involved with the Anti-47 Front, opposing Sikh extremist violence.

The brilliant journey of poetry was cut short in the year 1988 when Paash who was in Punjab for a holiday from the US was shot dead by a group of terrorists.

Bio note courtesy: wikipedia

image courtesy: facebook

Time is not a dog

* Avtar Singh Sandhu ‘Pash’

If not Frontier, read Tribune
If not Calcutta, talk about Dacca
Bring the clippings from
Organiser and Punjab Kesari
And tell me
Where are these eagles  flying?
Who has died?
Time is not any dog
That can be chained and driven wherever you like
You tell us
Mao says this and Mao says that
I ask you, who is Mao to say anything?
Words cannot be pawned away
Time itself can speak
Moments are not speechless.
You sit in the Ramble
Or drink a cup of tea from a side stall
Speak truth or lie –
It doesn’t matter,
You may even jump over the corpse of silence
——-
And O rulers, ask
Your police and tell me
Whether I am imprisoned behind the bars
Or this policeman standing across?
Truth is not a whore of AIR
Time is not any dog.

Translated from Punjabi by Pratyush Chandra.

Poem courtesy: Radical Notes, here