Aurat (Woman)

Kaifi Azmi

[Kaifi Azmi (1919 – 2002) a great Urdu poet of 20th Century was a member of the Communist Party of India and of the Urdu Progressive Writers Movement. These associations made him embark on the path of socially conscious poetry. His progressive thinking is evident in one of his most potent poems, Aurat (Woman)]

Arise, my love, for now you must march with me
Flames of war are ablaze in our world today
Time and fate have the same aspirations today
Our tears will flow like hot lava today
Beauty and love have one life and one soul today
You must burn in the fire of freedom with me
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me
Patience will not help you struggle through life
Blood, not tears, sustains the pulse of life
You will fly when you’re free and not ensnared by love
Heaven is not just in the arms of the man you love
Walk unfettered on the path of freedom with me
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me
Wherever you go sacrifice awaits you
To surrender is a way of life for you
All your charms condemn you
The ways of the world are poison for you
Change the seasons to flourish and be free
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.
History has not known your worth thus far
You have burning embers too, not merely tears
You’re reality too, not a mere amusing anecdote
Your personality is something too, not just your youth
You’ve to change the title of your history
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.
Emerge out of ancient bondage, break the idols of tradition,
the weakness of pleasure, this mirage of fragility
these self-drawn boundaries of imagined greatness
the bondage of love, for this too is a bondage
Not merely the thorns on the path, you have to trample on flowers too
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.
Shatter these resolve breaking suspicions of sermons
these vows that have become shackles
this too, this necklace of emeralds
these standards set by the wise men
You have to turn into a tempest, bubble and boil over
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.
You are Aristotle’s philosophy, Venus, Pleiades
You control the sky, the earth at your feet
Yes, raise, fast, raise your forehead from the feet of fate
I too am not going to pause, nor will the time
How long would you falter, you have to be firm
Arise, my love, for now you must march with me.

(The translations are  by Nasreen Rehman)

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