“When these high mountains
Of tyranny and oppression will turn to fluff
And we oppressed
Beneath our feet will have
this earth shiver, shake and beat
And heads of rulers will be struck
With crackling lightening and
We shall see, certainly we, too, will see
that day that has been promised us.” Fazlu sang the poetry in his melodious voice while Karam-deen reined the donkey, manipulating his cart through the traffic jam. Karam-deen felt the exhaustion of the day wearing off as he heard Fazlu sing.
“Where did you learn that from?” Karam-deen had asked Fazlu the day he had first heard him sing.
“Baba taught me, Karam chacha! He knew the verses by heart.” Fazlu had answered.
Everyday Karam-deen took Fazlu to work with him. Both of them had lost their families. Fazlu, when he was nine and Karam-deen, a couple of years back. He never asked Fazlu to lift a single brick off his cart. In return for the food and clothes he put on Fazlu’s small back, he only asked him to sing Faiz’s wonderful poetry.
Fazlu had to leave for FATA in a few days to live with some relatives of his. Karam-deen knew he would survive, the boy was tough. He tried to memorize the way his eyes closed and his forehead wrinkled in concentration while his voice echoed making time a witness to his small presence as if saying Look I exist. I was here!
A week later, on his way back from work Karam-deen got news of the drone attack that had massacred 15 people in FATA. Fazlu was one of them. His heart bled for him and for all the innocent people who were killed. As his body shook with grief and tears blurred his vision he found himself singing Fazlu’s poetry. Words spilled from his tongue, tumbling out, warming him up and with every word that came out, his shaking voice steadied a notch more. “When these high mountains…Of tyranny…”
©2013. Habiba Danyal
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The verse I have used here is from Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry “Hum Dekhaingay Gay” (We Shall See). Faiz is a renowned Urdu revolutionary poet and one of my favorites. As for the subject I chose for my story this week, I would like to mention that it is inspired by this line I read while surfing through some blogs:
“I would like to be a part of the world where terrorized children – all terrorized children – are wept for.”