Habib Jalib

(24 March 1928 - 12 March 1993 / Hoshiarpur, Punjab / British India)

Dastoor - Poem by Habib Jalib

The light which shines only in palaces
Burns up the joy of the people in the shadows
Derives its strength from others’ weakness
That kind of system,
like dawn without light
I refuse to acknowledge,
I refuse to accept

I am not afraid of execution,
Tell the world that I am the martyr
How can you frighten me with prison walls?
This overhanging doom,
this night of ignorance,
I refuse to acknowledge,
I refuse to accept

“Flowers are budding on branches”, that’s what you say,
“Every cup overflows”, that’s what you say,
“Wounds are healing themselves”, that’s what you say,
These bare-faces lies,
this insult to the intelligence,
I refuse to acknowledge,
I refuse to accept

For centuries you have all stolen our peace of mind
But your power over us is coming to an end
Why do you pretend you can cure pain?
Even if some claim that you’ve healed them,
I refuse to acknowledge,
I refuse to accept.

[Translation of Urdu Poem 'Dastoor']


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Poem Submitted: Friday, March 16, 2012

Poem Edited: Friday, March 16, 2012


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