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'Bol ki Lab Aazaad Hain Tere'

Snehal Shingavi

By Ali Husain Mir  and Raza Mir
IndiaInk, Delhi, 2006, pp. 272, Rs. 295.00


There is one kind of lament about Indian politics that has become commonplace: politics has become characterized only by corruption, selfindulgence, and venality. In fact, as this review is being written, India seems racked with some of the worst scandals at the highest levels of government since the infamous Bofors scandal of the 1980s. Against the backdrop of an overlyrehearsed drama of political criminality, we hear an equally poignant appeal for the traditions of justice and social change that have also long been a part of Indian history. Only these voices are smaller, and when they are not, like Binayak Sen, unjustly prosecuted and thrown in prison.   There is another kind of hope that has been resurrected with the rising of the Arab peoples against Americanbacked dictators all across North Africa and the Middle East: that power cannot indefinitely project itself without a challenge. The toppling of dictators in Tunisia and Egypt has raised the hopes of people throughout the world so much so that revolutionary politics are now on the upswing. They are also, incidentally, returning to the world of poetry. Abu alQasim alShabis poem To the Tyrants of the World was on the lips of protesters in Tunisia and then in Egypt.   You, the unfair tyrants...... You the lovers of the darkness........ You the enemies of life............. You've made fun of innocent peoples wounds; and your palm covered with their blood.   You kept walking while you were deforming the charm of existence and growing seeds of sadness in their land.   Wait, dont let the spring, the clearness of the sky and the shine of the morning light fool you..........   Because the darkness, the thunder rumble and the blowing of the wind are coming toward you from the horizon   Beware because there is a fire underneath the ash   Who grows thorns will reap wounds   You've taken off heads of people and the flowers of hope; and watered the cure of the sand with blood and tears until it was drunk The bloods river will sweep you away and you will be burned by the fiery storm.1 This is a poem that could have easily been in the Mir brothers Anthems of Resistance: A Celebration of Progressive Urdu Poetry, alongside Faiz, Sahir, Naheed, and Majrooh. Not only does alShabis poem ring out with the same power as the poetry of the early Progressive Writers Association, but its images would have ...

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