O Noble Men
Translated by Kanupriya Dhingra
Whether I die or someone else dies,
Humanity dies after all
Whether there is a war in the East or in the West
Peace dies after all
How can it resolve any problem, you say?
War is a problem in itself.
It yields fire and blood today,
Gives hunger and penury tomorrow
Why shed blood, at all
Only to confirm greatness?
Why burn houses, at all
Only to shun darkness?
Whether there's bombardment on houses, or at the frontier
Wounds are revealed on the spirit of construction, eventually.
Whether one’s own fields are burnt or another's
Life is wrecked by starvation, eventually.
The earth’s womb goes barren
Whether tanks retreat or are in progress.
In celebrating victory, in lamentations of loss
Life weeps on bodies, they're lifeless.
O noble men, therefore,
Let us shun war, it is for the better
In courtyards, both yours and mine.
Let us light candles, it is for the better
Read the Urdu original here.
Sahir Ludhianvi was an Indian poet and film lyricist who wrote in Hindi and Urdu.
Kanupriya Dhingra is a research scholar at the Department of English, University of Delhi. She writes and translates in Hindi and English.
These poems are part of ICF's unfolding Citizens against War series of literature and art, initiated in the spirit of listening: to our poets, artists, fellow citizens, against war and warmongering.
Text © Sahir Ludhianvi; translation © Kanupriya Dhingra
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