A defiant voice | Political economics

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Akbar Barakzai, who died on March 8, was one of the most provocative progressive voices in Balochistan after Mir Gul Khan Naseer. He belonged to the generation of poets who witnessed the political and literary activism of Muhammad Hussain Unqa, Sher Mohammad Marri, Mir Gul Khan Naseer and Azat Jamaldini. They are known to be the political minds and architects of modern Baloch literature. Their art responds to the social and political aspirations of their time. Deeply influenced by progressive ethos and credentials, they raised their voices for a just and humane society.

Barakzai was no exception. He sought to reshape the mainstream sociopolitics and wrote for liberty and freedom, peace and prosperity, and the dignity of humanity. His unwavering love for human dignity transcends all geographical and cultural boundaries and becomes universal. his poem My Insanan (We Are All Human) reminds us that despite differences in creed and race, all human beings in the world share certain common traits and bonds on the basis of humanity:

Of blood and brotherhood

We share common traits and bonds

Love is all we reap

On freedom our faith rests

Indeed the whole world is ours

we are all human

we are all human

Likewise, in poems like Viet Cong man aan (I am Viet Cong) and April 1978 expresses solidarity with the people of Vietnam and Afghanistan. Both poems embody a shared sense of victory against oppressive powers.

Rocha Kay Kosht ​​Kanth? (Who Can Smother the Sun?), written against the backdrop of Che Guevara’s execution, is not only Barakzai’s most quoted poem, but it is also one of the most notable Balochi poems touching the theme of resistance and challenge. In this poem, he uses the metaphor of the sun for Che Guevara. Moreover, he compares those who celebrate the cold-blooded murder of Che to blind night owls, afraid to face the light, the truth:

Who can smother the sun?

Who can suppress the light?

In the kingdom of dark night

Proclaimed the night owls

Turned off the sun

They rejoiced and reveled in a trance

With wine, songs and dance

The following culminating lines of this poem lend credence to its universality in both appeal and relevance:

No one can ever smother the sun

Or remove the light

In the dark desert of night

The blind night owls celebrated in vain

The triumphant sun comes out every day

spread its influence around the world

Humanity’s primordial struggle and subsequent triumph over the forces of tyranny and darkness also resonates in the following lines of the poem titled Tarek (Story):

I will remain eternal, my light too

The darkness won’t last long

Nor ever his descendants

The age of tyranny won’t last forever

I am the keeper of the truth

i am the story

The ruthless story

Challenge is at the heart of Barakzai’s poetry. Not only does he hate submission and docility, but he also urges posterity to emulate the principles of defiance and dissent against powers that seek to suppress the truth. The poem titled Innan (No) is addressed to the poet’s young daughter – though nonconformity is the very essence of the poem. It begins with the following lines:

I wish on your lips

Forever remains the word “No”

That’s the word

All the glory and pleasure of life

Pour from

He sought to reshape the dominant socio-political order and wrote for freedom and liberty, peace and prosperity, and the dignity of mankind. His unwavering love for human dignity transcends all geographical and cultural boundaries and becomes universal.

The poet seeks to instill the ideals and values ​​of defiance in the younger generation. Instead of remaining silent, he urges them to defend the glory of truth even at the cost of their lives:

Go ahead and embrace the tides

that change the course of life

But to the rule of death say “No”

Always raise the banner of truth

But to lies and falsehoods say “No”

Offer a warm welcome to the light

But to the curse of darkness say “No”

Likewise, in the poem Labz (The Words), he insists that people speak out against any form of tyranny because their very voice will shape their destiny. In other words, he asserts that their salvation lies in their eloquence:

Never bury the word

In the pit of your chest

rather express the word

Yes, talk about it!

The word is freedom

End of oppression

Light and shine

beauty and happiness

Oppression is as old as the human race. Men over the centuries have practiced oppression both openly and secretly, individually and collectively. Barkazai Poem Qudrat and Qanoun (The Law of Nature) is a poignant depiction of oppression and subjugation. The poem is above all a dialogue between two voices; the oppressor and the oppressed. The first addresses the second with sarcastic remarks and asks him to submit to his authority otherwise his survival will remain in danger:

Have you ever thought?

On the law of nature

Still mastered in the world

Are the weak and the vulnerable

A shark feeds on small herring

A lion hunts the ibex

Locust Falcon Birds and Prey

However, despite his gentleness, he refuses to bow down to her authority. Rather, he addresses him with a defiant tone:

It’s true that you are the mighty overlord

I’m just a miserable slave

But listen to me

But I’m also a man, a descendant of Adam

No matter how much you oppress me

I won’t accept your law of nature

A pretext for my subjugation

No matter how powerful you are

No matter how weak and fragile I am

Barakzai not only celebrates the defeat of imperialist powers all over the world, but also extols the scientific achievements of mankind, especially those in the field of space science as the common heritage of mankind. He is convinced that the salvation of humanity lies in science and that its triumph over the celestial bodies will open the way to a better world.

The flight of Sputnik in 1957 was heralded as one of the most remarkable marvels that man has achieved in history. Barakzai wrote a short poem celebrating this historic moment:

Finally he trapped the moon and the stars

And subjugated the skies forever

The flight of Sputnik is indeed a marvel

Without a doubt, man is the greatest of all.

Moreover, in Insan and Kamal (Man’s Marvel) it also pays a poetic tribute to the successful flight of Luna-2.

Barakzai, who often called himself a part-time poet, was not a prolific writer. During a literary journey that spans approximately seven decades, he has released only two anthologies of his poetry. However, the poems he wrote to celebrate mankind and his triumph over nature and his victory over imperialism will be hailed as a common heritage of mankind.

*All translations by the author


The writer is a translator. He is also an Assistant Professor at Atta Shad Degree College, Turbat. He tweets @FazalBaloc


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