We Are All Ahmadi IX: Two Poems

I want to share these two poems with you. One comes from a place far from the site of the massacre and the other from its very neighborhood; one comes from within and the other from without. They are the voices everyone in Pakistan should hear.

I.
Salma A writes:

A Poem by Saqyb Zirvi1


When my heart rains tears in the small hours of the night,
my heart itself is visible in each teardrop.

Perhaps neither I nor this melody of life shall last till morn.
The stars are fading, and my heart is sinking.

I have been so much deceived by smiling faces, that whenever
someone bursts into laughter, my heart overflows with grief.

Neither beauty knows, nor are lovers aware of how the
heart is enthralled by an unknown face.

There are difficulties at every step for noble love. The eyes
commit the crime, and the heart feels the shame.

After all, what has the ship of love have to do with the shore?
Dashed by the billows, the heart tosses to and fro.

In love, O Saqyb, the eyes have a bad name without reason.
I have seen that the heart falls before the eyes do.

-Saqyb Zirvi

I have tried to comprehend the massacre in the context of who we are, as a community, as a “diaspora” and as individuals. And the gentle, noble people we have produced. I do not doubt the love many feel for their homeland, regardless of how it may feel towards them. I sadly, do not share in this love as I have never been, nor is it likely that I will ever be, part of that larger (and exclusive) narrative of belonging that so many take for granted. Instead, I have always tried to focus on the things that I admire about Pakistani culture in order to position myself in the world. It was the beauty of the Urdu language that kept me from feeling alienated. If we (Pakistan and I) had nothing else in common then at least there was this contested language to bridge that gap. Urdu was adopted as the lingua franca of the Ahmadi community a long time ago. It is also the official language of Pakistan. That was my link.

This past week however, I found myself emotionally estranged from Pakistani society and culture, after years of trying to reconcile myself to it, to the point where I had lost the urge to pick up Urdu poetry again. The mind is a funny thing; it makes and forges associations between things without really “thinking”. Until I remembered that one of the greatest modern Urdu poets, Saqyb Zirvi, was an Ahmadi. This is for him, and for all those innocent bodies we lost, and their ever living souls. And for a country I have never really known, that unimagined community.

II.
Naim Sahib posted this in a comment below, but it deserves a space above.

Wajahat Masood writes:
In May 28 attacks, I lost some of my close friends, including the head of Lahore Ahamdiyya Jamaat, Justice (R) Munir Sheikh. He happened to be the elder brother of my life long friend, Jamil Omer, as well. So many families that I have known were personally bereaved. The Model Town attack was just 200 yard from my house…. My 13 year old daughter, Kamini Masood, wrote a poem the day Jinnah Hospital (two days after Mosque attacks) was attacked and I quote:


Today my hope and pride have vanished,
That’s not to be denied
Today I sunk to the floor sobbing
With my arms open wide

The power does not lie with you,
to discuss or decide
who is worthy to be alive, and who
must be made to die

Do not go out to play children,
you may not come back inside

If tear-streaked faces of broken families
begged you to stop killing their sons,
would you reflect and see your wrongs,
or would you still load your guns?

For every girl who lost a father,
every wife now a widow,
I hope you see that you have spilled,
the blood splattered on my window

You do not hear the mourning mothers,
you do not see your father cry
then it is our sons and daughters,
Not your brothers and sisters that die

Do not go out to play children
you may not come back inside

———
  1. Translated by Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman Barker, Khwaja Muhammad Safi Dihlavi, Hasan Jahangir Hamdani in “A Reader of Modern Urdu Poetry”, McGill University Press: Montreal. 1968) []

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10 thoughts on “We Are All Ahmadi IX: Two Poems”

  1. Pingback: An Abandoned Man
  2. Tannin,

    As you do not give any indication of your background, I am afraid it is not clear to me what you are disagreeing with. All I said was that the Taliban are sub-human creatures who are murdering people indiscriminately: Shias, Sunnis, Ahmadis, et al. Too many Pakistani “liberals” are distorting the tragic events of 28 May to suit their respective agendas.

    The “westernised fascists” of Pakistan have created a system of apartheid in the country. They have created a bastardised culture where they speak a foreign language and write grandiose articles in Pakistan’s “English language press” while looking down with contempt at the parallel Urdu language press. It is these hypocrites who are indirectly responsible for most of Pakistan’s problems. They make no effort to convey humanist ideas to the general population by writing in the Urdu language press and educating their less fortunate citizens. Their self-indulgent pomposity is almost as vile as the ignorance and barbarity of the Taliban. It is these two evils which are destroying Pakistan.

    I am appalled at the lack of knowledge you have displayed about Islam. There is not a single country in the world that can be called an Islamic society. Islam is associated with the Qur’an, not with the rabid pronouncements of mullahs, which you seem to be taking as true Islam. May I request that you read the article indicated below (and the one referred to therein)?

    http://sakibahmad.blogspot.com/2010/06/islam-reality-beyond-time-and-space.html

  3. i agree wid ur views tannin, but muslims are doin exactly what catholics were doing before them, but if u want to claim that u r better than them and so on then instead of speaking , put it in action, but unfortunately there is no difference btw 13th century catholic heresies and 21st century islamic heresies,i think just as christianity underwent reformation leading to separation of church and state so will islamic countries have their own reformation, however i think that will take another 200 yrs to accomplish, and u r right about ahmadis movin out as they are flourishin in UK, and US which is a good thing but u always miss where u come from so i guess it will pain them when such things happen in their motherland

  4. As a comment on Sacha’s observations, Christianity saved most of it’s truly horrific slaughters for fellow Christians, which is not to say it didn’t slaughter Muslims, Jews and others as and when thought appropriate.
    But ‘heresies’, versions of Christianity challenging the accepted interpretation, typically the Roman Catholic, were utterly destroyed where that was possible.
    For example, the Cathars, or Albigenses, in southern France were defeated in battle and then rooted out to the last one over many years of inquisition, around the 1200 to 1300 ce ( say, 600 to 700 after ‘the prophet’.) Catholics also persecuted the Huguenots in France, 1500 ce to 1600 ce, shedding a great deal of blood, though in this case surviving Huguenots moved to Protestant countries, like England and Switzerland, and survived.
    Protestants and the Catholics, both Christians, murdered each other in largish numbers in the years 1400 ce to 1700 ce in various parts of Europe, including England.
    The heretic, who basicly buys the official and approved story, but insists on a few changes, is treated far more harshly and inhumanely, than the stranger who doesn’t buy any of the story.
    The lesson is, if you plan to start a new religion, don’t attach it to any of the current narratives, because the ‘owners’ of those narratives get very upset.
    Unless you are very powerful. When Jews, whose narrative started over 2000 years before ‘the prophet’, and Christians whose independent narrative started 600 years before ‘the prophet’, complained that ‘the prophet’ was misinforming his followers about their narratives, ‘the prophet’ had sufficient power, from volume of followers and military victories, to inform Jews and Christians that they had it wrong and that they were misinforming their own people about their narratives and he, ‘the prophet’, alone was telling the truth. Now than’s power.
    Ahmadis need to heed the Huguenots, and move to places, out of the Moslem world, where their industry, intellect and good citizenry will be appreciated.

  5. i think the fundamental problem with ahmadi muslims goes beyond pakistan in general, if we look at the root of it all, the real reason perhaps would be the islam’s and muslims allergic reaction to the later monotheistic religons that came up after islam was well established because while islam could dismiss jewish and Christian faith as brother faiths which had strayed from god’s true path and it could also dismiss all eastern philosophies as being raving polytheists and ancestor worshipers and if u see the kind of torture the early sikh gurus had to endure in mughal india or the exile of bahiullah and the treatment of bahais in iran and the treatment of ahmadis in pakistan they all have the same commonality all monotheistic faiths, the reasons sikhs somehow escape the persecution now although they still would be persecuted for being non muslims, is because they do not dispute or claim to dispute the finality of mohammed like the bahai or mirza ghulam ahmed therefore these two faiths are looked upon with more suspicion, as muslim majority nations find it difficult to classify as to where to put them, whether to call them muslims or non muslims, therefore the solution to the problem is not going to be from pakistan alone but from all the nations where muslims are in a significant majority that faith is a personal issue and need not be brought into the public sphere , and if someone does not agree with ur path well then to each his own, if he/she will burn in hellfire to their opinion then they will burn, atleast you dont make them burn while they are alive.

  6. Ahmad, I disagree.
    Pakistan cannot stop the periodic murder, and constant persecution, of Ahmadis because percentages of the population believes it reasonable, deserved or even required.
    Solving the murder and persecution of Ahmadis is therefore hugely difficult.
    Whatever ‘other’ motives the TTP may have had, it was ‘ the religion of peace’, as they have been taught it, which both demanded and sanctioned their heinous acts.
    As to what took place on the Turkish ship, let the Turkish government handle it; they, after all, were behind the whole endeavor.
    The Turkish govts rather sudden interest in the Palestinians couldn’t, of course, have anything to do with internal Turkish politics and boosting the Islamist side of that political struggle, or anything to do with Erdogan’s dream of a renewed Turkish hegemony over the arab world, could it ?
    Of course not.
    It’s just exactly as it seems……..must be, Erdogan says it is.
    My heart goes out to all Ahmadis as they suffer the pain of persecution from those who should be their brothers and sisters. I’m pleased that many have found safe sanctuary amongst Christians, Jews and others.

  7. I grew up playing with you, we made sand castles together. you were my Neighbour.
    But I am an ahmadi so when they kill me don’t forget to look away and ignore.

    I was your best friend, we shopped together. I helped you get through college
    But I am an ahmadi so when they kill me don’t forget to look away and ignore.

    I am your collegue, we work and laugh together. You share lunch with me.
    But I am an ahmadi so when they kill me don’t forget to look away and ignore.

    I am a human. I live, breathe, laugh and cry. My motto is Love for all Hatred for none.
    But I am an ahmadi so when they kill me don’t forget to look away and ignore.

    … The truth slapped me today and slapped me hard! My so called educatedfl friends some even from Foreign Universities dared not call me and share my grief. Those who ate with me, were eager to attend my family functions are quiet today- goes to show the immense hatred fabricated in every thread of Pakistani society. As every Ahmadi I seek refuge but with God.

  8. I am new to this blog. I have just read the ‘Ahmadi posts’ by gentleman Sepoy. I agree with much of what he says but I just wonder if he has got the timing right.

    The pain and anguish expressed by our Ahmadi brothers and sisters, and the wistful longing that some have expressed for their homeland despite the inhuman treatment they have received, are deeply touching. However, please remember that the tragic loss of life on Black Friday was not the result of sectarian violence. It was an attack by sub-human creatures who had previously murdered Pakistanis of all religious denominations.

    The situation in Pakistan is so warped at the moment that it is difficult to understand what is going on. The horror story that is being acted out on the vast Pakistani stage can be witnessed by all but the hands directing this nightmarish scene are hidden from view. Hence the preponderance of what some people have termed “conspiracy theories”, a most unfortunate term that discourages people from uncovering the ugly truth.

    At several blogs run by Pakistan’s self-styled “liberals” this tragedy has been used as a ploy to divert attention away from other issues of great national importance. I have felt sickened by the hypocritical public chest beating of these liberals, some of whom clearly have ulterior motives. What conclusion can you draw when people start suggesting that Pakistanis should focus only on their internal sectarian problems – on this occasion, at least, it is NOT a case of sectarian violence – and stay away from protesting against Israel’s murder of Turkish citizens taking relief supplies to Gaza!

    There is no denying the intensity of the hate and prejudice that exists in Pakistan against Ahmadi Muslims but we should not lose sight of the fact that the killers, the TTP fanatics, had other motives as well. I tried to highlight this aspect of the massacre in my post on 1 June but I may be in a minority of one:

    http://sakibahmad.blogspot.com/2010/06/self-destruction-of-pakistan.html

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