Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Listen, mother

It is customary for traditional poets, those who lament in Punjabi, Sindhi, Urdu, to bring in the mother somehow. Questions, rhetorical questions, are asked of the maae, exhortations are made - tell him, mother! where do I go, mother? how shall I bear this, mother? I have befriended a hawk, mother!
It is a poetic device, I tell myself. But there is no denying that I have come across an inordinate number of such laments today. Here is one by Shiv Kumar Batalvi:

माये नि माये,
मेरे गीताँ दे नैणा विच
बिरहों दी रडक पवे...
अधि अधि रातीं उठ
रोण मोये मित्राणु
माये, साणु नींद न पवे...

Listen, mother,
My songs are eyes
Stinging with grains of separation.
In the middle of the night,
They wake and weep for dead friends.
Mother, I cannot sleep.*

*Translation: Suman Kashyap

And you must listen to this man sing it:

1 comment:

Amit said...

Ah! Thanks for sharing this gem. Hooked!