The Second Exile: An English Translation of Kaifi Azmi’s Doosra Banbas – An Excerpt

Musings are not poetry. Poetry is a vaster and deeper art. It is like an ocean, sometimes restless and sometimes silent. The poet creates a storm in this ocean. He has his own
purpose too. Sometimes he wishes to change the order of the entire world totally and sometimes he wants to live in his own utopia, the paradise which every human dreams of. But look at this world of colour and perfume more closely and dwell on the purpose of life.
Success, failure, happiness, sorrow, tension and turmoil in human beings appear in some form either as action or reaction in the mind. Some picture out of these happens to coincide with a ghazal or poem, then on one side it becomes a source of comfort for mental thirst and on the other side it intensifies the power to act.

Kaifi Azmi (1919-2002) was a prominent poet among the progressive poets of Urdu. His poetry voices a commitment to social justice and gender empowerment and is a celebration of India’s diversity and pluralism. His three major poetry collections are Jhankar (1943), Akhir-e-Shab (1947) and Awara Sajde (1973).

The beauty and rhythm of Urdu poetry has kindled the imagination since ages and has never failed to transform and transmute the heart and soul of the reader.

Kaifi Azmi has however widened the dimensions of Urdu poetry by creating an awakening towards a just and gender sensitive society and also by celebrating the finer nuances of love. The verse of Kaifi Azmi is a blazing torch of inspiration and motivation for young and old alike.

This book is a translation of Kaifi Azmi’s Doosra Banbas, a collection of both famous and less known poems by him. The main poem “Doosra Banbas” expresses how grieved Ram was on his return from exile at the demolition of the Babri mosque and so he took up a second exile.

The translation hopes to bring the best verses of Kaifi Azmi to the non-Urdu-knowing world.

Here is an excerpt from the book:


House (Makaan)
Tonight the wind is too hot
Tonight we will be sleepless on the footpath
All rise, I will rise too, you also rise
Some window will open in this wall
This earth was ready to swallow us even then
When we stepped down from broken branches
Neither these houses know, neither the residents know
Those days that we spent in caves
How could hands shaped in moulds tire
We improved design after design
To make this wall higher, more higher and higher
And to make roof and wall prettier still
Storms used to break the flames of candles
So we studded electric stars
When the palace was made a guard was installed
We slept in the dust carrying the tumult of creation
Carrying in every nerve the tiredness of endless labour
Carrying in closed eyes the picture of this palace
Day melts over heads in the same way till now
Night hurts the eyes with its inky darkness
Tonight the wind is very hot
Tonight we will be sleepless on the footpath
All rise, I will rise too, you also rise
Some window will open in this wall

You can buy the book here:

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Saloni Sacheti, Manager – Marketing, Viva Books

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