Remembering Avtar Singh ‘Pash’ on his Death Anniversary

Pash was killed by Khalistani militants on March 23, 1988 in New Delhi. Decades after his death Pash’s ideas still reverberate to the contemporary socio-political milieu. 

Pash
Avtar Singh Sandhu 'Pash' / Image courtesy: The Tribune

Avtar Singh Sandhu, popularly known as Pash was born in the village of Talwandi Salem in Jalandhar, Punjab, on September 9, 1950. Pash’s poetry always had political overtones akin to the verses of poets such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Bertolt Brecht, Yiannis Ritsos, and Mahmoud Darwish. Pash was against religious fanaticism and strongly criticised the authoritarian nature of the state. He was killed by Khalistani militants on March 23, 1988 in New Delhi. Decades after his death Pash’s ideas still reverberate to the contemporary socio-political milieu. 

With the increasing communal tensions in the country, it is timely to remember the revolutionary spirit of Pash. 

Satyam Tiwari is a theatre actor, writer, a passionate orator of poetry and editor currently working with Newsclick.in. recites two of Pash’s poetry. 

Ghaas (Grass)

Image courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
I am like grass
you can chop me mow me down
 but I shall sprout again
 grow and bounce back
 you can obliterate my signposts
 you can bomb the Universities
 reduce the hostels to rubble
 you may scorch the slums
 but you cannot erase my identity
 because I am like grass
 I will sprout again
 and my mantle shall cover everything
 you may bomb Banga
 you can destroy Sangrur
 and reduce the whole district of Ludhiana   to ashes
 but it will be only a matter of time
 two years ten years
 before my green mantle covers everything   again
 I will become a vast green jungle
 the green jungle of Barnala
 where tourists will visit me
 visit my green jungle
 because I am like grass
 you can chop me
 you can mow down
 but I  will sprout again
 and cover everything

Sab ton Khatarnak (The Most Dangerous)

Joseph Wright (Wright of Derby) / Image courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The most dangerous occurrence is not a robbery of hard work,

The most horrifying act is not torture by the police,

A merger of betrayal and greed is not the most dangerous.

To be trapped while asleep is undoubtedly miserable,

To be buried under the silence is undoubtedly miserable,

But it is still not the most dangerous.

To remain silent in the noise of corruption is undoubtedly miserable,

Reading covertly under the light of a firefly is undoubtedly miserable,

But it is still not the most dangerous.

The most dangerous deed is to be filled with dead silence,

Not feeling any agony against the unjust and bearing it all.

Getting trapped in the routine of running from home to work and from work to home,

The most dangerous accident is the death of our dreams.

The most dangerous thing is that watch which runs on your wrist, but stands still for your eyes,

The most dangerous is that eye; which witnesses it all but remains frozen,

The eye that forgets to kiss the world with a passion,

The eye lost in the blinding haze of a materialistic world,

The eye captivated in the aimless monotony of life.

The most dangerous is the moon which rises in the numb yards after each homicide,

But it still does not bother your eyes.

The most dangerous is the song which mourns to reach your ears,

And sounds like a knock of a goon at the door of the frightened people.

The most dangerous is a night which covers the sky of living souls,

In which only owls scream and wolves growl,

With everlasting darkness covering all the doors and windows of existence.

The most dangerous is the direction where the sun of soul sets,

And a ray of dying sunlight pierces the east of your body,

The most treacherous is not the robbery of hard work,

The most horrifying act is not torture by the police,

A merger of treachery and greed is not the most dangerous.

(Translation Courtesy: http://feelingbuddhaful.com/translation-paash-poem/)

Journalists Have a Lot to Learn From Bhagat Singh

Donate

Independent journalism can’t be independent without your support, contribute by clicking below.

1 COMMENT

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here