The Insane Sufi

Translation of a Pashto poem by Syed Bahauddin Majroh
Name of book: Na-ashna Sandari (Stranger’s songs)
Name of the poem: Sartoor Malang (The Insane Sufi)
English Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

Youth does not know
That there exists an old Hakeem of wisdom – the insane Sufi
He exists and that is why – battle with ignorance continues
He is that mighty Hakeem…
Who destroyed tyrants like Changez
Who survived the bloodthirsty fist of Hitler
And confronted dark terror of Stalin
Entered prisons and dark dungeons
Freed himself from this dark terror
Yet this lover
Followed his love – Freedom
Did not surrender
To tyranny, injustice and power
Followed his love to burning hell

Be there kings or mighty Emperors
Hitlers or Stalins
All have one rival
This one mighty Hakeem of wisdom

His wisdom brings him troubles always
Restless dreams, worries and distress

Youth never tries
To find and listen to old stories
Wise Hakeem says:
When there is youth and youthful spirit
When human face has humanity behind it
When there is compassion, tolerance and kindness
When there is freedom and sympathy
When there is sanity and rationality
Then blind obedience does not exist
No need for acting or pretending
No class or status

Once a great power rose
That made its presence felt everywhere
Erected big palaces
Brought down old idols
This great power was – critique and wisdom
It started a new era
Awakened the deep asleep
Cured the sickness of superstition

And when the old blind obedience…
Was left dumb and speechless
It went on to make new idols
While elsewhere people
Questioned and researched
The foundations of old knowledge
But here…
Blind faith, bias, racism…
Souls deep asleep
It would say:
Forget old Sufis and their shrines
There are new leaders
With magical powers
And new books
So close your eyes, bow in prostration
Accept, obey and do not question

From Zoroaster, Buddha to Brahman
In past and present
These custodians of blind faith
Leaders and chieftains
With their logic, speeches and songs
Only preach blind obedience, closed eyed prostrations
But do not allow questions…

And I walk towards the ocean
With these old forgotten stories, tales and songs
To sink them all

This entry was posted in Poetry on by .

About farazjamilkakar

Faraz Jamil Kakar is from Pishin, a small town in Pakistan near the Afghan border. He translates Pashto poetry into English in his free time and has translated some work of famous Pashto poets such as Ghani Khan, Bahauddin Majroh and Bari Jahani. He believes that the literary work of such great scholars is the best intellectual resource that can challenge and counter the ideological roots of the menace of religious extremism, racism, tribalism, casteism, nationalism, patriotism and religionism in this region. His interest in poetic work of great poets like Ghani Khan and Bahauddin Majrooh lies in the fact that their work symbolise and carry forward the centuries old tradition of mystic poetry in the Pashtun society. Faraz Jamil Kakar is reachable at:

5 thoughts on “The Insane Sufi

  1. Louis Kasatkin

    A powerfully engaging and educative work of translation.

    ** For the benefit of the general reader :-The term ” Hakeem ” is

    ha·kim 1 also ha·keem (hä′kēm)
    n. pl. ha·kims also ha·keems
    A doctor, especially one who practices traditional medicine, in a predominantly Muslim culture.
    [Arabic ḥakīm, wise, wise man, from ḥakama, to judge, decide; see ?km in Semitic roots.]
    ha·kim 2 (hä′kĭm)
    n. pl. ha·kims
    An honorific traditionally applied to a Muslim ruler, provincial governor, or judge.


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