Author Archives: farazjamilkakar

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:

The Bird and the Butterfly

Poet: Parto Rohilla
Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

That bird…

She was beautiful

She was gorgeous

Frail and delicate

Wounded by a hunter

She was lying by the roadside

Writhing in agony

But alive…

I went close to her

Placed her on a branch

I carried water hand-cupped 

And brought some to her

I gently breathed into her beak

But suddenly

She flew away

Even before

I… carrying my own sinful past

Could cherish for a moment

This small act of kindness

She flew away

I looked into the sky

The bird pounced in the air

And I saw a little butterfly

Trapped in her beak

A beautiful butterfly

A gorgeous butterfly

Frail and delicate butterfly

She was writhing in agony

But alive…

Hope and the flame of longing

Poet: Unknown

Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

Urdu Poem:

Tum kabhi laot k aoo shaiyad

Dil k veraan nagar main Janaa

Aaas ka dheep yahi roshan hai

Haath mera kabhi thaamo shaiyad

Isi umeed p main zinda hoon

English Translation:

That you..

Would one day return

To the deserted valley of my heart

This flame of longing

Is what enlightens my soul

That you..

Would one day

Hold my hand

This hope

Is what makes life worth living

Colours, beauty and the love of the butterfly

Poet: Ghani Khan ()

Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar 

I borrowed colour from the colours of red rose

I painted beauty spot from the shades of the nights

I took elegance and coquetry from Narcissus

I picked beauty from the rays of the morning sun

I took smile from the twinkles of the flowers

I took devotion from the love of the butterfly

And then…

I picked a canvas

Became Mansur, the mystic Sufi

And painted the picture of my beloved

Love and grief

Poet: Hameed Mashokhail

Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

Hameed Mashokhail writes: ”Daa zama la ghama shin zhra.. Pa ki khyaal da yaar da shundo.. Hasi rang zeb o zeenat ka.. Laka mai pa shna pyala ki”


This grief-stricken heart of mine

Gripped with thoughts of her intoxicating lips

The colour and softness of which

Is like the beauty of red wine

In a white glass

That Girl of Our Village… 

Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

That beautiful girl of our village
That wheat–brown beauty…
Her red scarf has lost it’s flame and brightness
She doesn’t greet with her soft fingers anymore

That beautiful girl…
Would once hold doves
In her soft beautiful hands
On the rooftop
Like holding melodious songs
In soft hands

But now
The empty rooftop, the streets of the village
And the white doves
Long for her

Her pretty red nose-ring was lost in muddy waters
In the fading orange light of the evening
Her flower bouquet lashed with sticks
And destroyed
Like the memories of her love

On Eid these days…
Girls no more gather
Or party on the rooftops

And that sparkling, poetic girl…
That ecstatic beauty
Her poems are wounded now
Like the mountains of her village
And rest
In the graveyard of desires

And once…

She screamed at midnight
Like the screams of the wounded
And the wide-awake world
Pretended to be asleep
To ignore her screams
And her insanity

And now…

That beauty
Like the dancing waters of the streams
Once deep in love
Holds prayer beads in her hand
And recites the name of Afghan on it
Recites the name of her motherland
While starring at the sky
And forgetting the world

That beautiful girl of our village
That wheat –brown beauty…
Her red scarf has lost the flame and brightness
Doesn’t greet with her soft fingers anymore

Translator’s Footnote :-
this poem is translation of a Pashto song. I could not find the name of the poet.  Here is the link to the song:

A Dusty Heaven

Poet: Bahauddin Majrooh;

Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

They say:

These ruins were once a beautiful city

A city famous for its beauty

Tourists would travel for days and nights

Through forests, rivers and streams

To wander in this city

And enjoy it’s ecstatic sceneries

Deer would graze in the green fields

And come close to the door of city to play with kids

Birds would sing in the garden all day long


People, till then, had not invented cages

The city had no doors, or walls, or trenches

Beautiful huts in dense gardens and green fields

Paths through green fields

Led to forests, fields and deserts

Young girls would run the city

Youthful couples would whisper of love by the riverside

The elders would rest beneath the shades of Chinar trees

To advise, converse and plan

And kids would laugh and sing in streams

Or would play with deer in meadows

The angry, raging, wrathful or the gloomy

Would be taken to the wise, skilful doctor of the city

Who was skilled to treat such ailments


People till then had not learned

The skill of slavery and submission

The city had no masters and no slaves

No maids, no servants

Kids were obedient

The elders thought

That kids are closer to nature

And knew it’s secrets

They understood

The songs of birds, music of brooks and whispers of forests

The silence of mountains and that of deserts

And were friends with roaming spirits

And they knew…

The dreadful cave and all its secrets…


For this reason

Their opinion was respected

They advised on big affairs

So sometimes

The kids and elders would come together

In the shade of Chinar trees

Amidst laughs and plays and smiles

They would take big big decisions


The Great Conqueror of World

One day by the river

Flowers fresh like all the time

Noisy kids jumping with joy

Couples whispering of love

Birds singing

Suddenly a cold storm rose from the horizon of barren desert

At the sunset

Amidst dark clouds

A strange rider appeared

With black dress riding a black horse

His iron mask had sketch of dragon

Carrying a lance, a shield and hunter

He came close to the door of city

Rage brimming from his face

Strong and mighty, enraged and brutal

He came close to the door of city

Girls and boys, and kids and elders

All gathered to see the stranger

The rider raised his lance and shouted

In voice so loud and sharp and scary

‘‘O the dwellers of this city… who am I?’’

I am Ego

The mightiest in the world

The great conqueror of all battles

From this moment, your city is mine

You are my subjects…

Love in the Age of Terrorism (a Pashto poem)

Love in the Age of Terrorism (a Pashto poem)

Poet: Sadiq Kaki

Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

O my innocent love

Oblivious of what the homeland is going through

The calm village is not the same

With riots on

And men, as handsome as you, dying in bomb blasts

I have not forgotten your dear friends

Whom you saw living, have walked away dead

Don’t be restless my love and tame your longing

The motherland is here to stay and I will wait for you

My smile

And my longing to be with you… will wait for you

I don’t blame you… for this is our own motherland

But my love…

It lately feels like a stranger’s land

People leave home in the mornings

Not to return in the evenings

Tears so abundant

And laughter so rare

I don’t understand this game of death and fire

This chaos in every corner of the Pashtun land

Those old days are no more…

When friends of the village would party in the evenings

No more joy in those parties

And no such parties anymore in our village

No more is it possible

To go for a careless walk in the woods

For a journey to Swat, Kalam or to Peshawar

No more smiles on faces

No more calm in the air

And we are left frightened…

Scared of taking each step in new journeys

Visiting the market with the fear

That cars would blow up

Listen to me my love…

Focus on your hard work in foreign lands

Pass your time, count your nights and work hard

Neither guest room

Nor mosque or market place is safe

Grief-stricken masses

Lost livelihoods

Swat and Deer in turmoil

Chaos in Kabul

Mayhem in Waziristan, and in my beautiful Bannu

Announcements of deaths in every village

Such is the impact of this monstrous storm

The happy occasion of Eid

Only ignites the old wounds

For what celebration with wounded hearts

The culture of visiting guest rooms and of parties has ended

The new tradition is to visit graveyards on Eid

The town squares are empty

So is the playground of the village

The elders live long

While the youth rest under the dust of earth

Mothers wake up to prepare the dress of their sons

But decorate their pictures with funeral flowers at late nights

In the old days…

Girls would color their hands with Henna

But now…

Those hands are used to beat chests in grief

O my love…

Your dear friends have deserted the parties

Just like colors have deserted my poems

I summarized for you

The happenings in our homeland

For you are unaware of what is happening here

My innocent love…


Poet: Ahmed Faraz; English Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

‘‘O Poet’’, said my heart to me again and again

‘‘You… that carve sculptures with your words…

Paint the picture of that charming Beauty

Who fills the emptiness of your thoughts

With colors of all kinds’’

Often I heard this voice (of my heart) and wished

To accept and obey it

But then the magic of my art surrendered

For who can paint softness of the moonlight

Editorial Footnote ( for the benefit of the general reader )
Ahmed Faraz was a Pakistani Urdu poet. He was acclaimed as one of the best modern Urdu poets of the last century. ‘Faraz’ is his pen name,. He died in Islamabad on 25 August 2008. Wikipedia
Born: January 12, 1931, Kohat, Pakistan
Died: August 25, 2008, Islamabad, Pakistan

”A Letter from Fareedoon’s Mother”

Poem: ‘‘Da Fareedoon Da Moor Khat’’ (A Letter from Fareedoon’s Mother); Book: ‘‘Da Pinjarey Chighar’’ (The Cry of Cage); Poet: Ghani Khan; Translated into English by: Faraz Jamil Kakar

15 June 1951 – on the 12th anniversary of my marriage, my one and only son Faredoon Rustam Jang was born. His mother was admitted in a hospital in Peshawar. And far away in a prison in Hazara, I was lying sick. An ugly guard with rifle in his hand would guard the door of my cell at all times. The entire world was black and dark. The despair of soul like the illness of body was touching its limits when this news came. I said, ”O Ghani, its good. You are lost but not without a heir.”

I can’t explain the pain and happiness of that day. For both pain and happiness are very exhausting. And then as I closed my eyes from this conscious world, I saw Fareedon’s mother standing in front of me. She placed a letter on my hand…

From a handful of sand, I made for you, life and a new world
My love carried me such, I made another beloved for you
As I entered the world of insanity, so full of light
I brought a gem, the most beautiful of all gems
This gift of my pride, is the answer to all your complaints
Complaints that you whispered in my ears every evening
This is proof of my love, faith, and faithfulness
As my soul lightened, his eyes blinked
He is the picture of my life, some smiles and some cries
The feather of Eagle, the soft head of bulbul
The proof of King’s love, of freedom of the slave
The most beautiful reward, a colorful glass of wine
Your dream into being, the face of my desires
A shadow of you, sketched by me
A red sheet of roses spread in the desert
In his every breath have I written the love of my love