Madness – A conversation

Poet: Ghani Khan
Translation: Faraz Jamil Kakar

‘‘O the elder of insanes
Tell me what is better…
Prayer or ecstasy
Creating beauty or worshipping it’’


Ecstasy is better
But it needs heart clean like a mirror
Testing this river needs the courage of an ocean

Creating beauty is the work of love
In dark river of grief… union is a red flame of ecstasy
So O my son… best is the love of beloved
Best is her name… and best is her ecstasy

‘‘O the elder of insanes
Tell me what is better…
Beauty or faithfulness
The place of Majnoon or the place of Laila’’


O my son…
Best is the breath of beloved
Be it cold and soft… or warm and fast
Best is that shine of the bright red scarf on the her face
Best is the Yellow, best is the black and best is the white
So O my son… beauty is best and so is faithfulness
Best is the place of Majnoon… best is the place of Laila

‘‘O elder…
Tell me what is better
Beggary or wealth
Pine flower or the palace of beloved’’

O my son…
Best is mountain peak for the golden eagle
Best is pine flower to pine… and best is pine to pine flower
Best is the beach for a glass of wine… and storm for the ocean
Best is ecstasy for eyes… and longing for heart
So O my son…
Best is beggary and best is wealth
Best is the crown of Solomon… And the cottage of Jesus

‘‘O kind elder…
Tell me what is better…
Crown or prison
My own possessions or a borrowed cannon’’


O my son…
Best is desert for the heart brokens
Gentle touch of beloved is better than the crown of enemy
Best is the martyr of Karbala… bad is the friend of Yazeed
Much better is a woman than a submitted man
So O my son…
Bad is kingdom… and bad is prison
Best is the place of Majnoon… best is the place of Laila

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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:

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