[personal profile] remarkably
A small verse of Akbar Allahabadi; a lead-in to the piece about colonialism and Europeanisation and the enforcement of the Hindi-Urdu divide that I would like to write some day, but that perhaps someone fluenter and more historically-versed should instead. (The copy I have is written only in Devanagari; I have transliterated for the benefit of those who do not read it, hopefully accurately. Especially since this was originally written down in the Urdu script -- a little ironic given the debate this ends up participating in, no?) Translation is rather rough, for which I apologise.

योरपवाले जो चाहें दिल में भर दें
जिसके सर पर जो चाहें तोहमत धर दें ।
बचते रहो इनकी तेज़ियों से ाकबर ।
तुम क्या हो ख़ुदा के तीन टुकड़े कर दें ।।

یوراپوالے جو چاہیں دل میں بھر دن
جسکے سر پر جو چاہیں توہمات دھر دن
بچتے رہو انکی تزیوں سے اکبر
تم کیا ہو خدا کے تین تکدے کر دن

Europe-waalein jo chaahein dil mein bhar dein
jiske sar par jo chaahein tohamat dhar dein
bachte raho inki teziyon se akbar
tum kya ho khuda ke theen tukde kar dein


Europeans! They fill our hearts with what they like,
and call us all guilty; blame whoever they like.
Take caution; beware their trickery, o Akbar;
if they can split even God into three, then what are you?


If you have JSTOR access, there is also a fairly interesting discussion of Akbar Allahabadi's role in national/transnational politics here, which is well worth reading; there are also some biting little pieces of his about colonised mentalities, which I must find again! (And which go well with Sahir Ludhianvi's verses about the deliberate destruction of Urdu as a register.) It would be fun, perhaps, to write and oscillate back and forth between using Persianised vocabulary and using only Sanskrit roots, and make snide comments about the ridiculousness of religious nationalism and the divide-and-rule policy. But I think for that, I would need to fly through all this language where I currently stumble. (And on the stumbling, I'm not even sure which language I mean.)

October 2011

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