‘Dil Se Jo Baat Nikalti Hai’, Allama Iqbal

Potent is the sigh that leaves the wounded heart
Tho it has not wings, yet it soars wide and far
Being holy and true, to heaven’s realm it does dart
It rises from dust, yet reaches the highest star.

dil se jo baat nikalti hai asar rakhti hai
(heart what words exit effect keeps)
par nahi takate parwaaz magar rakhti hai
(wings not, power of  flight keeps)
quds-i-ul-asl hai rifat pe nazar rakhti hai
(holy-true is, highest rank keeps its eye on)
khaak se uthti hai gardun pe guzar rakhti hai
(dust from rises it, stars on vigil keeps)
These are the opening lines to Iqbal’s Jawab Shikwa (The Answer to the Lament).
The rhythmic quality of these verses have stuck in my head since I first heard them years ago; like a drumbeat that one attunes to without any conscious effort. Again, Iqbal’s poetry is so lofty and epic that it’s quite a challenge to translate him without seeming stuffy and overblown. I hope I didn’t fall into that error with these lines.

On a personal note – these verses are very significant to me at the moment, and I remembered them a lot today because of what I’m going through.



Do a DJ gig for #freedomofspeech
Instagram your friends about #icantbreathe
Choose the right filter for #metoo
Forward the e-mail for #Istandwithyou

For #stopdronestrikes, wear the t-shirt
And for #stoppovertynow, buy an ’ethical’ skirt
Post on Facebook about #bds
But make sure they know you #dresstoimpress

Go on a diet of #fairtradefruit
For #fgm, do a photo shoot
Send #thoughtsandprayers to the refugees of war
And put a #blacklivesmatter sticker on your car

To cleanse yourself of injustice, wrongs and strife
Just put an lcd screen between you and #reallife
This is my rather rushed comment on the self-indulgence that’s increasingly masquerading as altruism nowadays. I’m frustrated and infuriated at the changing normative status of what’s right and moral. The ’physical’ and material act of sympathy and charity has now metamorphosed into a virtual simulacrum of itself; to ’hashtag’ something is now morally equivalent to actually acting upon it. To quote Mr. Trump, ’Not good’