One night with a light in my hand, I was searching door to door
To find out in the town which was a living house and which was a grave
To see who had lit in this sheer darkness a light
And who was deep asleep with their sorrows behind
Unfortunately, a cemetery that all I saw
The house that was known to be alive had become a grave long ago
Those that were awake were either drunk or thieves
They were the only out of their house, agitated and wary
Suddenly a dim light through a house window came to sight
‘O lord, O lord’ cried a man with pain and tears
He did not cry from the fear of hell fire and God’s punishment
Nor did he beg for children to carry on his legacy, nor bounty success
Nor did he ask for a beautiful maiden with a castle
He did not ask for properties, neither to be a landlord nor possess gardens of Eden
He desired not to govern or be a leader
Nor did he care for treasures of gold and silver
O! What strange a request had the man?
Crying, pleading and begging restlessly
‘Show me who I am, O omniscient, O supreme’
‘From this I will find the straight path to successes
With hope he looked up yet crying and saying
‘How will I know you, when I don’t know myself?’
‘How can I be your representative and envoy when I am ignorant of my position?’
‘How will I deliver your message that you have entrusted me with,
‘How can I measure the self-respect that you have gifted me with?
‘When I have bowed my head to every indecency, villain and corrupt power,
‘If I have the chains of slavery around my neck, then, how can I ask others to fight for freedom?
What is the meaning of life when living is by the order of others?
‘How can I inspire others to fight tyranny if I am the statue of injustice?
How can my soul be at ease if it is driven by evil?
This diligent man asked with all his heart:
‘Help me understand myself O wise creator.’



Poem written in Pashto by Dr. Farouq Azam
Translated by Humaira Azam