Introduction

This poem is translated from Kashmiri by Prof G. R. Malik. It talks about how man has been led astray from his goal of promoting peace and harmony on earth and has instead caused chaos and disorder. The poet speaks in the voice of the stars and talks to man about all his wrongs.

About the Poet

Abdul Ahad Azad (1903 – 1948) was a Kashmiri poet who is often known as the “Keats of Kashmir.” He wrote modernist poetry and was heavily influenced by Kashmiri gazals in his work.

Theme

The main theme of this poem is the chaos and disorder that man has caused on earth. 

Line 1 – 10

You were the light of reason but you chose to be fire, O man!
You put humanity to disgrace, how callous of you, O man!
Nature had fashioned you to apportion love and affection
But you took to buying and selling religion and faith instead.
Nature had thrown open all its treasures to you;
You had to share them equitably but you sat serpent-like on them.
One world, one mankind, as close to one another as the nail to the flesh
Who then ignited the fire of division and duality in your mind? 
You pose to be the pillar of religion and dharma without caring the least for either:
Seeing your shameful deeds humanity has fallen into lament.

The poet says that man was the light of reason but chose to be destructive fire. He put humanity to disgrace through his callous actions and attitude. Nature had created man to spread love and affection, but instead mankind took to buying and selling religion and faith. Nature had given man access to all its treasures, and he had to share them fairly but instead he grabbed them all and sat like a possessive serpent on them.

It was supposed to be one world and one mankind, as close to one another as the nail is to the flesh, but somehow the fire of division and duality was ignited in man’s mind. Mankind poses to be the pillar of religion and dharma without caring for either. Seeing man’s shameful deeds humanity has fallen into lament.

Line 11 – 22

Should mankind ever own and profess a religion and faith
Which perverts the essential unity of man into division and disorder?
To mischief and disruption you have given the name of religion and patriotism:
That which you call awakening is a stupefying hangover.
Your own misdeeds have deluded you and you grumble against fate;
Still pursuing the hackneyed ways, how can you ferry across?
Your heart restlessly vibrating, your vision clouded by fantasies;
All this is a fanciful dream, now wake up, O man, wake up.
Friends and mates who shared your woe, like parts of your own heart
How could you tear their hearts to pieces, you blood-thirsty man!
In your own garden you cut the roots while watering twigs and leaves;
Your own home you ransack and ravage and tear apart.

The poet asks if mankind should ever own and profess a religion and faith that destroys the essential unity of man into division and disorder.

Man has given the name of religion and patriotism to mischief and disruption, what he calls awakening is a shocking hangover. Man’s own misdeeds have disillusioned him and he grumbles against fate. Still pursuing these overused ways, man cannot go through life. Man’s heart keeps restlessly vibrating, and his vision is clouded by fantasies.

The poet says that all this is a fanciful dream and man should now wake up from it. He talks of friends and mates who shared man’s woe, like parts of his own heart, and asks how blood-thirsty man could tear their hearts to pieces. Man cuts the roots in his own garden while watering twigs and leaves, he ransacks and ravages and tears apart his own home, that is, the earth.