Monday, June 02, 2014

Chance encounters

One of the things I love most about photography and the internet is that it has introduced me to an amazing bunch of people from around the world who i would have probably never met if it hadn't been coz of either.

One such encounter was with renowned Pakistan artist Abro and through him I learnt about the activism he and his wife Attiya Dawood (famed poet and activist) and her beautiful writing. I think I have read quite a bit of her poignant poems - this being one of it. Such powerful words and what an apt painting by Abro himself.

The Murder in Marriage

Brandishing religion like a sword
Riding the blind horse of desire
You trampled over my heart.
You condemned my faith in you to the gallows
And you married for a second time,
Each and every moment spent with you
I wove over my flesh like skin,
Tying my “aanchal” to you
I left the court-yard of my father.
In the mould that you brought
I located my self.
What is love, I don’t know,
But your home covered me with its shade like
the “barth” tree,
It saved me from evil eyes
From the arrows coming in my pursuit.
To live in this mould
I kept on trimming, clipping myself.
A drop of your blood came alive in my flesh
But even children could not be a bond between us.
What are relationships, I don’t know.
I was taught only this single lesson:
Your home is the last refuge for me.
So many time’s have I seen
Divorced women
Condemned by time’s eye
To death by stoning.
That is why
like a cat afraid of rain
I sat content and quiet
in a corner of the house
on the use of your name.
What is haven, what is hell…. I don’t know
But this much I believe:
Heaven is not higher than faith
Hell not more difficult to bear
than the laughter of the Second Wife.
No “Pul Surat” more difficult to cross
Than having to put up with anybody’s taunts,
everybody’s pity.
Sometimes I found the Second Wife’s face
to be like mine.
I have seen lack of trust
Adding wrinkles to her forehead.
Whenever she looks at me
Happiness flutters in her chest
Like a pigeon caught between two hands.

I cannot fight it
You are a part of it,
I cannot fight against you.
Religion, law and society are on your side,
Traditions are weapons in your hands.
I want to tear off from the book of life
That chapter
Which you have penned
To serve your interest
In my destiny.

Poem by Attiya Dawood
Translated into English by Asif Farrukhi
Painting by Abro Khuda Bux
Taken from "RAGING TO BE FREE"
Published by Maktaba-e-Daniyal
Published in April 1995


He and his family are one of many people who have shown me that our complains are pretty trivial as compared to what goes on there. One day i hope to visit Pakistan, to see those beautiful places he has photographed but mostly so I can meet him and his inspiring family - though a long time back he told me, don't come here.

I will post a few more links - including the story Time did on them. Some of her poems can be read here.

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