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Poems for Malala from India

By: Pratap Somvanshi

Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot by the Taliban, continues to inspire people around the world with her courage and her message of education for all. Reproduced here, two Hindi poems from India, with translations.

Kaisa baap hai Ziauddin Yousufzai?

Who is this Ziauddin Yousufzai?

English translation by Namita Sethi

Ziauddin Yusufzai

Who is he? What does he want?

When terror sweeps across

The valley of Swat

Fear inspired by the Taliban’s diktat:

“Acid shall deface

Any girl who goes to school”;

Spills into the hearts of mothers who hush their daughters behind hastily shut doors holding them close.

At that very moment

Ziauddin Yusufzai,

Teacher and poet of the valley,

Sows the seed of courage

In his daughter Malala’s heart

In the hope that it shall take root

In the barren soil of Swat

And blossom some day:

A defiant orchard.

In his daughter’s hand

He places poetry

Tagore’s Ekla Chalo Re:

Impelling her

To find her own way

And forge her own path

Alone through streets deserted

To school and to freedom.

She faces the camera

As others quiver

And hide in fear

Why can’t girls come to school?

Why threaten them with acid, whips, guns?

Why erase their voice, their face, their rights?

Which religion teaches thus?

She challenges

And the world hears.

And in his heart

The poet rejoices

At the possibility

That girl shall be enabled to become all they want

And walk the corridors of power

Malala shall be a doctor, as she would like to be

Not the victim of an anonymous acid thrower

Like the mighty Himalayas

Stands Malala’s guardian

His hand gentle on her head

Defying the extremists,

Firm in his resolve to stay

Anchored in the valley

Nor shall Malala quit school:

Deal with it

Or leave Swat alone.

Pratap Somvanshi is Senior Resident Editor Hindustan Times Group, New Delhi (Hindi Editions). This poem for Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousufzai, written in Hindi, was translated and published in Urdu in Sahafat Daily.

By: Pankaj Nigam

Duniya ki sabse bahadur beti Malala Yusufazai ke liye

For the Bravest Girl in the World, Malala Yousufzai

English translation by Ali Jafari

Through these tiny hands shall emerge

A rising and resounding voice

Proudly fluttering standards of liberty

These tiny hands shall raise and rejoice

Darkness of times shall be put to rout

From the palms of these hands, new suns will come out

These hands will be wings to leap and prance

For butterflies of peace in fairylands to sing and dance

These hands will now settle the accounts

Of those fields of suppression and injustice that no one recounts

These hands will now craft a shining future

For generations to live in love, peace and pleasure

These hands shall now create their fair and shining world

A world devoid of wars, now times will herald

And devoid of atrocities on women and children

A world that I proudly call my own

I pine not for much but be able to laugh

A laughter that doesn’t frighten you — the so ‘tough’ into half

Pankaj Nigam is a media analyst and artist based in New Delhi

Ziauddin Yousufzai with Malala, aged 11, in the NYT film ‘Class Dismissed’ (2009)


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