Goran won’nam kunuy watsun

nebra dopnam andray atsun

suy gaw lalli meh wakh te watsun

toway me hyotum nangay natsun



Prospero, you are the master of illusion.
Lying is your trademark.
And you have lied so much to me
(lied about the world, lied about me)
that you have ended by imposing on me
an image of myself.
Underdeveloped, you brand me, inferior,
that’s the way you have forced me to see myself.
I detest that image! What’s more, it’s a lie!
But now I know you, you old cancer,
and I know myself as well.


What becomes is not yet. What is need no longer become.



Faiz’s famous poem, written upon his visit to Dhaka during that tumultuous time, captures a certain need to move ahead and open new paths. It is called ‘paon se laho ko dho daalo’ [Wash this blood of your feet] and was translated by Agha Shahid Ali:

What could I have done, gone where?
My feet were bare
and every road was covered with thorns –
of ruined friendships, of loves left behind,
of eras of loyalty that finished, one by one.

Wherever I went, in whatever direction,
my feet were soaked –
there was so much blood
that bystanders couldn’t help asking:
What fashion is this, what new tradition?
For what unknown festival have you dyed your feet?
I said nothing, but they went on asking:
Why do you still complain
of the utter famine of love? You’re doing it for nothing.
There’s no chance of fidelity now.

So wash this blood of your feet, they said.
Let your feet heal.
These roads, now soft with blood, will harden again.
And a hundred new paths will break through their dried mud.
Keep your feet ready for these roads, they said.
And be careful, they said, take care of the heart.
It still has to break
open into a thousand different wounds.
It still has to know knife after knife after knife.


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