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South Asia: ’You are just like us’: Fahmida Riaz, Pakistani, poet compares rise of Hindu and Islamic fundamentalism

Monday 26 November 2018, by siawi3

Source: https://www.firstpost.com/living/you-are-just-like-us-pakistani-poet-compares-rise-of-hindu-and-islamic-fundamentalism-1855713.html

’You are just like us’: Fahmida Riaz, Pakistani, poet compares rise of Hindu and Islamic fundamentalism

Thursday 18 December 2014, 15:59:55 IST
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by FP staff


Recently, Parliament has been disrupted by highly communal and divisive issues like forced, large scale conversion of Muslims to Hinduism. There have been mindless utterances of the Hindutva ideologues and Sangh Parivar fringe [1], and the parliamentary opposition has been belligerent over it. Of course, there has been a lot of comparison between the rising Hindutva and Islamic fundamentalism.

While, over the years, rhetoric has been about how the different the two religions are, progressive Pakistani poet Fahmida Riaz in a poem says that we are all the same.

She had recited the poem to an Indian audience comparing the rise of Hindu extremism in India with that of Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan.

At a seminar called ‘Hum Gunahgaar Auratein’ on 8 March, 2014 the poet recited the poem, ’Tum bilkul hum jaisey nikley.’

Fahmida Riaz is a well known Urdu writer, poet, and feminist in Pakistan. She is the author of Godaavari, Khatt-e Marmuz, and Khana e Aab O Gil. She has translated the works of Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi and Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and Shaikh Ayaz from Sindhi to Urdu.

Living FP Staff

You can watch her recite the poem here.

Shabana Mir on her blog translated the poem. Read it:

So it turned out you are just like us!
Where were you hiding all this time, buddy?
That stupidity, that ignorance
we wallowed in for a century -
look, it arrived at your shores too!
Many congratulations to you!

Raising the flag of religion,
I guess now you’ll be setting up Hindu Raj?
You too will commence to muddle everything up
You, too, will ravage your beautiful garden.
You, too, will sit and ponder -
I can tell preparations are afoot -
who is truly Hindu, who is not.
I guess you’ll be passing fatwas soon!

Here, too, it will become hard to survive.
Here, too, you will sweat and bleed.
You’ll barely make do joylessly.
You will gasp for air like us.
I used to wonder with such deep sorrow.
And now, I laugh at the idea:
it turned out you were just like us!

We weren’t two nations after all!
To hell with education and learning.
Let’s sing the praises of ignorance.
Don’t look at the potholes in your path:
bring back instead the times of yore!
Practice harder till you master
the skill of always walking backwards.

Let not a single thought of the present
break your focus upon the past!
Repeat the same thing over and over -
over and over, say only this:
How glorious was India in the past!
How sublime was India in days gone by!
Then, dear friends, you will arrive
and get to heaven after all.

Yep. We’ve been there for a while now.
Once you are there,
once you’re in the same hell-hole,
keep in touch and tell us how it goes!

Fahmida Riaz