Remembering Saghar Siddiqui: The maverick who poetically bared corruption and opportunism

Had Saghar lived longer, I have no doubt he would have been as popular among the youth of Pakistan as Jaun Elia is today, if not more

The fact that Saghar was born in 1928 also makes 2018 the year of his 90th birthday

One hopes he will get more recognition as we gradually move towards the centenary of his birth in 10 years’ time, away from the mere ritual of Saghar lovers who throng to the Miani Sahib graveyard every year come July 19th to pay their respects at his last resting place

Saghar’s tumultuous, short-lived life in independent Pakistan deserves better treatment, perhaps in the form of a biopic celebrating his life and legacy

Shoaib Mansoor, Sarmad Sehbai, Sarmad Khoosat, anyone? Few people know that the poet who is best known for ghazals celebrating his angst and anomie, also wrote a national anthem for Pakistan – which eventually lost out to Hafeez Jalandhari’s version – as well as a few poems on the opportunism and corruption he could see and feel around him in Pakistan of the 50s

One such poem is Pakistan ke siyasatdaan (the politicians of Pakistan), which I am offering here in my original translation from Urdu; not only in the hope of stimulating a new readership for Saghar’s work, but also by way of an Election 2018 Special, given that Pakistan’s national elections are just under a week away

The poem speaks to me, for despite the fact that it begins pessimistically describing a dismal state of affairs – which we in Pakistan are still witnessing in 2018 – it presciently deconstructs our politics (dependence on dollars, as in foreign aid) and politicians, whether it is their style of speaking in the tone of innkeepers, or how even those who profess to be devout are corrupt to the core

Perhaps what is most striking in the poem is that despite the personal angst Saghar was facing those days, as well as that of the nation at large, he concludes with optimism, asking the youth to play a more active part in saving Pakistan’s destiny

One wonders what Saghar would have made of the 2018 Elections and the various party manifestos on offer, had he been alive today? The chain of grief is around the feet, The fate of the nation is cloudy

Oppression stands guard over submission, Hunters are clothed in the garb of leaders

Politics has set a trap, Their racket of livelihoods is running well

They suck the nation’s blood, laughing, They worship desires in place of God, They weigh the law in dollars, And speak in the tone of an innkeeper

Plunder is the method of the faithful; The devils forgot the method of the Quran

Arise youth! Save the nation, Save the garden limits from the sparks of ruination

Date:20-Jul-2018 Reference:View Original Link