Keep on dividing


Keep on
Bashir Athar
Translated from Kashmiri by *-Dr S. K. Raina

You divided the sky

Divided the Universe too

God too you divided,and

Divided the countries all over.

You divided the shade of trees

Divided their greenness and freshness

Our traditions rich you got divided

Bonds ever thick you divided

You divided water,air too

Divided our rich past

Present too you brutally divided

You divided man, his humanness

Divided his soul, his psyche too

You divided the love

Of our mothers;brothers' and sisters' affection too

Keep on dividing my friend!

Till you are exhausted.

But tell me

How will you divide my

Motherland,my homeland?

Where you live,I live and

Our ancestors lived!

Translator's note:
(The poem aims at exposing the nefarious and destructive motives of antisocial elements including extremists bent upon dividing the homogenous/secular character of Kashmiri society.The last four lines of the poem highlight the deep love the poet has for his society and homeland.He is hopeful that no one can divide his motherland.)

Way back in 1997, I was on an official visit to Kashmir where I met Kashmiri poet Bashir Athar in his office-Srinagar TV Centre. It was my pleasure to receive his latest poetry collection 'Kani Shahar'(Stoney City) to read. The more I read it, the more I was impressed and felt that the poems deserved to be translated and made available for reading to more readers. The theme of the poems was timely and the style excellent. Imagery superb and the language so powerful. I selected some poems (those which impressed me the most) and translated them into Hindi for Samkaleen Bhartiya Sahitya(Contemporary Indian Literature--A Hindi magazine published by Sahitya Akedmi,New Delhi, India) Athar received lot of attention for the theme he had chosen. Eventually, I thought of introducing this powerful poet to a greater number of appreciatve readers and my choice fell on English language. I took upon the stupendous task of translating the poems into English taking care of the flavour, appeal and suggestion of the original text. I worked hard and revised/typed the pages several times before they could attain the present form. I don't claim to be well versed in English language. Truly so, because it is not my language, nor my mother tongue too. Just my second or third language-enough to converse or express myself when needed.

I am sure that the readers/viewers would love the poems and come out with their reactions.


*Raina,Shiben Krishen MA(Hindi&English),PhD;Professor/Writer;
Born: April22,1942 Srinagar(J&K);
Education: J&K,Rajasthan and Kurukshetra Univs;Head Hindi Dept.Govt Postgraduate College, Alwar;Sought voluntary retirement from Principalship and joined Indian Institute of Advanced Study,Rashtrapati Nivas, Shimla as Fellow to work on Problems of Translation(1999-2001).
Publications: 14 books including Kashmiri Bhasha Aur Sahitya(1972), Kashmiri Sahitya Ki Naveentam Pravrittiyan(1973), Kashmiri Ramayan:Ramavtarcharit(1975 tr.from Kashmiri into Hindi), Lal Ded/Habbakhatoon-monographs tr.from English(1980), Shair-e-Kashmir Mehjoor(tr.1989); Ek Daur(Novel tr.1980) Kashmiri Kavyitriyan Aur unka Rachna Sansar(1996 crit); Maun Sambashan(Short stories 1999); Awards: Bihar Rajya Bhasha Vibagh, Patna 1983; Central Hindi Directorate 1972, Sauhard Samman 1990; Rajasthan Sahitya Academy Translation Award (1998) Bhartiya Anuvad Parishad Award(1999); Titles conferred:Sahityashri,Sahitya Vageesh, Alwar Gaurav, Anuvadshri etc.
Address: 2/537(HIG) Aravali Vihar,Alwar 301001, India
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