27 Jun

I read Shafiqur Rahman in the 60′s first then I never left him. When I read The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles and read this part, I could not but remember the one written by Shafiqur Rahman and the amazing similarity. And then looked for it. Luckily I got it in my collection. The Sheltering Sky is a great novel. one learns the life lived in a desert (North Sahara under French colonialism.)

This was published in my blog on March 3, 2011 and is being reproduced here with a picture of some desert.

sahraaon ki cheekh

There are two examples from the literature that both give surprisingly similar description of the way desert people sing:
  1. Paul Bowles , The Sheltering Sky, Page: 62


      “The train came slowly to a stop. Beyond the window it was black night; there was no light to be seen. Somewhere outside, a voice was singing a strange, repetitious melody. Always beginning high and wandering downwards until the breath gave out, only to commence again at the top of the scale, the song had the pattern of a child’s weeping.’

  1. Shafiqur Rahman , Pachhtaave (Urdu) page 181.


      ‘ phir jab sahraaon mein pahli martaba Huddi khwanon ko gaate suna. Raat ke pichhle paher dafatan naghma buland hua jo cheekh se mushabehat rakhta tha; dil se nikli hui cheekh se. Yeh pukar mauseequi ke usoolon aur saazon kee madad se beniyaz thee. Jaise rooh kainaat se hamkalaam ho. Nagma maddham hua aur ajeeb sa fusoon chhorta hua door chala gaya.’

   Translation; ‘Then when I listened to the singing of Huddi khwans (Desert dwellers) in a desert. It was late in the night that a song was being blown up, resembling a wail  —– a scream emerging from one’s soul. Missing from this scream was any use of musical notes or instrument. It looked as if the soul is in conversation with the universe. The song reached a low pitch; it left a strange sensation in the atmosphere as it appeared to be drifting away.’


Posted by on June 27, 2011 in adab and literature


3 responses to “DESERT SONGS

  1. Rafiullah Mian

    June 27, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Shafiqur Rahman ko tu paRhne ka ittifaq nahi hua he lekin ap ne on k novel ki jo quotation di he, wo boht khobsorat he.Sehra aor Dasht k apne lawaazmaat hote hein jo lisaani ikhtilaaf k bawajood dunya k sabhi hissoN me yaksaaN hen.
    Kahani me ye lawazimaat itne detail k sath nahi jitni k shayiri me he. ap ka intikhab superb he.

  2. shakil akhtar

    June 28, 2011 at 10:06 am

    I read Shafeequr Rahman since the 60’s and love him dearly. He is a humarist perexcellence and also at the same time a philosopher. I wanted you to notice that two witers of very different descent and of very different times, have written the almost same observation about the way desert people sing. The description by both is candid as it is accurate. Shafeequr Rahman worte his in 1948 and Paul in the 60’s. Also you see the picture more carefully. I chose this because you will feel as if it is not the sun but someone singing a desert song on the horison and me and you are listening!

    • Rafiullah Mian

      June 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm

      Agreed Shakil Akhtar sahib. Both are beautiful.


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