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
- 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.’
- 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.’