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Illustrious Poet Noon Meem Rashid was born as Nazar Muhammad Rashid (August 1, 1910 – October 9, 1975). He was an influential Pakistani poet of modern Urdu Poetry.

Noon Meem Rashid

Noon Meem Rashid

Rashid served for the UN and worked in many countries. He is considered to be the father of Modernism in Urdu Literature. Along with Faiz Ahmed Faiz, he is one of the great progressive poet in Pakistani Literature.

The themes of Rashed’s poetry run from the struggle against domination to the relationship between words and meanings, between language and awareness and the creative process that produces poetry and other arts.

Initially his poetry appeared to have influence of John Keats, Robert Browning and Mathew Arnold and wrote many sonnets on their pattern, but later on he managed to maintain his own style. It was his initial exercises of poetry, which could not last for longer period of time and ultimately he developed and maintained his own style.

He rebelled against the traditional form of ‘ghazal’ and became the first major exponent of free verse in Urdu Literature. While his first book, ‘Mavra’, introduced free verse and is more technically accomplished and lyrical,his main intellectual and political ideals reach maturity in his later works.

His beautiful and lyrical poem “Zindagi sey dartey ho” was set to music in the 2010 Bollywood movie, “Peepli Live”. It was also performed by the Indian pop music band, Indian Ocean and received critical appreciation.

The poem, its english translation and the audio link to the poem is given below:

Zindagi Se Darte ho

Zindagi se darte ho, zindagi se darte ho
Zindagi toh tum bhi ho
Zindagi toh tum bhi ho, zindagi toh hum bhi hain
Aadmi se darte ho
Aadmi se darte ho, aadmi toh tum bhi ho
Aadmi toh tum bhi ho, aadmi toh hum bhi hain
Tum abhi se darte ho

You’re afraid of life, you’re afraid of life,
Even you’re life,
Even you’re life, even we are life,
You’re afraid of man,
You’re afraid of man, even you’re man,
even you’re man, even We are men,
You are afraid now itself…

Aadmi zubaan bhi hai, aadmi bayaan bhi hai
Harf aur maani ke rishte aaye aahat se
Aadmi hai wabasta
Aadmi ke daaman haan aadmi ke daaman se
Zindagi hai wabasta
Iss se tum nahin darte ho
Iss se tum nahin darte ho
Ankahi se darte ho
Jo abhi nahin aayi uss ghadi ki aamad ki
Aagahi se darte ho
Tum abhi se darte ho

Man is tongue, man is talk,
Relations of word and meaning came slowly
(through which) man exists
By the closeness of man, yeah closeness of man, (not word-to-word here)
Life exists
You’re not afraid of it..
You’re not afraid of it,
You’re afraid of the unsaid (unforeseen)
The time that has not come,
you’re afraid of its predictions
You’re afraid now itself..

Pehle bhi toh guzre hain
Pehle bhi toh guzre hain
Daur naarsaayi ke, bairiya khudayi ke
Phir bhi yeh samajhte ho

Previously too, there have been
Previously too, there have been
times of non-communication, of heavenly un-love
Still you think so..

Phir bhi yeh samajhte ho
Bech aarzoo mandi
Yeh shabe zabaanbandi
Hai rahe khuda bandi
Tum yehi samajhte ho
Tum magar yeh kya jaano
Lab agar nahin hilte
Haath jaag udte hain
Haath bol udte hain
Subah ki azaan banke

Still you think that
Selling your wishes for low price (can’t tell whether mandi here means low price or not)
(and) This night of silence
Godliness exists and stays..
But how would you know
If lips don’t move
Hands wake up,
Hands speak,
becoming the prayer of the morning..

Roshni se darte ho
Roshni toh tum bhi ho, roshni toh hum bhi hain
Tum abhi se darte ho
rahe shauk mein jaise, raharon ka khoon lapke
Ik naya junoon lapke
Maut bhi chhalak uthe
Aadmi hansa dekho
Shehar phir basa dekho
Tum abhi se darte ho..
Tum abhi se darte ho…

You’re afraid of light,
even you’re light, even We are light,
You are afraid now itself…
Like in the way to their goal, travellers’ blood runs fast
a new passion picks up
Even the death is shaken
and look, the man laughs
The city is built again
you’re afraid now itself..
you’re afraid now itself…

You can hear the song From Peepli Live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzfGDYZFJ7k