Note: If you ever get stuck on who was the first to write on a certain subject in Balochi, Sayad Hashmi would be a safe guess. He even composed music for the famous Faiz Mohammad Faizok.
Beginning in 1949, Sayad Hashmi wrote and often self-published dozens of books, covering almost all the major literary genres, in order to make Balochi a written language. He, among his long list of works, composed hundreds of poems, compiled a voluminous Balochi dictionary, travelled to distant lands to retrieve lost oral poems, wrote a history of Balchi language and literature, published the first Balochi novel and an anthology of short stories, and sorted out a semi-standard script for written Balochi.
All along, he had been battling a grueling TB infection, a fight he lost in 1978, leaving behind a thick pile of manuscripts unpublished.
Fazal Balochi has translated for Balochistan Times a selection from The Broken Verses, a compilation of his sayings in free verse. We will keep posting in batches.
شپ اگں چو مانِشا تھار ببیت
دست دپا گندیت
بلہ، چُش باز بَرا بوتگ کہ دپا
دست گَستَگ و
نیمون اِی ھمِش بوتگ کہ من پجاہ نئیاورتگ
Even if like a grave,
Pitch dark the night remains,
One’s hand can reach out to his mouth.
Many a time
The mouth bitten the hand
And ignorance it feigned!
داں چل سالا مردےآ وتی جوھرداریں زھم
چو براتا تیمّار اِت
و پدا گوں ھمے زھما آییئے سر اِش بُرّ اِت
و زھما نزانت کہ من چے کرتگ
For forty years a man kept his sword in the sheath of love and care.
And then they slashed off his head with the very sword.
But the sword did not know.
یک واجھےآ وشّاتکئے بدلا منا پہ تژن گشت:
-“ما پرسیگ ایں و تو پہ شئیرگوَشی دیوانا آتکگئے؟”-
-“من موتکئے آرگ ھم زاناں!”-
دگہ روچے اے واجہ من نہ دیست۔
A gentleman instead of greeting jibed at me:
“We are mourning here and yet you come to recite your poems?”
I shot back:
“I can chant elegies too”.
I never saw the gentleman again.
Fazal Baloch teaches Urdu at Atta Shad Degree College, Turbat. He is the first regular translator of Balochi literature into English.