Shah Latif and His Message - G. M. Syed
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Chapter 12
Some Selected Verses of Shah Latif From the Point of View of their Themes

The entire poetical work of Shah Latif has been collected in accordance with certain musical tunes, and there are many tales and parts related to each tune. One might say that it is a vast ocean, which enshrines innumerable pea4s. I have made an effort to find some of these pearls, which are most invaluable for the embellishment of Sindhi life:

The Shop of Kalal (The circle of Patriotic Sindhis).

If you desire to drink, go to the wine dealer and put your entire self before the keg of wine.

The clinic’ of Medical Man (The Gathering of National Leaders)

The same old cries are heard from the huts of the poor, which continue for the whole night But these medical men still resort to the primitive methods of medication.

Traitors to the country (Those who commit oppression for the ingratiating of the aliens).

My friend do not try to shoot me with you arrow, because you are a part of myself. Beware that you do not kill yourself with your own arrow.

The Lamp and the Moth (The homeland and the patriotic people)

The moths willingly and intentionally gather around the bonfire. The heat of the fire could not keep the true lovers away from truth, and this is how these moths have made the sacrifice of their lives.

The Goldsmith’s House (The Revolutionary Movement).

First make yourself the anvil of the goldsmith, and then find out his address. It is possible that he turns you into steel.

The Gathering of the Mystics (The sincere servants of the Nation)

Those mystics are neither happy nor unhappy in giving anything. They have totally espoused annihilation.

The School (The priests and the men of learning who simply see things from a superficial point of view).

The people are devoted to reading books but they never allow the meanings enshrined them to take root in their hearts. Therefore the more they read, they greater the sinners they become.

The Full Moon and the beloved (The Big Countries and Sindh)

Oh moon when you are full and rise with all your beauty, you can never stand comparison to even one glimpse of my beloved.

In the Light of the Stars (Faith in revolution)

Look, my beloved is omnipresent. Here, there, under that star, he is present everywhere. He is sweeter even than honey; there is never any bitterness in him.

The vision of the Beloved in a Dark night (The conception of a light of revolution in the Dark Nights of Oppression).

When it was pitch dark in the middle of the night, at that very moment my beloved appeared in a vision. The moment he appeared the Moon and stars lost their light.
Oh my dear camel, call to your mind your ancestors, because your name and that of your ancestors is well known. I therefore ask you to do some good turn to me.

The Service of the Ocean (The love for Sindh and a faith in its vast natural resources)

Oh man, worship the vast ocean. There are innumerable pearls and other treasures in its depth. If you can get even a particle worth of this treasure you will become the possessor of great wealth.

The Divers (The Thinkers and Intellectuals)

It has been a tradition of these divers that they bring pearls from the depths of the sea.

The Old Boat (Reactionary Tendencies)

Oh man, your boat is too old, do not overload it. It has many holes in its bottom and the water is rushing in. Your time has passed, now wait for the day of reckoning.

The Goldsmith’s Shop (Those who can visualize truth)

We know some of the goldsmiths who claim to have the ability to judge the precious stones, but as a matter of fact they are not. They quietly hand out spurious peals, and know nothing about their value. Let us see whether they prove real judges or confuse them with valueless glass.

The Gypsy Woman (A true companion of a Revolutionary)

Look at that fisherwomen, she is lighting lamps in her boat and hanging colorful buntings. She sings a song, which concerns with her desire for the return of her beloved. This is the only prayer and desire, she says.

The Terror of the River (The Unfavorable Conditions)

The swiftness of the current and the whirlpools instill terror in the heart. The ferocious waves threaten to breach the dams. Even the dauntless swimmers are stunned at the unprecedented ferocity of the waves. These are the waves, which never let a traveler pass safely. Oh my friend, help me cross this turbulent river.

Exploitation of the Rivers (The Alien Power)

Do not be so arrogant, Oh, the river. Even you have to answer God for your deeds. Remember, this drunkenness of yours will never last forever. Just in a moment you will be shocked back to your senses.
I can hear the sound of the bells around the necks of buffaloes creating music. Even in my dreams I hear these voices. I had an idea that the entire world is hearing these sounds.

Yogurt of the Cowherds (The Correct Political Education)

Sohni has drunk the whey, which Maenwal had prepared for her with great love. The curd which she had tasted did not quench her thirst, because she could not bear the pain of being not able to meet her Maenwal, She could not find any rest without meeting him.

The Unbaked Earthen Pitcher (The Political Parties which raise sentimental slogans)

Carefully deliberating and by committing a mistake Sohni lost her mind as well as her heart. Even the waves of the river bewail that Sohni had drowned. The unbaked pitcher drowned the beautiful Sohni in the river.

Maenwal and his Buffa1os (Sindhi People and Sindh)

Oh my god, keep the buffaloes of my Maenwal always happy. How beautifully these black buffaloes with well-rounded horns are coming in their herds. The plains and meadows, when they graze look bright and beautiful. When the flood comes, I deeply miss my beloved.

In the memory of Sarang (The Rains) (Tile Desire for Revolution)

 Men, the deer, the buffaloes and all other people always remember the rainy season. The ducks and the cuckoo also find the rains as a source of sustenance. Every morning the shell in the sea looks toward the sky for that drop of rain, which will take the form of a pearl. Let my people have the fresh water to drink so that they are happy.

Bit and the Lake Karar (The center of Art and Learning)

The rains with all their vigor come in the wilderness and deserts. The lightening has illuminated the northern sky, and there is grass in plenty. After making the wilderness green and fresh, the clouds have filled all places around Lake Karar with water. (Karar is the final resting-place of Shah Latif).


The colorful Aspects of Revolution

Today the clouds have appeared from the sky and the clusters of stars in most beautiful colors. Oh, the dwellers of the deserts, it is the time of celebration. Take up your musical instruments, and sing melodious songs. Today the rains from these clouds have completely saturated the land in Padaam.

Welcoming the Revolution

The rains have come, the sky is overcast The birds in their joy are singing melodious songs. The farmers and other laborers have picked up their implements. To day my beloved wants to shower all his blessings upon us. My people are really very happy.

Is there one who has witnessed with has own eyes the brave and the valiant (Hazrat Imam Hussain and his companions) fighting, or any one fighting like them. The brave men laid down their lives on the battlefield only when many of the enemy had been put to sword. For them, the goal, which is fraught with danger to life, is easy for them.
Day and night the vultures look for their prey in the wilderness and deserts. In their anxiety they inquire from each other about the battlefield. They exhibit great interest in the dead bodies of the brave, but the dead bodies of the cowards lie rotting there.

Terrible Jungle (The Difficult Stages of Freedom)

Oh people, I am the traveler of a road, where the journey is not made easy by the roadside trees, but there appear poisonous snakes in the way. I ventured out alone on this journey where no family or tribe will come to succor me. Oh my God, only you can help and guide me in this situation.

Sufferings in the Mountains (Difficulties on the way of Truth)

Oh the mountain, relieve me in my sufferings, do not add to them, because already I am weak and helpless. I have a personal relationship with my beloved.

Ways and By ways

 O Sassi, do not be anxious, your Punnu, your beloved is not far. Do not be frightened by these mountains, these mountain roads cannot stand in your way, because, as you can see, he has just passed this way. These ways which do the droppings of the camels, the rocks and stones, mark. Sassi made every possible effort to follow these travelers. Shah Latif says that these mountains serve as a guide to the camels in the caravan. Sassi is known and recognized because she follows the path chalked out by her chief.

The Ferocious Dog

 The dog of my beloved woke him from his sleep. He also got up with a jerk and started barking this is how it will relieve the poor traveler from difficulties and anxieties.

Mount Harhu (The Obstacles in the way of the Progress of Sindh)

With love and dedication I, Sassi, will cross the mountains. Oh my God let me not be misguided. I shall cross these mountains and pass even on my knees. I shall never rest until I am successful] in finding my beloved.

The call of the Desert (The voice of Sindhu Desh)

The voice of Sassi in the wilderness and deserts is as sweet as the music of a musical instrument. In fact this is the voice of love. But people consider it no more than the sigh of a weak woman.

The Camels of the Strangers (The Alien Power in Sindh)

Oh Sassi, when saw you the camels belonging to strangers, then why did you not tie their knees with a twine. This was only the consequence of your arrogance, otherwise why you had to bear these difficulties and anxieties.

Belching of the Camel (Isolation of the National Leader)

These camels do not wish to graze anything, they like nothing, because they feel so tired. It is the duty of this poor Sassi, whose dress is in tatters, that she should remain firm and determined to reach her goal. This is my only concern.

The Caravan of Kech (The Sindhi Nationalist Movement)

My beloved, look, what a caravan is heading toward us from the land of Punnu. The leader of the caravan is magnificent as the caravan. If I could I would cut my long hair for the reins to be made of them for his camel, and I would make the saddle of his camel. The companions of Punnu are as courageous and handsome as Punnu himself.

Nearness of the Beloved (The contemporary politics)

My destiny has forced me to live close to Punnu. His love has consumed me with fire. Oh Sassi, none other, but your desire and steadfastness have established your relations with these travelers (Punnu and his people)

Stopping on the way during the Journey (Determination for the Journey)

Sassi says that these mountains have no significance before her, these dark and barren mountains cannot stand in her way because under all circumstances she has to start her journey in the morning. She cannot wait any longer.

Troublesome Mountain (The Obstacles in the way of National Progress)

Sassi says that many high mountains stand in her way, through which it is not easy to travel. Frightening voices from the mountains are heard. But one who is determined to reach her Punnu (the destination) will remain undeterred by any obstacle. Only those who are really inspired with courage and determination can understand the meanings of life.


The Grief-stricken and the Mountain (The Patriotic elements and the Temptations in their way.)

When both the grief-stricken Sassi and the mountains heard a sigh together, even the beasts of the jungle began to mourn when they heard this sigh.

The Spinning Wheel and the Law (An Exercise in Futility)

Sassi asks her mother to go and bring her spinning wheel. Alas, the dear one (Punnu) for whom she span has left for his own land. He has left her alone.

Hiding of the Sun (The curse of Darkness)

The sun has set; the waters of the sea have inundated the land. My own people (the people of Punnu) have left me alone to die.

Disgust with the World

My shirt is torn at my shoulder, my head is uncovered. My dear friends, what is left for me in this city of Bhambhor.

Grief and Sorrows

 I do not lack in grief, anxieties and sufferings. Oh my mother, the well is full to its capacity, there has never been any shortage in its water.

The Queue (Relationship with Discipline)

Oh Sassi, do not detach yourself from the caravan of your beloved, lest you lose sight of it when it climbs the mountains, and you are left behind to lose your way.

Sacrifice of Comfort and Happiness (To embrace all kinds of sufferings for noble aims)

I have been able to acquire this heartache of love and separation after sacrificing many comforts and joys and this is the only thing which has guided me on my way to my beloved Punnu.

The Miracle of the Musical Instrument (The song of Revolution)

The beggar (Bejal) came into the palace with his song and musical instrument and every note of his music seemed to demand a life. He said that he would not leave without the decapitated head of the ruler. Soon the palace of Junagarh would be razed to the ground.

The Spirit of Se1f~sacnfice (The call of the Sindhi Nationalism).

If I place a hundred tunes on one side of the scale, and only one from the instrument of Bejal, the latter will outweigh the former If there is no remembrance of the beloved in one’s heart, then this human frame has no value more than a skeleton.

The Night of Waiting (The Desire for a Revolution)

I, Momal, have spent the entire night standing, until even when the stars had disappeared. I continued missing my beloved and his camel the whole might. I continued weeping till the sunrise.

The Pink Garments (Sindhi Nationalism)

Momal and her friends wear pink dresses, resembling the beauty and color of the rose. Their hair are always perfumed. The beauty of these delicate women arouse a strange sense of pain in the heart, and one wonders at the beauty of their ornaments.

Beckoning of Beauty (The Trap of Human Desires)

The attractions of this material world cannot stand in the way of these pious men of God. Their emotions are never stirred even when beautiful women try to allure them because they have transcended all these worldly pleasures.

The Barren Mountain (The Difficult stage of Temptation)

The people who have allowed themselves to be scalded sitting on the barren Mountain (a mountain near -Hyderabad) and have killed their desires, they are the real mystics, the men of God.
This is so peaceful a place where you do not hear the barking of neither dogs nor the anxiety of the hunters. As Sassi passes these ways she curses these mountains and passes.

The Ascetics and "Nani" (Nationalist Movement for independence).

Hiding from the people, the pious men have set about toward Hinglaj. Now it is quite difficult for me to stay here, because without them my survival is not possible.

Dedication at Lahoot (Dedication to the achievement of the aim)

The pious men have given up blowing on their horns, their twines and their rough covering ; they have removed their garlands of beads from their necks. They have dashed their bagging bowls on the ground. Those who possess a desire and love for the shrine at Lasbela, they do not leave their homes.

The covering of the Religious Guide (The lesson of truthful politics)

I feel ashamed of removing or cleaning the covering, which the pious men have given to me. My disciples cannot provide me that comfort and peace of mind, which I get from it.

The Kiln and Love (Secrecy)

Oh man, why don’t you keep your love secret as the ~n of the potter. If the fire loses its heat how will the pots be baked. So listen attentively to the potter and let it remain in your mind.
 The love, which is only for self-interest, has no significance. Laelan, you should try to find only your Chanesar although you may have to go through untold sufferings.
When my beloved drove nails into my neck, those nails were never removed.
I can repeatedly hear the cry of the swans. Perhaps they are ready to fly. their voices are full of sighs. Perhaps they are stricken with grief after being separated from their innocent young ones.

The Hunter

The hunter has a gun in his hand, he is wearing dirty clothes. This is the hunter who goes after big game and not the small, and then he goes ahead.

The Poor Laborer (The Laboring People)

Holding the battered winnows in their hands and a spade on their shoulders, they wander about for a morsel to satisfy their hunger. They lead a nomadic life. Look, the Lakhas are leaving this place.

The Limited Resources of the Revolutionaries

This steel is not straight, it is crooked, and is very uneven. Then how can I spin cloth, I have to spend move and can save only a little. How can the poor generate resources, but if my husband owns me I shall be able stand proudly with my friends.
When these eyes see my beloved in the morning I feel fed with breakfast. The sight of the beauty of my beloved is no less than a pilgrimage for my body and my soul

Pride in our Traditions

There are so many patches on my dress; my covering is torn at various places. In order to reach my dear ones, I have not worn the shawl given by you, Oh Umer. The shawl I was wearing still covers my head. My God, I pray thee to protect my honor.

Love for Independence even in Poverty

Oh Umer, the king, my homeland is one where a wild flower grows in abundance, and where people build their homes on the sand. There the people love their companions and regale them with cups of milk. Oh Umer here in your laud I have come here as a trust, which should never be betrayed. Let me go back as pure as I came here.

Love for the countrymen and hatred for slavery

Marvi says that my soul has firmly attached myself with my dear ones, how can I break this relationship. Oh Umer, the King I always remember that flower and grass. Physically I am here, but my mind and soul are in my homeland Malir. I remember my native huts and here alas, I find myself confined in a fortress.

Preference to a Life of Freedom in the Desert over the Slavery in a palace

Now my homeland Dat is populated, fresh and green, where my people are living happily. God has blessed the whole country but I am confined in this place where I have a sense of being choked.

The Faith of the Revolutionary

My friends, all of us should learn a lesson from the shells. Look at them, they wait for the clouds even when living in the depths of water. I see their support only in this desire.

The Field of the Opponent

Water has surged out of the desert, and the dear ones are watering the animals after drawing the water out of the well. These women draw water from the depth of sixty feet. They go early in the morning and are much pleased with themselves. They are overflowing with joy. Love for my dear one continues to grow and renew ever day.

Disgust at a Transitory Benefit

 Why should I keep these clothes and these ornaments. I don’t intend to attend the wedding of anyone, because I am sad and unhappy. My people are yet far from me. Then why should I wear this dress.

The Message of the National Leader

Even the crow coming from the land of the beloved does not tell a lie. It always brings the true message. He is conveying the message of my beloved to me and mine to him. It has completely removed all anxiety from my heart.

The Love for the People

We are the people whose entire life consists of the fish baskets and fishing nets. We are deeply in love with the fish. Wherever we sit, our clothes give a smell. We are like the beaver, which keeps submerged in water. Only Jam Samma has given respect and love to the insignificant people like us.
The hunter of the birds has lost all vitality, and his backbone has curved into the shape of the roof of the hut, which is covered with grass. In such a hut the birds are easily trapped.
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