Nov 10: Malala Day – and poems for Malala (and her father)

“I am Malala” – see UN Education Envoy website for details on this campaign and how you can get involved –

With the world commemorating November 10 as ‘Malala Day’ (see the inspiring video at this linkin honour of Pakistani child activist Malala Yousafzai, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon extended his support to the young girl and her fight for education, describing her as the “global symbol” of every girl’s right to an education. This is a good occasion to share three poems (Persian and Hindi) I received recently: 1. ‘The Street of the Teenager of Fourteen”, by Nahid Kabiri, 2. “Who is this Ziauddin Yusufzai” by Pratap Somvanshi, 3. “Nanhe Haath Malala” by Pankaj Nigam, with translations,  in addition to the Urdu poem earlier shared on this blog, Malala’s Response: Dekh Zinda HooN Mein.

Thanks to Shahla Haeri, the well known Iranian anthropologist and friend of Pakistan, for sending this with the note: “My friend of many years, Nahid Kabiri, is a multitalented poet, artist, dancer in Tehran. She has written the following poem (in Persian, translated into English) for Malala and asked me to send it to my Pakistani friends”.


Nahid Kabiri

by Nahid Kabiri

For Malala Yousefzai and all the heroines
like her living in her geographic region

Translated into English by Kambiz Parsai

In that grayish afternoon,
the tick tack of the pendulum
was to herald the conspiracy
by the firing of some bullets heard
followed by the impatient croaks of some disturbed crows!

She welters in her blood,
as the reddish leaves of autumn fall.
The wind moans in agony!

She welters in her blood,
the broken lantern in her hand
and her so many youthful desires boiling up
in her frightened mind!

The Lane of Teenagers of Fourteen is a dangerous place!
It’s full of ghouls and ogres of childhood fables;
full of gunners and bullets;
satiated with smoke and the smell of gun-powder;rattling now and then
as the guns fire;
ridden with sorrows and desolation.

She falls down weltering in her blood.
She hadn’t hidden her books;
she hadn’t hidden her thoughts;
she hadn’t hidden her notebook of school exercises;
she was not hiding her youthful joy
of hearing the jingling of her bracelets and bangles;
Nor had she tried to conceal under her pale skin
all those colorful stars of the desires of her age–
all those shiny stars of green,red, orange and violet colors!

In a land where the sky is always patched by clouds,
she falls and welters in her blood–
her sweet dreams of shiny sky, mirror, and twinkling stars not yet to come true!
She rolls in dust and blood
still firmly holding her lantern!

The spiteful enemy is a youth
sharing the same tribe with her as place of origin —
her foster brother!
Fed by the same breasts as her;
put to sleep by her mother with the same lullaby,
and would share the same meals later with her and her mother,
eating from the same loaf of bread baked in the same furnace under the same roof!

O’ souls of blind hatred , ire, vengeance,explosion and blood!
Come now to the school of compromise and peace!
Come holding no gun ,letting the sparrows chirp on your shoulders!
Her little heart is the kind heart of the birds of rain ,
she will lovingly wash the bitter memories
and heal up the sores of the past!

October 2012

2. Who is this Ziauddin Yusufzai

‘Yeh Kaisa Baap hai Ziauddin Yousufzai?” (What kind of a father is this Ziauddin Yousufzai?) Urdu translation

By Pratap Somvanshi
Translation: Namita Sethi

Ziauddin Yusufzai
Who is he? What does he want?
When terror sweeps across
The valley of Swat
Fear inspired by
the Taliban’s diktat:
‘Acid shall deface
Any girl who goes to school’;
Spills into the hearts
of mothers who hush
their daughters behind
hastily shut doors
holding them close.
At that very moment
Ziauddin Yusufzai,
Teacher and poet of the valley,
Sows the seed of courage
In his daughter Malala’s heart
In the hope that it shall take root
In the barren soil of Swat
And blossom some day:
A defiant orchard.
In his daughter’s hand
He places poetry
Tagore’s Ekla Chalo Re:
Impelling her
To find her own way
And forge her own path
Alone through streets deserted
To school and to freedom.
She faces the camera
As others quiver
And hide in fear
Why can’t girls come to school?
Why threaten them with acid, whips, guns?
Why erase their voice, their face, their rights?
Which religion teaches thus?
She challenges
And the world hears.
And in his heart
The poet rejoices
At the possibility
That girls shall be enabled
to become all they want
And walk the corridors of power
Malala shall be a doctor, as she would like to be
Not the victim of an anonymous acid thrower
Like the mighty Himalayas
Stands Malala’s guardian
His hand gentle on her head
Defying the extremists ,
Firm in his resolve to stay
Anchored in the valley
Nor shall Malala quit school:
Deal with it
Or leave Swat alone.

Pratap Somvanshi is Senior Resident Editor Hindustan Times Group, New Delhi (Hindi Editions). This poem for Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousufzai, written originally in Hindi, was translated and published in Urdu in Sahafat Daily (Oct 21, 2012).

3. ‘Nanhe Hath Malala’  – By Pankaj Nigam (India)

Friends, this is for dear brave-heart Malala Yousafzai. Request you all to support her and spread the message she stands for. Sharing my poetry ‘NANHE HAATH MALALA’. Thanks to my poet friend Nafey Kumail for giving me the idea of URDU translation and thanks to Nasir Mustafa Rana, my friend from Pakistan, who did the translation…I am touched. Thanks to all. My humble tribute to her. God bless Malala.

English translation for this blog by Ali Jafari, following the transliteration below.

Duniya ki sabse bahadur beti Malala Yusufazai ke liye

In nannhe hatho’n se ho kar
awaz uthegi goonjegi
in nannhe haatho’n me ban parcham
azadi khulkar jhoomegi

ye haath kheench kar laye’nge
taareek waqt me sooraj ko
ye haath uda le jaaye’nge
us pari desh me titli ko

ye haath karenge ab hisaab
un dabi sisakti faslo’n ka
ye haath likhenge mustaqbil
ab aane wali naslo’n ka

ye haath banayenge apni
shaffaaf sunahri duniya ko
wo duniya jisme jang nahi
aurat bachcho’n par zulm nahi
wo duniya jisme pyar bhara
wo duniya jo bas apni ho
bas itni ke mai’n hans to sakoo’n
aur hansne se mere
tumhe dar na lage.

The Bravest Girl in The World
English translation by Ali Jafari

Through these tiny hands shall emerge
A rising and resounding voice
Proudly fluttering standards of liberty
These tiny hands shall raise and rejoice

Darkness of times shall be put to rout
From the palms of these hands, new suns will come out
These hands will be wings to leap and prance
For butterflies of peace in fairylands to sing and dance

These hands will now settle the accounts
Of those fields of suppression and injustice that no one recounts
These hands will now craft a shining future
For generations to live in love, peace and pleasure

These hands shall now create their fair and shining world
A world devoid of wars, now times will herald
And devoid of atrocities on women and children
A world that I proudly call my own

I pine not for much but be able to laugh
A laughter that doesn’t frighten you –  the so “tough” into half

5 Responses

  1. Awesome post Beena. More power to Malala.


  2. Thanks, Nasir



  3. Thanks Beena ji for sharing my poem ‘Nanhe Haath Malala’. Poem by Nahid Kabiri is really touching. Please convey my best wishes to her.


  4. wonderful amazing.


  5. Thanks dear Ali Jafari for this wonderful translation on my poem. This is just great…my humble thanks to you. Thanks Beena ji…I appreciate.


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