Iqbal Bano, Lahore, 13 February 1986
Zia Ul Haq’s Authoritarian regime
Clad in a black saree- black the color of protest and saree, an attire that had been banned in pakistan during this period- she was a figure of protest that night. She sang a series of protest poetry by Faiz Ahmed Faiz which had been banned under the regime. The hall was filled up to the brim, people finding just enough space to land their two feet among the audience and raising the roof with their thunderous cheers.
She sang several but the loudest cheers were reserved for Hum Dekhenege. The concert came to an end but the audience let her leave and begged for an encore of Hum Dekhenge. A technician happened to record this encore and this is what remains today.
I have found myself going back to this story and even more to the song several times in these past two years. Translation doesn’t do it justice, neither does summarisation but I’ll include both here. The poem sings of the time when we shall see the end of tyranny and terror of abused power and the people together will get to rule themselves again. It is this reimagination that offers the hope that circumstances can be different, that they can be changed, that there is power in protest and dissent.
Coming of the age to me means the power to reimagine. To observe the structures that need to be rebuilt. To find out how it could be different. And then fight (not necessarily violently) if you must for this imagination to become reality.
Humes has offered me the tools and this Portfolio is my space to reimagine.
हम दीखेंगे, हम देखेंगे We will see, We will see लाजिम है के हम भीखेंगे It is inevitable (that) we too shall see हम दीखेंगे, हम देखेंगे We will see, We will see वो दीन के जस का वडा है The day that has been promised जो लुह-ए-अजल मुझसे लिहा है, हम दीखेंगे That is written in the book of destiny हम भीखेंगे, हम भी वहींगे We, too, shall see, We also shall see
जब ज़ुल्म-ओ-सितम के को-ए-गरान When the mountains of oppression and cruelty. रोय की तरहा उर जाँगे, हम देखेंगे Will float away like carded wool. We will see हम मेखोमन के पांव की कहानी Underneath our feet – we the governed ये धरा धरी धरो The ground will echo like a thumping heartbeat और अहल-ए-हकम के सर ओपर And the sky over the heads of the rulers जब बबली कर के कारकेगी Will echo with the sound of thunder हम दीखेंगे, हम देखेंगे We will see, We will see
बस नाम रहगे अल्लाह का And only Allah’s name will remain जो ग़ायब भी है ख़तरा भी Who is both elusive and present जो मंजर भी है नजीर भी Who is the spectacle and the beholder उत्थेगा-अल-हक का नारा ‘I am the truth’ will be the acclamation जो मुख्य है हूं, और तुम भी हो Which I am, and so are you और राज करगी खालिक-ए-खुदा And then God’s own people will rule जो मेन भी हूं और तू भी हो Which I am, and so are you हम दीखेंगे, हम देखेंगे We will see, We will see हम देहेंगे, हम देहेंगे We will see, We will see