All Talk and No Action Wednesday, June 25, 2008

English Translation by Nirmal Vaswani of a Sindhi Poem by Shaikh Ayaz

My Grandson

Whenever you attain youth

And can think for yourself

I permit you

To adopt

Any language you like

And speak (in it)

You live in any country

Whose environment you like

Join any community

With whom you feel affinity

And I give you full authority

To adopt any religion

Which appeals to you

And whether you believe or disbelieve

Any eternal truth

It is your choice

I bequeath to you

Freedom of thought only


Which is the inheritance of a bird

Who has no fixed routes

And who has

No prophets

If someone asks you

What your Grand-Dad

Left for you?

Say without any

Fear of danger


For you this is

My bequest and my blessing

What struck me about this poem were its simplicity and sincere message. Freedom, I guess, is the most under-rated and least treasured gift to us !

Nirmal Vaswani is a maternal uncle who I met with when I went to Gujarat a few days back.

He was the Head Reporter for the Times of India for Kutch for 13 years and has had many articles/columns to his credit.

Though in his 70s, he is an avid reader and writer and owns one of the wealthiest private libraries in Gujarat.

What I loved about him were the engaging conversations we had from Partition to current politics, youth power to movies ! I am thankful to people like him who have taken the pains to

Translate work from Arabic Sindhi to English for people like me..who are keen to learn and read more about their roots and culture..but only for lack of language skills !

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