Sur Karyal

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai

Vai

I belong to that Baloch, to Him I belong
In reverence unmatched
I bow to Him
And kiss the dust He walks upon
Hold Him dearer than the sight of my eyes

1
The bird is its own cage, the pond itself the floating swan
When I searched within myself, I learnt
The hunter lives within me

2
The cowardly liars defiled the fragrant clear pond
From this disgrace
Heartbroken, the swans have flown away to the mountains

3
All the swans are dead, not a single one survived
Their habitat is now the land of cowards and liars

4
Do not be deceived by the thinness of the cobra
When it leaps to attack
Great warriors face great peril

5
There is a single swan in the pond
Surrounded by scores of hunters
It trusts Allah, look at it floating down the waves fearlessly

6
The birds descended on the pond, deceived by the decoy
Poor simpletons, they were easily beguiled and trapped

7
The lotus has its roots deep down the waters
The bumble bee zooms around in the air above
Listening to their whispered longing
The One who feeds one and all
Brought them together. Bravo to love!
It enjoined both the lovers

8
Swans are just swans; none of them is soiled
Wherever they spend a night
That pond becomes perfumed

9
Awareness of His presence gave the understanding of the pond
In the watery depths, the bird discovered
A treasure trove of sparkling pearls

10
The clear waters were darkened by the crows
The swans are ashamed to fly down to such a pond

11
If ever you have looked at a swan attentively
Never will you make a bond with a heron, full of tricks

translated from the Sindhi by Fahmida Riaz



Read the original in Sindhi

Read translator’s note

Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai was born in 1689 in Hala Haveli's village Sui-Qandar, near Hyderabad in Pakistan. He is considered one of the greatest poets in the Sindhi language.


Fahmida Riaz is a well known poet and writer of the Indo-Pak subcontinent. She writes in Urdu, but is well-versed in Sindhi and some other languages of Pakistan.


Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai wrote in the form of classical Indian ragas as sung in Sindh at different times of the day and night. 'Sur Karyal' is a raga of the day. In this poem, Shah uses the birds of Sindh as Sufic symbols.