He was walking quickly through the alley. His eyes were wide open and he stared frantically straight in front of him. A group of people was tossing banana skins in the middle of the street. The walking man hurried past the skins, then suddenly slipped, and fell. The whole crowd started to laugh at him. Furious, the walking man got up. Wild with rage, he began cursing the laughing crowd, “Hey, look at all of you! Blood is flowing in our country and you’re laughing. You should all be ashamed!”

He hurried off, and said to himself, “My God! Will I ever come out of this alley safe and sound? And now the radios will be turned on again. My God! And then the news broadcasts will begin.”

He had taken only a few steps when the radios were turned on in the stores along both sides of the alley. The news about the wounded and the dead began. All the radios spread vicious news about the country. The news coming from all corners cut like a sharp dagger into his heart and  broke it in two. The walking man screamed, “All of them are telling lies. All of them have been bought. They have been bribed.”

He stuck his fingers in his ears and set off running. His white clothing had become soiled. The people began laughing at him once again. The walking man hurried out from the crowded alley. Out in the square he moved at the same pace. The newspaper vendors were screaming, “News, news, come and buy the news. Read all about the latest news.” Every newspaper was red with the news of the dead and wounded. On the front page of each newspaper was a map of the country that resembled a big fish. It looked like as if it had been thrown on a dry riverbank during a violent storm. The map had been cut in the middle and divided in two. The walking man did not even look at the newspapermen but proceeded at the same speed and with the same frantic look. Suddenly a newspaperman appeared in front of him. “Come and buy the latest news.” With a heartrending voice he held up the newspaper in the walking man’s face. The walking man looked at the torn map on the front page. It was pierced all over. His eyes filled with tears, he screamed, “Oh, my God, what kind of oppressor has cut this fish to pieces? Look here, one half of it moving in this direction, and the other half in another direction.” The newspaperman burst into laughter, saying, “You madman, this is not a fish, this is the map of our country.” The walking man set off in a hurry and began swearing, “All of these newspapers have been enslaved by money. They are all lying. Their every word has been poisoned. Oh, people, do not read this, it will kill us, drive us crazy, alienate us. Oh, people, the liars will bring about a disaster, deprive us of a nation. Oh, people…!” The people started laughing once more and the walking man quickly ran away.

He left the crowd and went straight home to his room. The room was locked. He put his hand in his pocket for the key. There was a hole in the pocket and his hand went right through. He was filled with anger and looked around him frantically. He found a long solid iron bar with which he bent the padlock. The lock broke. A gentle wave of laughter spread across the walking man’s angry face as he sat down. Everything in the room was in disarray. He gathered all his beloved books, spread out a cloth, and put the books in it. Some newspapers lay in the corner of the room. “All of these have been bought with money” he said angrily. He gnashed his teeth and said, “I will not spare a single one,” and began tearing apart the newspapers. He heard the sound of someone’s footsteps and screamed, “And who could this be? Not even here can they leave me alone. If I didn’t manage to destroy someone’s newspapers in the city, what do others care what I do with my papers? I will destroy my television and smash my radio as well. Those have all been bought with money. Not one of these lying instruments will be spared,  I will take my revenge on all of them. I will go up to the hills. A town such as this will not serve me any good, where lies are sold in each and every alley; lies, as truthful as a hen giving milk.”

The television screen crunched as he hit it with a stick.  A group of friends arrived at his house:

—Oh, what are you doing? You’ve destroyed the television.

—He is right, it’s worth a lot, also those newspapers that you have torn apart. If that had not happened, you could have used them as covers for your books, added another of his friends.

The walking man became angry and said, “I will not cover my books with  lies. I will destroy all of them. They have all been bought with money. I will smash my radio too.” It crunched as the radio was destroyed. “All of it has been bought with money. I will not spare one thing. All of these newspapers are stained by poisonous bullets from Kalashnikovs, bullets fired at our heads. And each and every word of news from these radios and televisions is a poisonous knife that cuts our hearts in two, like that fish. This has been bought with money, the newspapers, the radio, the television, and I will not keep any of them.”

His friend embraced and kissed him. “You have become completely mad. We also say that these things have been bought with money. But why did you have to destroy everything, like a madman with a stick, smashing those things that had been bought with money; it is like setting fire to one’s own money.” The walking man, filled with anger, laughed and said, “You don’t know anything. You are mad. Help me God, they are the ones who are mad, and they call me mad. I don’t have the patience to explain the problem with what you are saying. You have all been maddened by these poisonous lies. Our discussion is over. I have run out of patience and will not bother to explain this again.”

The walking man wrapped his books in the cloth and said loudly, “Good-bye my friends, I will walk away from you now and leave this city in your custody.” 

August 28, 2000

From the short story collection The Man Who Went into the Hills (1383/2004-2005).

 

په كوڅه كې ګړندى ګړندى روان و. سترګې يې نه رپولې او مخامخ يې ليوني ليوني كتل. يوې ډلي د كيلو پوستكي د لارې منځ ته ور وغورځول. په بيړه روان سړى د كيلو له پاسه تيريده چې ناڅاپه راوغورځېده. ټولو پړك پړك ور پورې وخندل. روان سړى په غوسه راپاڅېد. خندېدونكو خلكوته يې په غوسه و كتل او په ښكنځلو سر شو:

–”هن، دا وګورئ ! په وطن كې يې وينې روانې دي او دوى ها ها ها خاندي. وشرميږئ.” بيا ګړندى ګړندى روان شو. له ځانه سره يې په فريادي انداز وويل:

وه خدايه! له دې اوږدې كوڅې به كله سلامت را ووځم؟ اوس به بيا راډيوګانې ولګوي. وه خدايه! بيا د خبرونو وخت را ورسېد.” لاڅوګامه يې نه وو اخيستي چې د كوڅې د دواړو خوا وو په دكانونو كې راډيوګانې ولګېدې. د مرګ ژوبلې خبرونه پيل شول. ټولو راډيوګانو د وطن په هكله زهر لرونكې خبرې كولې. د خبر هره كرښه لكه يوه تيره چاړه چې د چا پر زړه راتېرېږي او زړه يې دوه ټوټې كيږي. روان سړي چيغې كړې:

–”دا ټول درواغ وايي. دا ټولې راډيوګانې اخيستل شوې دي. په پيسو اخيستل شوې دي.” په غوږونو كې يې ګوتې كيښودې او په منډ منډه روان شو. سپيني جامې يې په خاورو خړې شوې وې. خلكو بيا په پړك پړك ور پورې وخندل. روان سړى تيز تيز د كوڅې له ګڼه ګوڼې راووت. په ميدانۍ كې يې ګامونه نور هم ګړندي كړل. اخبار خرڅوونكو چيغې وهلې:

–”اخبار، اخبار، واخلئ اخبار. له تا زه حالاتو نه ځانونه خبر كړئ.” د اخبارونو هره سرخي د مرګ ژوبلې خبرونه وو. د هر اخبار پر ټنډه د وطن نقشه كښل شوې وه. نقشه يوه غټ كب ته پاتې كېده.

تا به وې چې د كوم زورور طوفان په وخت كې يوې توندې څپې وچ ساحل ته څپ وهلى دى. د نقشې پر ټټر چاړه راتيره وه او نقشه يې په منځ نيمه كړې وه. روان سړي اخبارونو ته نه وركتل او همداسې ليونى ليونى او ګړندى ګړندى روان و. ناڅا په يې يو اخبار خرڅوونكى په مخ كې راشين شو. دا واخلئ نوى اخبار له زړه بوږنوونكي غږ سره يې د روان سړي سترګو ته اخبار ونيو. روان سړي د اخبار پر ټنډه پر منځ غوڅه شوې نقشه وليده. ځاى پر ځاى مېخ شو. سترګې يې له اوښك ډكې شوې. چيغې يې كړې:

–”وه خدايه! دا كب كومو ظالمانو په منځ غوڅ كړى دى؟ دا وګورئ نيم ځان يې يوې خواته ښوري او نيم بلې خوا ته.” اخبار خرڅوونكي په پړك پړك ور پورې وخندل:

–اې ليونيه دا كب نه دى، دا د وطن نقشه ده!

روان سړى په بېړه روان شو او بدرد يې پيل كړل:

–”دا اخبارونه هم ټول په پيسو اخيستل شوي دي. دا ټول درواغ وايي. د دوى هر ټكى په زهرو لړلى دى. وه خلكو دا مه لولئ وژني مو، ليوني كوي مو، پر دي كوي مو. وه خلكو درواغجن درنه جوړوي. بې وطنه كوي مو وه خلكو...!” خلكو بيا په پړك پړك ور پورې وخندل او روان سړى په بيړه روانشو. له ګڼه ګوڼې را ووت. نېغ خپلې كوټې ته راغى. كوټه كولپ وه. د كيلي په نمط يې جېب ته لاس كړ. جېب يې سورى و او لاس يې ښكته تر جېب را ووت. سخته غوسه ورغله اخوا دې خوا يې لټون پيل كړ. يو كلكه اوږده اوسپنه يې پيدا كړه. اوسپنه يې د كولپ په خوله كې تاوه راتاوه كړه. كولپ يې مات كړ. د روان سړي په غوسه ناكه څېره د موسكا يوه نرۍ څپه را خوره شوه او بيرته كيناسته. په بيړه كوټې ته ننوت. په كوټه كې هر څه ګډوډ پراته وو. د خپلي خوښي كتابونه يې سره را ټول كړل څادر يې ورته وغوړاوه او كتابونه يې پكې كيښودل. د كوټې په كنج كې اخبارونه پراته وو. په غوسه شو:–”دا ټول په پيسو اخيستل شوي دي.” غاښونه يې وچيچل:

–”يو هم ولاكه رانه پاتې شي.” د اخبارونو په څيرولو يې پيل وكړ. د چا د پښو دربى يې واوريد. غوسه ورغله:

–”دا بيا څوك شول؟ دلته مې هم په ارام نه پريږدي. كه په ښار كې د چا اخبارونه نه شم څيري كولاى نو زما په اخبارونو كې يې څه كار؟ دا دى زه خپل تلويزيون او خپله راډيو هم ماتوم. دا ټول په پيسو اخيستل شوي دي. دا درواغجن اسباب زه يو هم نه پرېږدم. له دې ټولو نه غچ اخلم. زه هسې هم غره ته روان يم، داسې ښار زما نه خوښېږي چې په كوڅه كوڅه كې يې درواغ په پيسو خرڅيږي او رښتيا په كې د مرغۍ پۍ وي.

خرپ شو چې د تلويزيون ښيښې ته يې ډانګ ورخلاص كړ. درب شو چي يوه ډله ملګري يې كوټې ته ورننوتل:

–”اې دا څه كوې؟ تلويزيون دې مات كړ.” يوه بل ملګري يې هم ورغبرګه كړه:

–”رښتيا درته وايي د ډېرې بيې دى، هغه اخبارونه دې هم څيري كړي دي. كه نور هيڅ هم نه واى د كتابونو پشتيو ته خو په كارېدل.”روان سړى ډير په غوسه شو:

–”زه مې خپلو كتابونو ته له درواغو نه پشتۍ نه جوړوم. دا ټول ماتوم.داټولپه پيسو اخيستل شوي دي. دا ده راډيو هم له ډاګه ولم.” خرپ شو چې د راډيو د ماتيدو غږ وا وريدل شو:

–”دا ټول په پيسو اخيستل شوي دي. دا يو هم نه پريږدم. ددې ټولو اخبارونو ټكى ټكى د كلاشنكوف په زهرو لړلې مرمۍ ده چې سرونو ته مو ورباندي ولي. ددې راډيوګانو او تلويزيونونو د خبر هره كرښه په زهرو لړلې چاړه ده چې زموږ زړونه ورباندي نيموي، لكه هغه كب يې چې ور باندې نيم كړى و. دا په پيسو اخيستل شوي اخبارونه، راډيو او تلويزيون يو هم نه پريږدم.

ملګرو يې په غيږ كې ونيو او ښكل يې كړ:

–”ته ليونى شوى يې. موږ هم وايو چې دا ټول شيان په پيسو اخيستل شوي دي. نو ته ولې دا د تاوان كار كوې او په پيسو اخيستل شوي شيان د ليونو غوندې له ډاګه ولې او خپلو پيسو ته اور ور اچوې.

روان سړي له غوسې ډكه خندا وكړه:

–”اوس تاسو دومره نه پوهيږئ. ښه ليوني ياست. توبه خدايه لېونوي پخپله دوى دي او وايي ماته ليونى. زه دومره حوصله نه لرم چې تاسو د خپلوخبرو په اصلي مطلب وپوهوم. تاسو دې زهرجنو درواغو پاګلان كړي ياست. په خبرومو سره نه خلاصيږي. او زه يې دومره بې حوصلې كړى يم چې اوس تاسو ته دا سبق زور په زېر نه شم تكرارولى.

روان سړي په څادر كي نغښتي كتابونه په اوږه كړل:

–”د خداى پامان يارانو، زه درنه لاړم او دا ښار يې تاسو ته درپاتي”.

 

پېښور ۲۰۰۰–۸–۲۸




Pir Mohammad KarwanPir Mohammad Karwan

Pir Mohammad Karwan is a poet and prose writer. He made his debut as a writer in 1993 with the poetry collection From Evening to Evening which since then has been followed up by two more collections of poetry The Plane Tree Speaks (1998) and The Angel’s Palm (2000).  He has also written two short-story collections: From Daffodils to Daffodils (1995) and more recently The Man Who Went into the Hills (2004/2005). Karwan hails from the village of Narizi in the Tani district of the Xost province. After more than a decade in exile in Pakistan he returned to Afghanistan in the early twenty-first century shortly after the demise of the Taliban Emirate.

Translated from PashtoPashto by Anders WidmarkAnders Widmark

Anders Widmark (1973 - ) lives in Stockholm, Sweden. He is a PhD candidate at Uppsala University, Department of Linguistics and Philology. Besides teaching Persian and translating Persian/Dari/Pashto literature, he is working on a thesis with the working title Voices at the Borders, Prose on the Margins: Exploring the Contemporary Pashto Short Story in a Context of War and Crisis.