24 article(s) translated from Urdu

Dustland

There was a rustle in the bush up ahead and I froze in my tracks. The bush rustled again and I thought there must be a snake in it. Snakes scared me even before, but now one had actually bitten me. It…...

Noor Jehan

I think I first saw Noor Jehan in the film Khandan. They called her Baby in those days, but believe me when I say that she didn't look like a baby. On the contrary, her body had every feature that…...

Changing

In this teeming city, is there none Who might recognize me, walking, Calling: Hey, you, madman! We two might embrace just there, Forgetting our place, surroundings, To swear, laugh, scuffle, Sit in the…...

Our City

This city of ours is strange: In the nights It whispers as we walk its streets It calls us, shows its wounds Like secrets of a heart Windows closed Alleys silent Run-down walls Doors sealed In its houses,…...

You’re Where You’ve Always Been

Cigarette earlier touching my lips now floats in the Thames Does the river know the feel of such a touch? Touches are never forgotten. In the midst of chilly, gusting winds standing before a poster of…...

Destitutes Compound

At the time I left home for good I must have been around twenty-two or twenty-four years old. What prompted me to leave was my father’s attitude. He complained that I’d developed bad habits.…...

Beyond the Fog

1 Throughout the day English sahibs, memsahibs, and their baba log cross the bridge on mules and horses or riding in rickshaws and dandis. In the evening, the same bridge becomes the site of milling crowds…...

The Pose

God knows what got into her head. She abruptly broke her stride and slipped into Shandar Cloth Store. Then she opened the door of the show window and, deftly, removing the lovely mannequin, stood herself…...

Fable of a Severed Head

5:40— verar local express Shifting his heavy, red canvas bag from his left shoulder to his right, he looked up at the Churchgate Station monitor and scurried toward Platform 3. People were practically…...

Two Old Kippers

. . .sleeping as quiet as death, side by wrinkled side, toothless, salt and brown, like two old kippers in a box. —Dylan Thomas, “Under Milk Wood” Recently two pensioned old men in Calcutta…...

A Sheet

He was standing behind the window looking out onto the street, which one could see in the distance shimmering in the sun as if somebody had magically stopped a flowing river. It was the same street on…...

Methun

Had the bazaar stretched to infinity or had the business itself hit a slump? To the west, where the street rose steeply, almost hugging the sky, and then swooped down sharply, was the very end of the earth.…...

The Saga of Jaanki Raman Pandey

Somebody should have gone and inquired from this Jaanki Raman Pandey, Advocate, why in the name of God did he have to go to Rasoolpur and die there when he was doing so well in Allahabad? And die, not…...

Of Fists and Rubs

There was quite a crush of people at the polling station, as if it was the premier of some movie. A long line stretched out to infinity. Five years ago, too, we’d formed such endless lines, as if…...

Tilism-e-Hoshruba

One of the earliest accounts of the magical arts practiced in the Islamic world is found in the fourteenth-century work the Muqaddimah of Ibn Khaldun, acknowledged as the first work on the philosophy of…...

The First Morning

I have no definite answer to questions about why I migrated from India to Pakistan after the partition in 1947. I look back and see a crowded train rushing past lively and desolate towns and villages,…...

His Majesty

When I was a child, until someone told me a story I couldn't sleep. One day I was down with a high fever from morning to night. My mother, Ammajan, sat by the bed massaging my head. Granny Mughlani,…...

Pink Pigeons—Was It They Who Won?

An early August wind whispers through the lush green trees of Alma Ata. The tiny leaves break into applause. "What are these trees called?" I ask the interpreter. "Tuzhi," the ravishing, delicate Tatar…...

The “Monthly Ulloo”

If you see a small, rotund man, wearing a check suit, whose watch chain has lost all its luster, whose coat collar has a large rose in its hole, whose two innocent, nervous eyes peep from his square rimless…...

The Man With Three Names

He had three names: Majeeta, Majeed and Ma'i Dada. Those who called him Majeeta had given up the ghost during his lifetime. The few hoary old men who called him Majeed, or "Arey Maan Majeed," lingered…...

Do You Suppose It’s the East Wind?

The enormous weight of three hundred and sixty-five days once again slips from my hand and falls down into the dark cavern of the past. The windows in this desolate room are wide open. How improbably strange…...

Karbala as Court Case

Karbala is a medium-sized city in central Iraq, recently the scene of violent clashes between U.S. troops and Iraqi militants loyal to the young Shi'a cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. But for Shi'a Muslims…...

Toba Tek Singh

Two or three years after Partition, the governments of Pakistan and India decided to exchange lunatics in the same way that they had exchanged civilian prisoners. In other words, Muslim lunatics in Indian…...

Third Letter to Uncle Sam

31 Laxmi Mansions Hall Road, Lahore 15 March 1954 Dear Uncle, Greetings, I write this after a long break. The fact is that I was ill. According to our poetic tradition, the treatment for illness lies in…...