• Patan dhoka, Lalitpur, Nepal
  • Shared Victories, Shared Defeats


    Daljit Ami

    Hockey used to be the most popular sport in Punjab, and at times, both the Indian and Pakistani teams had several Punjabis. Indeed, even in other countries where Punjabis have settled in large numbers, there was a significant presence of the community in the national hockey teams. Sheeri uses the idiom of sport, Sufism, Sikhism, folklore and love legends to highlight contemporary issues. The militancy of the 1980s in Punjab is the context of his verse: the struggle for the separate state of Khalistan, and the state response in the shape of repression.

    In 2004, Sheeri’s complex poem addressing Sohail Abbas, a Pakistani hockey player, provoked much debate. While celebrating efficient Sohail’s scoring, Sheeri highlights the humanitarian fall-out of the militancy: rampant human rights abuses, heightened violence and despair, especially among the youth. Sheeri goes on to question eminent Punjabi poet Amrita Pritam. While Amrita had invoked Waris Shah –the eighteenth century poet whose ‘Heer’ touched the heart of every Punjabi– to talk about the pain and heartbreak of the Partition, she did not comment on the bloodbath during the anti-Sikh carnage in 1984.

    Shared Victories, Shared Defeats
    A poem for Pakistani hockey player, Sohail Abbas
    by Jasbir Singh Sheeri

    When the blood of a half-century long pogrom
    turns into chronic oozing pain then,
    in a tear-drop of a hockey player, Sohail
    the soul of the cosmos appears
    like a full moon night
    K P S Gill1 knows not the secret of why the innermost corner of your heart cries
    over the drying waters of the Satluj
    and why Sandalbarinvites us
    Had it been under the control of K P S
    he would enmesh Pakistan in his moustache
    he would chop your magical drag flicking arm
    from the shoulder
    and throw it into an unknown canal
    he would convert the beautiful Kashmir valley
    into a heap of aches
    with a single match stick
    Sohail! people living south of Ambala
    cannot understand why our every breath shares victories and losses
    Sohail! when the Satluj started flowing along the lines
    drawn by the whims of Delhi
    victories have became scarce
    and when K P S Gill shot boys with topknots3
    in their hearts
    and placed them on the ridges or furrows
    our Surjits4 are hesitant to take that ‘hit’
    which can pierce the white defences
    Oh God of Hockey!  Oh omniscient one,
    you know that
    if terror sinks in hearts
    a growing generation can lose the way to youth
    Sohail! our bodies have been seared by
    the piercing winds of cruel times
    our souls are still undefeated
    Don’t the winds blowing from our side tell you?
    that we still have a spark of courage
    Sohail! only those know who have borne police interrogation
    that even God needs time to regain consciousness
    Sohail! facing defeats is intolerable
    sharing victories is more difficult
    may your large heart know
    our ‘Chhindas’5  once could compete with the wind
    now after being trampled by defeat
    they are not happy with butter-milk as breakfast
    they need intoxicants with morning tea
    Sohail! we know
    you feel hurt
    when our boys play against you like enemies
    Sohail! who can ask this pimp, KPS Gill
    why your aggression bursts like water bubbles
    against white youth moving like Mirza’s mare6
    Sohail! when despite best efforts
    raucous crows on the parapet refuse to fly away
    when the eye lids are heavy
    but sleep is elusive as you dip into the night
    the soul of Nanak7 must be yearning for his dear Mardana8
    somewhere in the vacuum
    Sohail! are you a player or the saintly soul of Baba Farid9
    who asked God to bless you with a magical body
    don’t respond to my letter on paper
    which came into being after the murder of trees
    write to me on the winds
    blowing from the West
    I keep the windows of my house open
    on the western side
    so that blessings of Dervishes
    and calls for love
    do not rebound from closed windows
    Otherwise, the sonorous voice of Alam Lohar10
    and even the melodies of Reshma11
    would remain beyond us
    your flicks12 passing through white defenses
    reach our hearts
    Sohail! thirsty Faqirs drinking water from
    our rivers and ponds say
    if souls are without compassion
    flicks are useless
    bonds with rivers get tested
    during pitched battles
    Sohail! the echo between your words say
    that you too have a crown on your head
    which can’t be claimed through physical strength
    pure soul is required
    a purification
    like Nihangs13 cleansing their vessels
    Sohail! ask your holy men (pirs)
    After which morning prayer the sun will rise
    a sun which will be welcomed by
    the abundant transparent beauty of the Chenab
    and it will see its reflection
    in the blue waters of five rivers
    Sohail! you may not be aware that the Amrita14
    who invoked Waris after Partition
    died during the riots of November 1984
    her ghost is roaming the streets of Delhi
    on state clutches
    Not only our rivers, but our very breath flows
    towards Lahore
    Sohail! the insane may tell
    the rifle-wielders on the border
    that the bayonet can kill human beings
    but they can’t scratch
    the breeze carrying pious souls
    Sohail! bayonet fences can’t obstruct songs
    the thunderous celebration of your world beating decisive flicks
    in Bathinda can’t forget the way of Lahore
    Sohail! isn’t this sight one that breaks the heart
    in the time of caps and bats15
    the top-knots are missing from your westernised memory
    even hockeys and hits have forgotten them!

    1. Also called the ‘Super Cop’, KPS Gill was the Director General of Police in Punjab at the height of the militancy and is credited with crushing the Khalistan movement through brute force. Human rights groups have alleged large numbers of disappearances, custodial deaths, torture and other civil rights violations under his watch. He was also President of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) for 15 years, before it was disbanded in 2008 following allegations of corruption. While the court has decided in favor of the IHF, international bodies are yet to restore its registration.
    2 Punjab was demarcated according to the area between the rivers, into three Bars: Ravibar (Nillibar), Sandalbar and Ganjibar. The British developed these bars into canal colonies in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The presence of warlords and rebels posed a constant threat. Right from medieval times to the British period no one could completely control this area. Sandalbar is known for its rebels, one of the most famous, Dulla Bhatti, is part of Punjabi folklore. The Bar, which signifies invincibility, was named after his grandfather Sandal, and it is also known as Bar of Dulla. Dulla was a contemporary of Akbar.
    3 Reference to long hair worn as top knots by Sikh boys.
    4 Surjit Singh was one of the greatest hockey players Punjab has ever produced, a defender and penalty-corner specialist. India won the Hockey World Cup once, in a match against Pakistan in 1975 in Kuala Lumpur. Surjit Singh’s winning goal and his aggressive spirit has become part of Punjabi folklore. Surjit Singh is also a common name in Eastern Punjab.  After Surjit Singh died in a road accident in 1984, one  of the most prestigious hockey tournaments has been named after him.
    5 Chhinda is a common term of endearment in Punjab. Here the term, denoting a sporty, earthy and entrepreneurial sprit, it has been used as plural to signify the beloved sons of Punjab.
    6 In the famous love legend, Mirza and SahibaaN eloped on a swift mare (bakki), which in Punjabi literature is used as a simile for swift movement.
    7 Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539), the first Sikh Guru, the founder of Sikhism. He is known for his poetry and interactions with contemporary thinkers. His collection of verse formed the basis of the compilation of Guru Granth Sahib. Respected across regional and religious boundaries, he is also known as Nanak Lama, Nanak Pir and Baba Nanak.
    8 Bhai Mardana (1459-1534) was a constant companion of Guru Nanak. He was ten years older than Guru Nanak and was born in a Muslim family in district Shekhupura in present-day Pakistan. He accompanied Guru Nanak on four long journeys, known as Uddasis. Mardana used to play the musical instrument, Rabab. Punjabi literature is replete with references where Nanak is reciting poetry accompanied by Mardana’s Rabab. Two lines appear regularly during their long journeys. (i) Then Nanak said, “Mardanian chhedh rabab!” (Mardana, please play the Rabab) (ii)Then Nanak requested, “Mardanian rabab bjaa bani aayi aye.” (Marada, please play the Rabab I have to recite poetry). Until Partition, Mardana’s descendants used to sing poetry from the Guru Granth Sahib in the Golden temple in Amritsar. After Partition they migrated to Pakistan but they kept the tradition alive. When Mardana’s descendant Bhai Lal visited India he was not allowed to perform in the Golden Temple as the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), a managerial body of Sikh shrines, allows only Baptised Sikhs to perform there.
    Baba Farid (1173–1266), whose full name was Hazrat Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar, was a Sufi saint revered by both Hindus and Muslims. He is the first Punjabi Sufi poet and known for his poetry written in folk idiom.  His works form part of the Guru Granth Sahib. 
    10 A Punjabi singer known for his sonorous voice and folk songs. Radio Pakistan and All India Radio used to broadcast his songs regularly.
    11 One of most famous singers and actors in Pakistan, she started her career as child actor in Lahore pre-Partition. Radio Pakistan and All India Radio used to broadcast her songs regularly.
    12 In hockey the spin of the ball is called Flick. Earlier player used to take strike with hit or push during penalty corners. During the late eighties and early nineties of  the last century, players started taking penalty corner strikes through flicks and drag flicks. With this style players could take forcefully strikes without breaking the rules. Sohail Abbas perfected the art of drag flick. He is the world record holder in hockey for scoring maximum goals in international matches.
    13 The Nihang order, while ceremonial in peacetime, takes up arms against the enemies of Sikhism during times of strife.
    14 Amrita Pritam, eminent Punjabi poet, invoked Waris Shah in her famous poem Aj Akhan Waris Shah Noon, came under fire for her silence about the anti-Sikh riots in Delhi in 1984 following the assassination of Indira Gandhi. Her lack of eloquence has been correlated to her closeness to the Congress government of the time.
    15 Caps and bats refer to cricket. Market oriented sports promotion has promoted cricket at the cost of other games. The decline of hockey in Punjab is also linked with the advent of cricket culture. Earlier Punjabis use to dislike cricket and prefer hockey. Now cricket is dominating the sports space. In cricket even Sikh player wears a cap whereas in hockey they used to have topknots covered by handkerchiefs. Another layer of this reference is that even in hockey, most Sikh players don’t have topknots as they no longer grow their hair as mandated by Sikhism.

    A note about the poem
    Sheeri’s poem unravels the nuances of the after-effects of militancy. Punjab used to be the number one sports state in India, but police torture derailed Punjab from its traditional life style, which regarded sports as an integral part of culture. During the militancy, Punjabi youth underwent brutal state torture, and hockey sticks became police batons. Simultaneously, the Punjab police consolidated its control over hockey management and K P S Gill become president of the Indian Hockey Federation and managed it in his dictatorial style. Sheeri traces the roots of contemporary issues like drug addiction, declining sports culture and increasing violence back to the Indian state’s brutal handling of the Punjab problem.

    Sheer’s decision to address his poem to Sohail Abbas is well thought out. Despite the painful experience of Partition and hate-mongering state narratives, Punjabis from India and Pakistan continued to relate to each other through love legends, Sufi poets, folk heroes, sport and shared culture. Sheeri invokes this historical bond in an emotive tone, celebrating Sohail’s achievements while discussing the decline in sports culture in Punjab. Significantly, Sohail Abbas is not Punjabi; he is from Karachi. But for Sheeri his primary identity is that of a hockey player and hockey has an insider’s equation with Punjab. As Amrita invoked Waris Shah during Partition to articulate the pains of its victims, similarly Sheeri addresses his contemporary, Sohail, who he thinks can understand the slowly unfolding tragedies of their times. He owns Sohail’s well-known achievements and shares his lesser-known defeats. This sharing questions Amrita’s role during the anti-Sikh riots in November 1984. Sheeri bonds with Sohail through a complex shared history. A Sikh victim of the Indian state is engaging with a Pakistani Muslim hockey player. Here hockey provides a meeting point. Sohail is ruling the turf beating drag flicks whereas Sheeri talks of potential players thrown off the hockey field and dragged into torture chambers. Yet, Sheeri and Sohail can understand, celebrate, share and empathise with each other. After all they have a memory of shared history.

    saadian tan haran vi sanjhiaan te jittan vi
    Pakistani hackee khidari Sohail Abbas de naan
    by Jasvir Singh Sheerijadon adhee sadi tonh vi vadh samey ton jaree
    qatal-e-aaman da lahu
    lagataar simmadhee chees ch badaldey han
    qayenaat di rooh punnian di raat vaang utardi hai
    eh sulakhana raaz
    kisey K P S Gill nun nahin pata
    key tere dil da dhur valah kona
    satluj dey sukk rahey paniana layee
    kyon ronda hai
    tey Sandalbar sanun
    kyon wajjan mardi hai
    K P S da vas chaley
    tan Pakistan nun
    apney muchch dey watey ch lapet laye
    te teree drag flick valee jadugar baanh nun
    modhe kolon vaddh ke
    kisey gumnaam nehar dey havaley kar daye
    sirf ikk teel naal raakh ch badal daye
    Kashmir vaadi dey vasdey rasdey husan nun
    Sohail! Eh galh ambalion paar vaalianh nun
    nahi patah
    key ruuh dey har zarey ch saah landhian
    kyon saadian haran vi sanjian han
    te jittan vi
    sohail! jadonh daa satluj
    dilli dey goothey naal khichchi leek ‘ch vaganh laggiae
    jittan tanh sanu hun
    kadi kadi naseeb hundian ney
    the jadon dey K P S Gill ney
    kesan valley mundey
    dilan cheen golhian kadh key
    vattan baniaan te rakhey han
    saadey ‘Surjit’ hun oh ‘hit’ marnon jhijkdey han
    jehadi gorian hikkan cheer key langhey
    hackee valley rabb ji
    tusin tan khudh jani-jan ho
    ke roohan ch je seham baith jaye
    uddar hundi paneeri
    jobhney da raah bhulh jandi hai
    Sohail! vaqt di tej dhar loo ne sadey
    jism looh ditte han
    roohan ne par haar nahin manni
    tainu sadey vallon aundian havavan nahin dasdian
    ke sadey honslian ch dehkdi chinagh
    halaan baki hai
    Sohail! jinha di jaan te baniaan
    unhan nu patai
    jadon surakh salakhan di paal
    jisman chon langh jaye
    raab nun vi hosh vaqt naal aundi hai
    Sohail! haar nun jhallanan bada dhubhar kamm eh
    te jittan sanjhian karna taan hor vi aukha
    tera daryavan jiha dil
    shayad jaanda hovey
    ke haar de bhanney sadey chhhindey
    jehdey kadi hava naal gallan kardey san
    savere uthdian hun
    adhrirhkey daa chhnan nahin
    cha di ghutt naal
    amal di goli mangdey han
    Sohail! Sanun patey
    key sadey chhohran da dushmanan vaang khednan
    tanun kyon dukh dindey
    Sohail! K P S Gill bhadhuey nun kaun puchhey
    ke Mirzey di bakki vaang udadi gori juani moohre
    tera aggression moot di jhagh vaang kyon baith jandey!

    Sohail! jadon banerey tey bolda kaan
    udhaian vi na udhey
    jadon sajji akhkh pharkey
    te gayi raat takk akhkhanh ch neend na rardhkey
    udon khilaa ch kidhrey
    Nanak di rooh Mardane yaar layi sikkdi hoyegi
    Sohail tun khidaree ain
    jan Farid babey di darvesh rooh
    jihney jism vala jalva
    is vaar khuda ton mang ke liyaa
    mere is suaal de juaav lai mudhda khat
    rukhkhan de qatal chon kshedey kahgaz te nahin
    pachhon vallon aundhi paun de pinde te likh ke ghallin
    aapney ghar de pachham vaali khidakhi
    mein hamesha khulli rakhdan
    matan darveshan deeyan duaavan
    ate hook vasal vali
    baari de phatte naal vajj ke naa parat jaye
    unjh Alam Luhar di hook
    sadey takk pahunchdi rahi hai
    te Reshma di heik vi
    te teriyaan gorian di vakhkhi vich di ghuzardiaan flickan tan
    aksar sadey dillan ch uttardiyan rahiaan han
    Sohail! aapney daryavan te chighghian naal
    teh mitaun walley faqir aakhde ne
    ke rooh ch je rahem na uttarey
    tan niryaan flickan kise kamm nahin aundiayan
    te daryavan naal dostiaan di pachhaan
    siraan di bazi vele hundi hai
    Sohail! tere bollan de vichkarli vithth di ghoonj dasdi ey
    ke tere kol koi taj vi hai
    jehada sirf jisman di zorawari chon nahin mildaa
    jihade layi rooh nun
    maanj ke ravin karna peindey
    nihang babian dey dholl vangh
    Sohail! apney piran nun puchh ke das
    oh suraj kis fhazar ton baad chadoo
    jis nun kandian ton vagdey jhanan da
    paardarshi husan
    khushamdid kahoo
    te jis nun apna chehra
    panjan panian di neeli bha de vich di disoo …
    Sohail! tainu shayad khabar nahin
    ke halleyan vele di
    Waris nun wajjan mardi-mardi Amrita
    november unni-sau-churasi ch mar gayi si
    te ajj kalh kehande uhda prêt
    sarkari phahudiaan de aasre
    dilli diyan gallian ch turiya phirdey
    te sade tan sah vi Lahore vall vagade ne
    te dariya vi
    Sohail! sarhad te tanhian sangeenan nun
    eh suaal kaun pagal kare
    key jinhan di nokh naal bandey zibah hundey ney
    tinhan naal khaih ke guzardiaan
    darvesh roohan di paun de pinde nun
    jhareet takk nahin aundi
    Sohail! sangeenan di vaad naal na geet rukade ne
    na sansar di dhuni winndiyaan teriyan flickan de jashan veley
    Bathinde di badak Lahore da rah bhuldi hai
    Sohail! eh vekh ke dil nun doboo nahin painde
    ke toppian te ballian de iss yug vich
    tere purab vall vasde dil nun
    joodey visar rahe han
    hackeeiaan te hittan nu vi!

    ਸਾਡੀਆਂ ਤਾਂ ਹਾਰਾਂ ਵੀ ਸਾਂਝੀਆਂ ਨੇ, ਤੇ ਜਿੱਤਾਂ ਵੀ
    ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨੀ ਹਾਕੀ ਖਿਡਾਰੀ ਸੁਹੇਲ ਅੱਬਾਸ ਦੇ ਨਾਂ
    ਜਸਵੀਰ ਸਿੰਘ ਸ਼ੀਰੀਜਦੋਂ ਅੱਧੀ ਸਦੀ ਤੋਂ ਵੀ ਵੱਧ ਸਮੇਂ ਤੋਂ ਜਾਰੀ
    ਕਤਲੇਆਮਾਂ ਦੇ ਲਹੂ
    ਲਗਾਤਾਰ ਸਿੰਮਦੀ ਚੀਸ ‘ਚ ਬਦਲਦੇ ਹਨ
    ਉਦੋਂ ਹਾਕੀ ਦੇ ਕਿਸੇ ‘ਸੁਹੇਲ’  ਦੇ ਹੰਝੂ ‘ਚ
    ਕਾਇਨਾਤ ਦੀ ਰੂਹ ਪੁੰਨਿਆ ਦੀ ਰਾਤ ਵਾਂਗ ਉਤਰਦੀ ਹੈ
    ਇਹ ਸੁਲੱਖਣਾ ਰਾਜ਼
    ਕਿਸੇ ਕੇ.ਪੀ.ਐਸ ਗਿੱਲ ਨੂੰ ਨਹੀਂ ਪਤਾ
    ਕਿ ਤੇਰੇ ਦਿਲ ਦਾ ਧੁਰ ਵਾਲਾ ਕੋਨਾ
    ਸਤਲੁਜ ਦੇ ਸੁੱਕ ਰਹੇ ਪਾਣੀਆਂ ਲਈ
    ਕਿਉਂ ਰੋਂਦਾ ਹੈ
    ਤੇ ਸਾਂਦਲਬਾਰ ਸਾਨੂੰ
    ਕਿਉਂ ਵਾਜਾਂ ਮਾਰਦੀ ਹੈ
    ਕੇ.ਪੀ.ਐਸ ਦਾ ਵਸ ਚੱਲੇ
    ਤਾਂ ਪਾਕਿਸਤਾਨ ਨੂੰ
    ਆਪਣੇ ਮੁੱਛ ਦੇ ਵਟੇ ‘ਚ ਲਪੇਟ ਲਏ
    ਤੇ ਤੇਰੀ ਡਰੈਗ ਫਲਿੱਕ ਵਾਲੀ ਜਾਦੂਗਰ ਬਾਂਹ ਨੂੰ
    ਮੋਢੇ ਕੋਲੋਂ ਵੱਢ ਕੇ
    ਕਿਸੇ ਗੁੰਮਨਾਮ ਨਹਿਰ ਦੇ ਹਵਾਲੇ ਕਰ ਦਏ
    ਸਿਰਫ਼ ਇੱਕ ਤੀਲੀ ਨਾਲ ਰਾਖ ‘ਚ ਬਦਲ ਦਏ
    ਕਸ਼ਮੀਰ ਵਾਦੀ ਦੇ ਵਸਦੇ ਰਸਦੇ ਹੁਸਨ ਨੂੰ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਇਹ ਗੱਲ ਅੰਬਾਲਿਓਂ ਪਾਰ ਵਾਲਿਆਂ ਨੂੰ
    ਨਹੀਂ ਪਤਾ
    ਕਿ ਰੂਹ ਦੇ ਹਰ ਜਰੇ ‘ਚ ਸਾਹ ਲੈਂਦੀਆਂ
    ਕਿਉਂ ਸਾਡੀਆਂ ਹਾਰਾਂ ਵੀ ਸਾਂਝੀਆਂ ਹਨ
    ਤੇ ਜਿੱਤਾਂ ਵੀ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਜਦੋਂ ਦਾ ਸਤਲੁਜ
    ਦਿੱਲੀ ਦੇ ਗੂਠੇ ਨਾਲ ਖਿੱਚੀ ਲੀਕ ‘ਚ ਵਗਣ ਲੱਗਿਐ
    ਜਿੱਤਾਂ ਤਾਂ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਹੁਣ
    ਕਦੀ ਕਦੀ ਨਸੀਬ ਹੁੰਦੀਆਂ ਨੇ
    ਤੇ ਜਦੋਂ ਦੇ ਕੇ.ਪੀ.ਐਸ ਗਿੱਲ ਨੇ
    ਕੇਸਾਂ ਵਾਲੇ ਮੁੰਡੇ
    ਦਿਲਾਂ ‘ਚੀਂ ਗੋਲੀਆਂ ਕੱਢ ਕੇ
    ਵੱਟਾਂ ਬੰਨਿਆਂ ‘ਤੇ ਰੱਖੇ ਹਨ
    ਸਾਡੇ ‘ਸੁਰਜੀਤ’ ਹੁਣ ਉਹ ‘ਹਿੱਟ’ ਮਾਰਨੋਂ ਝਿਜਕਦੇ ਹਨ
    ਜਿਹੜੀ ਗੋਰੀਆਂ ਹਿੱਕਾਂ ਚੀਰ ਕੇ ਲੰਘੇ
    ਹਾਕੀ ਵਾਲੇ ਰੱਬ ਜੀ
    ਤੁਸੀਂ ਤਾਂ ਖੁਦ ਜਾਣੀ ਜਾਣ ਹੋ
    ਕਿ ਰੂਹਾਂ ‘ਚ ਜੇ ਸਹਿਮ ਬੈਠ ਜਾਏ
    ਉਡਾਰ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਪਨੀਰੀ
    ਜੋਬਨੇ ਦਾ ਰਾਹ ਭੁੱਲ ਜਾਂਦੀ ਹੈ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਵਕਤ ਦੀ ਤੇਜ਼ ਧਾਰ ਲੂ ਨੇ ਸਾਡੇ
    ਜਿਸਮ ਲੂਹ ਦਿੱਤੇ ਹਨ
    ਰੂਹਾਂ ਨੇ ਪਰ ਹਾਰ ਨਹੀਂ ਮੰਨੀ
    ਤੈਨੂੰ ਸਾਡੇ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਆਉਂਦੀਆਂ ਹਵਾਵਾਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਦੱਸਦੀਆਂ?
    ਕਿ ਸਾਡੇ ਹੌਂਸਲਿਆਂ ‘ਚ ਦਹਿਕਦੀ ਚਿਣਗ
    ਹਾਲਾਂ ਬਾਕੀ ਹੈ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਜਾਨ ‘ਤੇ ਬਣੀਆਂ
    ਉਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਪਤੈ
    ਜਦੋਂ ਸੁਰਖ ਸਲਾਖਾਂ ਦੀ ਪਾਲ਼
    ਜਿਸਮਾਂ ਚੋਂ ਲੰਘ ਜਾਏ
    ਰੱਬ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ ਹੋਸ਼ ਵਕਤ ਨਾਲ ਆਉਂਦੀ ਹੈ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ ਹਾਰ ਨੂੰ ਝੱਲਣਾ ਬੜਾ ਦੁਭਰ ਕੰਮ ਏ
    ਤੇ ਜਿੱਤਾਂ ਸਾਂਝੀਆਂ ਕਰਨਾ ਤਾਂ ਹੋਰ ਵੀ ਔਖਾ
    ਤੇਰਾ ਦਰਿਆਵਾਂ ਜਿਹਾ ਦਿਲ
    ਸ਼ਾਇਦ ਜਾਣਦਾ ਹੋਵੇ
    ਕਿ ਹਾਰ ਦੇ ਭੰਨੇ ਸਾਡੇ ਛਿੰਦੇ
    ਜਿਹੜੇ ਕਦੀ ਹਵਾ ਨਾਲ ਗੱਲਾਂ ਕਰਦੇ ਸਨ
    ਸਵੇਰੇ ਉੱਠਦਿਆਂ ਹੁਣ
    ਅਧਰਿੜਕੇ ਦਾ ਛੰਨਾ ਨਹੀਂ
    ਚਾਹ ਦੀ ਘੁੱਟ ਨਾਲ
    ਅਮਲ ਦੀ ਗੋਲੀ ਮੰਗਦੇ ਹਨ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ ਸਾਨੂੰ ਪਤੈ
    ਕਿ ਸਾਡੇ ਛੋਹਰਾਂ ਦਾ ਦੁਸ਼ਮਣਾ ਵਾਂਗ ਖੇਡਣਾ
    ਤੈਨੂੰ ਕਿਉਂ ਦੁੱਖ ਦਿੰਦੈ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ ਕੇ.ਪੀ.ਐਸ ਗਿੱਲ ਭੜੂਏ ਨੂੰ ਕੌਣ ਪੁੱਛੇ
    ਕਿ ਮਿਰਜ਼ੇ ਦੀ ਬੱਕੀ ਵਾਂਗ ਉਡਦੀ ਗੋਰੀ ਜੁਆਨੀ ਮੂਹਰੇ
    ਤੇਰਾ ਅਗਰੈਸ਼ਨ ਮੂਤ ਦੀ ਝੱਗ ਵਾਂਗ ਕਿਉਂ ਬੈਠ ਜਾਂਦੈ!

    ਸੁਹੇਲ ਜਦੋਂ ਬਨੇਰੇ ‘ਤੇ ਬੋਲਦਾ ਕਾਂ
    ਉਡਾਇਆਂ ਵੀ ਨਾ ਉਡੇ
    ਜਦੋਂ ਸੱਜੀ ਅੱਖ ਫਰਕੇ
    ਤੇ ਗਈ ਰਾਤ ਤੱਕ ਅੱਖਾਂ ‘ਚ ਨੀਂਦ ਨਾ ਰੜਕੇ
    ਉਦੋਂ ਖਿਲਾਅ ‘ਚ ਕਿਧਰੇ
    ਨਾਨਕ ਦੀ ਰੂਹ ਮਰਦਾਨੇ ਯਾਰ ਲਈ ਸਿੱਕਦੀ ਹੋਏਗੀ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ ਤੂੰ ਖਿਡਾਰੀ ਏਂ
    ਜਾਂ ਫ਼ਰੀਦ ਬਾਬੇ ਦੀ ਦਰਵੇਸ਼ ਰੂਹ
    ਜੀਹਨੇ ਜਿਸਮ ਵਾਲਾ ਜਲਵਾ
    ਇਸ ਵਾਰ ਖੁਦਾ ਕੋਲੋਂ ਮੰਗ ਕੇ ਲਿਆ
    ਮੇਰੇ ਇਸ ਸੁਆਲ ਦੇ ਜੁਆਬ ਲਈ ਮੁੜਦਾ ਖ਼ਤ
    ਰੁੱਖਾਂ ਦੇ ਕਤਲ ‘ਚੋਂ ਕਸ਼ੀਦੇ ਕਾਗ਼ਜ਼ ‘ਤੇ ਨਹੀਂ
    ਪੱਛੋਂ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਆਉਂਦੀ ਪੌਣ ਦੇ ਪਿੰਡੇ ‘ਤੇ ਲਿਖ ਕੇ ਘੱਲੀਂ
    ਆਪਣੇ ਘਰ ਦੀ ਪੱਛਮ ਵਾਲੀ ਖਿੜਕੀ
    ਮੈਂ ਹਮੇਸ਼ਾ ਖੁੱਲ੍ਹੀ ਰੱਖਦਾਂ
    ਮਤਾਂ ਦਰਵੇਸ਼ਾਂ ਦੀਆਂ ਦੁਆਵਾਂ
    ਅਤੇ ਹੂਕ ਵਸਲ ਵਾਲੀ
    ਬਾਰੀ ਦੇ ਫੱਟੇ ਨਾਲ ਵੱਜ ਕੇ ਨਾ ਪਰਤ ਜਾਏ
    ਉਂਝ ਆਲਮ ਲੁਹਾਰ ਦੀ ਹੂਕ
    ਸਾਡੇ ਤੱਕ ਪਹੁੰਚਦੀ ਰਹੀ ਹੈ
    ਤੇ ਰੇਸ਼ਮਾ ਦੀ ਹੇਕ ਵੀ
    ਤੇ ਤੇਰੀਆਂ ਗੋਰਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਵੱਖੀ ਵਿੱਚ ਦੀ ਗੁਜ਼ਰਦੀਆਂ ਫਲਿੱਕਾਂ ਤਾਂ
    ਅਕਸਰ ਸਾਡੇ ਦਿਲਾਂ ‘ਚ ਉਤਰਦੀਆਂ ਰਹੀਆਂ ਹਨ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਆਪਣੇ ਦਰਿਆਵਾਂ ‘ਤੇ ਚਿੱਘੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ
    ਤੇਹ ਮਿਟਾਉਣ ਵਾਲੇ ਫਕੀਰ ਆਖਦੇ ਨੇ
    ਕੇ ਰੂਹ ‘ਚ ਜੇ ਰਹਿਮ ਨਾ ਉੱਤਰੇ
    ਤਾਂ ਨਿਰੀਆਂ ਫਲਿੱਕਾਂ ਕਿਸੇ ਕੰਮ ਨਹੀਂ ਆਉਂਦੀਆਂ
    ਤੇ ਦਰਿਆਵਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਦੋਸਤੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ
    ਸਿਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਬਾਜ਼ੀ ਵੇਲੇ ਹੁੰਦੀ ਹੈ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਤੇਰੇ ਬੋਲਾਂ ਦੇ ਵਿਚਕਾਰਲੀ ਵਿੱਥ ਦੀ ਗੂੰਜ ਦੱਸਦੀ ਏ
    ਕਿ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੋਲ ਕੋਈ ਉਹ ਤਾਜ ਵੀ ਹੈ
    ਜਿਹੜਾ ਸਿਰਫ਼ ਜਿਸਮਾਂ ਦੀ ਜ਼ੋਰਾਵਰੀ ‘ਚੋਂ ਨਹੀਂ ਮਿਲਦਾ
    ਜੀਹਦੇ ਲਈ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ
    ਮਾਂਜ ਕੇ ਰਵੀਂ ਕਰਨਾ ਪੈਂਦੈ
    ਨਿਹੰਗ ਬਾਬਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਡੋਲ ਵਾਂਗ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਆਪਣੇ ਪੀਰਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਪੁੱਛ ਕੇ ਦੱਸ
    ਉਹ ਸੂਰਜ ਕਿਸ ਫਜ਼ਰ ਤੋਂ ਬਾਅਦ ਚੜ੍ਹੂ
    ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਕੰਢਿਆਂ ਤੋਂ ਵਗਦੇ ਝਨਾਂ ਦਾ
    ਪਾਰਦਰਸ਼ੀ ਹੁਸਨ
    ਖ਼ੁਸ਼ਆਮਦੀਦ ਕਹੂ
    ਤੇ ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਆਪਣਾ ਚਿਹਰਾ
    ਪੰਜਾਂ ਪਾਣੀਆਂ ਦੀ ਨੀਲੀ ਭਾਅ ਦੇ ਵਿੱਚ ਦੀ  ਦਿਸੂ …
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਤੈਨੂੰ ਸ਼ਾਇਦ ਖ਼ਬਰ ਨਹੀਂ
    ਕਿ ਹੱਲਿਆਂ ਵੇਲੇ ਦੀ
    ਵਾਰਸ ਨੂੰ ਵਾਜਾਂ ਮਾਰਦੀ-ਮਾਰਦੀ ਅੰਮ੍ਰਿਤਾ
    ਨਵੰਬਰ ਉੱਨੀ-ਸੌ-ਚੁਰਾਸੀ ‘ਚ ਮਰ ਗਈ ਸੀ
    ਤੇ ਅੱਜ ਕੱਲ੍ਹ ਕਹਿੰਦੇ ਉਹਦਾ ਪ੍ਰੇਤ
    ਸਰਕਾਰੀ ਫੌੜ੍ਹੀਆਂ ਦੇ ਆਸਰੇ
    ਦਿੱਲੀ ਦੀਆਂ ਗਲੀਆਂ ‘ਚ ਤੁਰਿਆ ਫਿਰਦੈ
    ਤੇ ਸਾਡੇ ਤਾਂ ਸਾਹ ਵੀ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਵੱਲ ਵਗਦੇ ਨੇ
    ਤੇ ਦਰਿਆ ਵੀ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਸਰਹੱਦ ‘ਤੇ ਤਣੀਆਂ ਸੰਗੀਨਾਂ ਨੂੰ
    ਇਹ ਸੁਆਲ ਕੌਣ ਪਾਗ਼ਲ ਕਰੇ
    ਕਿ ਜਿਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਨੋਕ ਨਾਲ ਬੰਦੇ ਜ਼ਿਬ੍ਹਾ ਹੁੰਦੇ ਨੇ
    ਤਿੰਨ੍ਹਾਂ ਨਾਲ ਖਹਿ ਕੇ ਗੁਜ਼ਰਦੀਆਂ
    ਦਰਵੇਸ਼ ਰੂਹਾਂ ਦੀ ਪੌਣ ਦੇ ਪਿੰਡੇ ਨੂੰ
    ਝਰੀਟ ਤੱਕ ਨਹੀਂ ਆਉਂਦੀ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ ਸੰਗੀਨਾਂ ਦੀ ਵਾੜ ਨਾਲ ਨਾ ਗੀਤ ਰੁਕਦੇ ਨੇ
    ਨਾ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਦੀ ਧੁੰਨੀ ਵਿੰਨ੍ਹਦੀਆਂ ਤੇਰੀਆਂ ਫਲਿੱਕਾਂ ਦੇ ਜਸ਼ਨ ਵੇਲੇ
    ਬਠਿੰਡੇ ਦੀ ਬੜ੍ਹਕ ਲਾਹੌਰ ਦਾ ਰਾਹ ਭੁੱਲਦੀ ਹੈ
    ਸੁਹੇਲ! ਇਹ ਵੇਖ ਕੇ ਦਿਲ ਨੂੰ ਡੋਬੂ ਨਹੀਂ ਪੈਂਦੇ
    ਕਿ ਟੋਪੀਆਂ ਤੇ ਬੱਲਿਆਂ ਦੇ ਇਸ ਯੁੱਗ ਵਿੱਚ
    ਤੇਰੇ ਪੂਰਬ ਵੱਲ ਵਸਦੇ ਦਿਲ ਨੂੰ
    ਜੂੜੇ ਵਿੱਸਰ ਰਹੇ ਹਨ
    ਹਾਕੀਆਂ ਤੇ ਹਿੱਟਾਂ ਨੂੰ ਵੀ!

    Jasvir Singh Sheeri writes poetry, fiction and non-fiction in Punjabi. Born in Balarhi Kalan in Ludhiana district (now Fategarh Sahib) in 1964, he encountered the left radical movement and then Sikh extremism. As he grew up in Chhandrana his father’s village, radical militancy shaped his psyche and fate in more ways than one. Sheeri could never wholeheartedly support the extremists, nor would he succumb to police torture and turn informer. His debut Punjabi novel, Khali Ghorhi (2010) is a fictionalised account of Sheeri’s painful experience with extremists and the police, in all their brutality.

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