QUESTIONING

The land which gave life's first light to my eyes,

no more can I sow dreams in its dear soil.

Once her own child, I can never again belong

to her, O land of my awakening mind and heart.

Those lanes my childhood years still haunt in time past,

whose grains of dust my famished feet now yearn for,

who are they now who huddle in its dwellings?

in the homes of my near ones, their very world.

That house whose walls held up to me the mirror of my culture

who lives in it today pushed willfully by fate?

What light plays within its rooms, what shades

of twilight, what glad tints of dawn?

Pain, like a flaming wind, sears my nights and days.

The wall of hate, dividing heart from heart, when will it fall?

When will we meet, the storm of sorrow end when?

(Urdu poem by Inder Sarup Datt rendered into English by Seema Sharma).