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“The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free
that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”- Albert Camus
This edition brings to light those voices of dissent that have remained marginalised and attempts are still being made to keep them within the parameters etched out by society. I need not point out examples as we live in a world which is currently shrinking in its thought process.
Society as we understand and are witnessing, is gradually crumbling. The façade remains but the reality is entirely different. Not one structure is left untouched. Be it the educational institutions that are attacked - the freedom of thought – but what does it mean to have freedom of thought where attempts are continuously being made to supress it. It becomes necessary to jolt us out of our comfortable, accepted existence and see for ourselves what we lose by keeping silent and this is where dissent is created.
The several faces of dissent have been discussed in this edition. In the lead article, Dr Charanjeet Kaur tries to put the whole issue in a proper perspective. Many poets have emerged this time to take a stand and speak up and speak out. When the call for papers was put up for this edition, I was apprehensive regarding the response it will get. A lot seems to happen on social platforms and then fizzles out. I was trying to gather those voices and most of them came forward to add to the noise that should rightfully be created.
The response was tremendous. I have tried to include as many as I could but the sheer volume of submissions that came - be it in the form of poetry, fiction, as well as research papers was overwhelming. It was a delight to go through the works and realise the amount of rage that seethes and has been spilled out.
When we speak of dissent, it does not mean dissenting simply to go against the order that has been dictated; rather it means to think against the grain, to live one’s life not as expected but as thought of by one’s self. It takes courage to dissent and that is what this edition brings to you- a set of courageous voices that are still around to prove that dissent will stay alive.
Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s well-known work appropriately sums up this edition:
Laazim hai ki hum bhi dekhenge
Woh din jiskaa ke waada hai,
Jo lau-e-azl mein likha hai
Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-garaan
Rooi ki tarah udd jaayenge,
Hum mehkoomon ke paaon tale
jab dharti dhad dhad dhadkegi,
Aur ahl-e-hukam ke sar oopar
Jab bijli kad kad kadkegi,
Jab arz-e-khudaa ke kaabe se
Sab but uthwaaey jaayenge,
Hum ahl-e-safaa mardood-e-haram
Masnad pe bithaaey jaayenge.
Sab taaj uchaaley jaayenge.
Sab takht giraaey jayyenge.
Bas naam rahega Allah kaa,
Jo ghaayab bhi hai, haazir bhi,
Jo manzar bhi hai, naazir bhi.
Utthegaa ‘An-al-haq’ kaa naara
Jo main bhi hoon, aur tum bhi ho,
Aur raaj karegi Khalq-e-Khuda
Jo mai bhi hoon, aur tum bhi ho.
The English rendering:
We Shall See*
Inevitably, we shall also see the day
that was promised to us, decreed
on the tablet of eternity.
When dark peaks of torment and tyranny
will be blown away like cotton fluff;
When the earth’s beating, beating heart
will pulsate beneath our broken feet;
When crackling, crashing lightning
will smite the heads of our tormentors;
When, from the seat of the Almighty
every pedestal will lie displaced;
Then, the dispossessed we; we,
who kept the faith will be installed
to our inalienable legacy.
Every crown will be flung.
Each throne brought down.
Only His name will remain; He,
who is both unseen, and ubiquitous; He,
who is both the vision and the beholder.
When the clarion call of ‘I am Truth’
(the truth that is me and the truth that is you)
will ring out, all God’s creatures will rule,
those like me and those like you.
* translated by Mustansir Dalvi.