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Volume 20

Nomad - Fall 2018


Written by
Asif Farrukhi

Fiction-writer, critic and translator, Asif Farrukhi was born in Karachi. A public health physician by training, he was educated at the Dow Medical College, Karachi, and the Harvard University, USA. Known for short stories and essays, seven collections of his short fiction and two collections of critical essays have been published. He has published translations of prose and poetry from modern and classical writers. His recent publications include a collection of new critical essays on Manto and Look At The City From Here, an anthology of writings about Karachi, published by OUP. He has recently published a book length study of the Urdu novelist and short story writer Intizar Husain. Asif Farrukhi contributes regularly to the English-language press. Two of his adaptations have been staged in Karachi. He is the editor of Duniyazad, a literary journal of new writing and contemporary issues in Urdu. He has presented papers and participated in literary events at home as well as abroad. He is a founder member of the Karachi Literary Festival and the Islamabad Literature Festival. For his distinguished work, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Literary Award by the Pakistan Academy of Letters in 1997 and the Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan. Asif Farrukhi lives and writes in Karachi. He became associated with the Habib University, Karachi, as the Director of the Arzu Centre for Regional Languages and Humanities. He is a visiting faculty member of the Aga Khan University, Karachi.


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Translation: We are Our Hands by Tanveer Anjum


Cave of Unknown Dreams

“Cave of Unknown Dreams” by Irfan Ahmed. 2018. Digital Photograph.


We are Our Hands

Translated from the Urdu by Asif Farrukhi


For the sake of this paradise


So many people

Made their way through a tunnel full of rats

Some survived this poison


So many people

Clambered on a boat set to topple by its own weight

Some were able to swim to the shore


So many people

Were made to hide under the heavy load on a truck

Some were pulled out

Before they could use up all the air to breathe


This land is the great paradise for those who survive

Every morning a lorry comes here

So many people gather and

Jump high to display how strong are their hands

Some get chosen for work and are taken on to the lorry.

ہم اپنے ہاتھ ہیں



اس جنت کے لئے


بہت سے لوگ

چوہوں سے بھری سرنگ سے گزرے

چند ان کے زہر سے بچ گئے


بہت سے لوگ

اپنے بوجھ سے الٹ جانے والی کشتی پر سوار تھے

چند تیر کر کنارے تک پہنچ گئے


بہت سے لوگ

ٹرک میں بھاری سامان تلے بکسوں میں چھپائے گئے

چند سانس ختم ہونے سے پہلے نکال لیے گئے


یہ سرزمین بچ جانے والوں کی جنت ہے

جہاں ہر صبح لاری آتی ہے

بہت سے لوگ

اچھل اچھل کر

اپنے ہاتھوں کی مضبوطی کی نمائش کرتے ہیں

چند کو کام پر لے جانے والی لاری میں جگہ مل جاتی ہے

Watch this video of poet Tanveer Anjum reciting her original Urdu poem Hum Apnay Haath Hain:






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