Pakistan's Punjabi poet, Ustad Daman

Sweet and Sour

I bought a compilation of poems of Ustad Daman, Punjabi verses written in Urdu. There were also many books in English published in England and America. But there was none published in India. I was surprised because all Pakistani writers who write in English are published in India and commanded a sizeable readership in India. I went to meet the manager of the bookstore to find out the reason.

He admitted that it was against the policy to market Indian publications. “Yeh dushmani kab tak chaleygee? — How long will this enemity go on?” I asked. He had no answer. I told him that their leading writer of Punjabi poetry was a Lahoria who in two lines of a poem had demolished Pakistan’s claim to be a People’s Republic.

Pakistan diyan maujan hee maujan Chaarey passey faujan -hee— faujan
(Whichever way you look, There are armies and more armies)
Ustad Daman was jailed many times by its government.

Amongst his admirers was Pandit Nehru. He offered Daman Indian citizenship. Daman thanked him but stated clearly that he would never leave Lahore.

Before dying he expressed his wish to be buried in the graveyard where Madholal and Hussain, two gay Sufi poets were buried. And so it was. I went to put flowers on his grave, copied the epitaph he had composed himself:
Sarsaree nazar maari Jahan ander
Tey zindagi vark uthallia main
Daman koi na millia Rafeeq mainoo
Tay challya main
(I took a casual glance at the world And turned the pages of my life Daman found no one to befriend him And took the road to eternity.)

My excuse for writing about Daman is the publication of his life in Punjabi by Jaiteg Singh Anant, entitled Bey Niyaz Hastee: Ustad Daman by Punjabi Abadi Sangat of Canada.
Daman was born on  September 3, 1911 in Chowk Mati Das in Lahore.

His father was Mian Meer Baksh. He died on  December 3 1984.

Top priority
While going over my personal diary I came across an amusing little verse which I would like to share with my readers:
Rosberry to his lady says,
“My honey and my succour
Or shall we do the thing you ken
Or shall we take our
With modest face, so full of grace
Replies the bonny lady
“My noble Lord do as you please
But supper is not ready.”
India against corruption
The crowds half a kilometre long
That at Anna Hazare rallies throng
Are obviously mistaken and wrong.
Thousands of men, women and children
When they raise slogans to say in unison
‘Down, down, down with corruption,’
When they say to get any work done
However fair
They have to grease the palm everywhere,
When they resent massive capitation fees
And the way the officials fleece
When they cry, how far the people minus the privileged and the elite
It is becoming difficult to make both ends meet
They are obviously wrong
Because our GDP is going strong!
Led by the oldest political party
When our entire political fraternity
Is against corruption and bribery
How can there be any corruption in the country!
So even when his supporters are a billion strong
Anna Hazare will continue to be wrong!
(Courtesy: Kuldip Salil, Delhi)

Little Rebecka Lonnblad, from Gavle, Sweden, was born on June 8, 1980 - the same date as her mother, her maternal grandfather and great grandmother. The chance of four generations being born on the same date are one in 48 million.

Twin problems
Two identical twin brothers, eight years old were enrolled in different schools.
I asked one of them why. “Well,” he said, pointing accusingly at his brother,” he was always making trouble — and then they found out it was me!”
(Both contributed by Reeten Ganguly, Tezpur).

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