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Critical appreciation of Yarkhuno Hakim’s song

By Zahid Ali Nizari (Shotkhar)

This song is known as “Yarkhuno Hakimo Dani.” First of all, I would like to translate a few lines as below though this analysis is not limited to only these lines. The first two lines (in the song) rhyme with each other and form a couplet while the next four rhyme with each other and make up a quatrain.

I will visit my aunt’s house, where my beloved lives.
Who, o people, can claim to have such a beloved with milky white/high neck?
I couldn’t find a bosom buddy in the bad world.
I have been kept as a captive in Samarqand along with my beloved.

They intend to separate you from me perhaps by slaying me!
My beloved’s lips and teeth are pearls; her eyebrows are clear and well cut.

Language: The beauty and charm of the beloved is described very skillfully in simple language. Her tall and delicate body is compared to a charming evergreen tree of the cypress family, while her fair complexion to milk.

Stanzas and Rhyme: The song is composed of stanzas unevenly distributed though singing them produces beautiful rhythm and intonation.
Some stanzas are couplets, while others are quatrains. In a stanza all lines rhyme with each other.

Imagery: The song consists of beautiful imageries which let that the singer and the listener find themselves part of the environment described in the song.

1. Sight/Visual: If there were a pear tree in the beloved’s lawn, the poet would climb into over the wall, and would press the sleek hair of the beloved to his heart.
2. Smell:The poet uses the word marigold, which is associated with beauty, fragrance and pleasure. The singer of the song imagines himself/herself to be literally in the garden and smell flowers, and thus he/she enjoys the soothing feelings in imagination.
3. Touch:The crest (implied meaning is hair-locks or tresses) of the beloved is sleek and soft to touch and give a good feeling and take away griefs and tiredness. In Khowar poetry the lovely hair of beloved is compared to the attractive crest (the tuft of shiny rather longer feathers on the head of birds like ducks).

Tone: The tone of the overall poem is pessimistic and loud to express intense feelings of grief and sorrows over the cold and callous behavior of the age. The speaker can find a faithful and sympathetic friend nowhere in the Unfaithful world.

Mood: Sad mood dominant. Though sometimes the poet dreams of good and happy things, he feels disappointed by thinking that what sweet things he imagines himself to avail of don’t seem possible. He uses second/third conditional sentences to expresses his unrealizable dreams. The subordinate clause “if there were a pear tree” shows that there is not a pear tree in the lawn, and the poet wishes there were one.

Metaphor: The poet uses the word “pearls’ for the sparkling teeth and glistening lips of beloved. My beloved’s lips and teeth are pearls, says the poet. Here it is worth mentioning that the poet uses the word both for teeth and lips of the beloved. Pearls are white in color, while lips are pink; so if not colour, what is the other quality or qualities which lips share with pearls? The answer could be: both are shiny, lustrous and reflect purity and significance.

Similarly, Beloved’s neck is compared to milk, owing to her pure white complexion.
Rhetorical question: Another figure of speech used in the song is rhetorical question ‘who has a beloved like the poet’s?’ By this question the poet doesn’t ask his audience to show him such a person; rather he feels pride that his beloved has a unique and impressive personality.

In your orchard is a cypress tree which is continuously increasing in size. The literal meaning of the description is clear; however, in order to explain it, let me take help of another figure of speech or poetic device i.e. symbolism. In poetry, the evergreen cypress tree with its ever-increasing size is symbol of evergreen love, youth and beauty. The beloved’s beauty is

increasing and giving more impressive look with passage of days.
In Khowar and Persian literature, the tallness and delicacy of beloved is compared with that of a tree of the cypress family.

My sweetheart gets cross on expression of my intention to discuss these things.
The rules of love are known to Yarkhuno Hakim well.
Think cautiously about the acts of unkindness.
Make ointment with your fair hands for my injuries.
I couldn’t find one devoted friend in this bad age (of disloyalty). (The world is filled with disloyal people).
I am imprisoned in Samarqand along with my beloved.
Alas! All are mortal on this wicked temporal world. (Ever thing lovely is short-lived).
Here, in the above lines, the poet perhaps wants to tell beloved that love demands sacrifice so there is no need to be sad and feel hesitated in discussing principles of love as he knows them very well and is always ready to give sacrifice for beloved.

Instead of showing a cruel behavior the beloved should be kind enough to sooth the wounds of the lover with the ointment of love and sympathy.

In the next two lines, the poet says that he is imprisoned in Samarqand in company (real or imagination) of his beloved.

The tone of the lines translated below is very serious and mood is gloomy. It mentions the bitter reality that the life of every material being is time-bound. This worldly life is transitory, not eternal, and same is the case with the beautiful faces.
In your lawn/orchard there is a cypress tree growing continuously.
My life is nearing to end, and I am still craving for a single glance of the milk (white/fair) neck of my beloved.

Published in ChitralToday on Oct 25, 2018.

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