Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna by Bismil Azimabadi/Ram Prasad Bismil/Piyush Mishra
This is not a literal translation – this translation is aimed at getting at what the song means to convey, rather than translating it word for word.
Ram Prasad Bismil was a freedom fighter who was hanged by the British in December 1927 for his role in the Kakori train event of 1925, when members of the Hindustan Republican Association (including Bismil) robbed a train carrying money belonging to the colonial British government. Piyush Mishra later wrote a somewhat satirical version for the film Gulaal, which is the version translated below (except for the first stanza, which is Bismil’s).
Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai Dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-kaatil mein hai
Waqt aane se bata denge tujhe ai aasmaan Hum abhi se kya batayen kya hamare dil mein hai
Dekh phaansi ka yeh phanda khauf se hai kaampta Uff ke jallaadon ki haalat bhi badi mushkil mein hai Narm syaahi se likhe sheron ki baatein chuk gayin Ek nayin baarood se likhi ghazal mehfil mein hai
O re Bismil kaash aate aaj tum Hindostaan Dekhte ke mulk saara yeh tashan mein thrill mein hai Aaj ka launda yeh kehta hum to Bismil thhak gaye Apni aazaadi to bhaiya laundiya ke til mein hai
Aaj ke jalson mein Bismil ek goonga gaa raha Aur behron ka wo rela naachta mehfil mein hai Haath ki khadi banaane ka zamaana lad gaya Aaj to chaddi bhi silti Inglison ki mill mein hai
Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein hai Dekhna hai zor kitna bazu-e-kaatil mein hai Waqt aane se bata denge tujhe ai aasmaan Hum abhi se kya batayen kya hamare dil mein hai
Satirical version of Bismil’s song from the film Gulaal
The flame of revolution has been lit in our hearts And we’ll see how much force our assassins can muster
When the moment comes, our voices will shake the heavens Wait and see what beats within our hearts
Look, the hangman’s noose trembles with fear And those who seek to hang us are themselves embattled Gentle persuasion no longer has any place in this struggle Our songs must now be those of revolution
O Bismil, I wish you could see what India has become This whole country is enthralled by material gain Today’s “revolutionary” professes to be exhausted… …and all he craves is a woman’s smile
In today’s India, Bismil, the illiterate are singing to the masses While the unheeding and uncaring dance to their tunes That time of self-reliance and independent thought is gone Today, we are at the mercy of cronyists and nepotism
But the flame of revolution has been lit in our hearts And we will see how much force our assassins can muster When the moment comes, our voices will shake the heavens We will show you what beats within our hearts
Since 2016, Bangalore has had the distinction of hosting the Bangalore Bird Day every year. This year, they introduced a Bird Quiz which was put together by L Shyamal & me. The quiz had an enthusiastic participation with over 50 teams of two who took up the written prelims, followed by a very engaging finals. With Shyamal’s help. we hopefully achieved the important aim of making the quiz as much fun as it was competitive and engaging.
Nothing like music to communicate the anger and passion which sparks within. As the year winds down and the anger runs high, hip-hop artist Rahul Negi, who raps under the name Madara has released what I think will find a huge following among the political churning ongoing among several young people in the country. The rap communicates what has been said in many ways in the last months to year: that a manipulative, divisive and malicious narrative of pitting people against one another will eventually be exposed for what it is.