Tag Archives: sang-e-meel publications

ترقی – Progress

Rail ki Seeti

جنوب مشرقی ایشیا میں لکیر کے دونوں طرف ماں باپ کا المیہ یہ ہے کہ یا تو وہ بچوں کو اپنے ساتھ رکھ سکتے ہیں یا انہیں ترقی کرتا دیکھ سکتے ہیں

ریل کی سیٹی ۔ حسن معراج

سنگ میل پبلی کیشنز


The tragedy for parents on both sides of the line in South East Asia is that they can either keep their children with them or they can see them progress from afar.

Rail ki Seeti – Hassan Miraj

Sang-e-meel Publications


I have to admit that they first time I read this line, it bothered me a lot. In fact, it still does. It was not only familiar but also deeply saddening. I cannot help but think of the values that one is consistently taught in that part of the world.

“You must take care of your parents as they have taken care of you”,

“Heaven lies under the feet of one’s mother”

“If you cannot even take care of your parents in their old age, then what is all your success worth? Your children will abandon you, as you have abandoned your parents”

These are just some of the things I have heard over the course of my life. Not all of these were said to me but these words have been uttered enough times that perhaps you can always just feel them in the air. Has it really become like this? Do parents have to make this choice? Have they always had to do this or is this only happening now?

I also cannot help but wonder what the author means by “taraqqi” – What is progress after all? Does progress mean financial success? personal success? spiritual success? Where does one draw the line and who decides what progress means?

I got a chance to interact with the author recently and while we did discuss this, I think our discussion was inconclusive. Maybe everyone must decide what progress is for him or her and only then things can start becoming clear. I believe in progress but when presented like this, it seems like such a difficult choice that it feels that either the parents lose or the children lose. Yet somewhere deep down my hope is that it’s more complicated than this and that both things can somehow live in harmony.


Here’s the sample of Rail ki Seeti. Click the arrows on the image to scroll and read more from the book. It also includes the first chapter from which this line has been quoted.





There’s too much noise nowadays. Everywhere you look, there’s something happening that will make you wonder what everything has come to. I am not trying to say that everything is in a terrible state of affairs, but the balance of good and bad things happening around us is way off. In such circumstances, often it becomes the easiest thing to just tune everything out, to bury the remains of your hearing.

I, however, sincerely hope that it has not come to that. And that we still have it in us to not only hear the noise, but actually do something about it.




Yeh maana

Keh tum ne goli ki awaz sun ker kaha tha

Keh goli chali hai

Magar mein

Chatakhti hui haddiyon

Aur ubaltay hue khoon keh shor mein

Goli chalne ki awaz sunnay se pehlay hi

Apni samaaut ki mayyat ko dafnaa chuka tha

April 1977




I agree

That you heard the shot and said

A bullet has been fired

But I,

In the noise of crackling bones

And boiling blood,

Before I could even hear the bullet being fired,

Had already buried the remains of my hearing



Leaving those, who were with us through the dark times, behind might be the easiest thing to do. Yet why be so heartless and forget that the bonds these moments create must not be forsaken when the light finally shines?



Chaand ki simt jab urta hun

Toh hur baar ajab haadsa ho jaata hai

Woh jo mitti ka diya jalta hai meray ghar mein

Apni lau sir pe rakhay, aata hai

Aur kehta hai:

Teray saath chaloon ga keh safar duur ka hai

Aur tu raah se bhatka

Toh mein bay-aasra reh jaaoon ga!



Humsafar (Companion)

When I fly towards the moon

A bewildering accident happens each time

The clay lamp that lights my house

Comes to me, still burning

And says:

I shall accompany you, for the journey is long

And if you lose the way

I’ll be left without refuge

                                                                January, 1976