Freedom from the Forbidden

All things gender and Islam. No bigotry is allowed in this feminist territory. #DeathToPatriarchy

One Month After the Peshawar Attack – a song celebrating Pakistani children

Our smiles are stronger than your guns

The FB Cover Photo of one of the children killed in the Peshawar attack. Rest in peace, beautiful soul … rest in peace.

It was exactly one month ago (December 16, 2014 – #NeverForget!) that well over 170 children were killed in the attack in a Peshawar school called Army Public School. (I know the media, including Pakistani media, is claiming that 130 kids were killed in it, but sources I trust say the number is way, way higher than that. So I’m sticking to at least 170. May they all rest in peace, and my God bless their families and loved ones with strength and love in this impossible time. And may Peshawar heal soon! Aameen.)

So in remembering both this deadly attack as well as the fact that schools re-opened this week after winter break in Pakistan, I am going to share here a song that has been written in celebration of the children’s strength in responding to the attack (it’s by the ISPR, Inter-Services Public Relations, Pakistan, but I don’t know who the singer is – he needs to be recognized for this). Considering the threat to schools across Pakistan, thanks to the Taliban, I think these itty bitty children deserve to be respected and admired for their vehement enthusiasm and unbreakable resilience to continue their education no matter the consequences. May they live long, and may their efforts pay off during their lifetime so they grow up to see that nothing was in vain.

The song … my God. I’m including it at the bottom of this post. I’ve been playing it on repeat ever since I heard it, which was on Monday, January 12th as Army Public School and other schools opened across the country. It’s called “Barra Dushman Bana Phirta Hai Jo Bachcho Se Larrta Hai”; it’s very emotional, it’s beautiful, and it’s a tribute to the children killed in the Peshawar attack.

Much of it is told from the perspective of a child killed in that attack. It’s hauntingly and beautifully sung by a child with chorus by other children. Because I can’t find an English translation of the song anywhere at all (EDIT!!! I just found a Dawn article where an incomplete transcript with English translation is available! Ugh, I did all this for nothing!), and the music video unfortunately doesn’t have English subtitles (shouldn’t this be a requirement for such moving stuff?! gosh), I’m offering my own translation. But be cognizant that I’m not a native Urdu speaker, and I’m not a professional translator, so this is very rough and may be broken – but I really don’t care. I’ve interpolated my own interpretation into the translation as well, as happens naturally with translations, so if you’re like, “No, no, silly! It’s not talking about the mom; it’s talking about PAKISTAN! Pakistan Zindabad,” just … just okay, be quiet. I believe the poem is written mostly to the speaker’s mother, but it can also be read as being written to the nation – to Pakistan.

Note that the “they” refers to the enemy (the Taliban) and the original Urdu actually uses the singular form – woh (he).

Now …

Pata kya poochta hai woh kitabon mein miloonga mein
Why are they asking for my whereabouts when I can be found in my books?
Kiye maa se hain jo mein ne ke wadon mein miloonga mein
I can be found in the many promises I’ve made my mother. 
Mein aaane wala kal hoon woh mujhe kyun aaj maarega?
I’m the Future; why would they kill me today?
Yeh uss ka wehm hoga ke woh aisey khwaab maarega
It is only his illusion that he can kill such dreams!
Tumhara khoon hoon na iss liye  achcha larra hoon mein
I’m your flesh and blood – that’s why I’ve fought bravely
Bata aya hoon dushman ko ke uss se to barra hoon mein
I’ve shown the enemy that I’m greater than he!
Mein aisi qaum se hoon jiss ke woh bachchon se darta hai
I come from a nation whose children he finds intimidating!

Barra dushman bana phirta hai jo bachchon se larrta hai
He thinks of himself a great enemy that he fights little children!
Barra dushman bana phirta hai jo bachchon se larrta hai
He thinks of himself a great enemy that he fights little children!

Woh jab aate hue mujhko galey tum ne lagaya tha
That day, you hugged me when I left (for school)
AmanAllah kaha mujhko mera beta bulaya tha
You bid me farewell and called me “O my son!”
Khuda ke amn ki rah mein kahan se aagaya tha woh
Where did he appear from while I was in God’s protection?
Jahan tum choomti the maa waha tak aagaya tha wo bachcho se darta hai
He approached me exactly where you used to kiss me (the forehead)
Mai aisi qom se hoon jis ke wo bachcho se darta hai
I come from a nation whose children he finds intimidating!

Barra dushman bana phirta hai jo bachcho se larrta hai
He thinks of himself a great enemy that he fights little children!
Barra dushman bana phirta hai jo bachchon se larrta hai
He thinks of himself a great enemy that he fights little children!

Mujhe jaana parha hai par mera bhai karega ab
I’ve had to leave, but my brother will continue!
Mein jitna na parha woh sab mera bhai parrega ab
Whatever education I wasn’t able to complete, my brother will do on my behalf
Abhi Baba bhi baaqi hai kaha tak jaa sakoge tum
My father is still around – how far do you think he’ll let you go?
Abhi vaada raha tum se yaha naa aa sakoge tum
I swear to you you will no longer be able to visit again!
Mai aisi qom se hoon jis ke wo bachcho se darta hai
I come from a nation whose children he finds intimidating!

Barra dushman bana phirta hai jo bachcho se larrta hai
He thinks of himself a great enemy that he fights little children!
Barra dushman bana phirta hai jo bachcho se larrta hai
He thinks of himself a great enemy that he fights little children!

Listen below at your own discretion (here’s a non-Youtube link for those in Pakistan, since stupid-ass Pakistan still has YouTube banned. lolz we so wise) – it will certainly melt your heart, but it may also make you cry no matter the texture of your heart. Peace to this wretched world of ours!

Categories: beauty, being human, God, human rights, love, Music, Pakistan, Pashtuns, violence in this world

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33 replies

  1. The song isn’t for the mother cause it’s from the ISPR -Pakistan army’s PR wing

    The death toll might be over 300 according Mobeen Shah’s cousin on twitter


  2. I hate Pakistan, and you should too

    Every proud pakhtun must go to the top of the mountain and yell we are Afghans !


  3. Aaah, Orbala! Such a post, so much emotion.
    Urdu is the language I have been trying to learn (unsuccessfully so far, despite i-Tunes U’s best efforts to help me.) It is the closest language to fijian hindustani, the language my son-in-law’s family speak. To hear the children’s voices in this video clip was both painful & familiar to me – we watch movies in their language, (as well as some Bollywood fare) and I am becoming accustomed to the cadences.

    Your translation is very much appreciated. The flavour of the meaning comes across very well.
    [I am a French speaker as well, and have learnt smatterings of Italian, Russian & German, as well as the local indigenous language of my country, Te Reo Maaori, spoken by about 30% of our population. Translation issues and cross-cultural mis/understandings are areas of academic interest to me. Along with all the associated politics, of course!]


    • Awww! You’re learning Urdu? That’s so cool! I have friends who’ve learned Urdu from Bollywood movies. Can you believe it?! Like … omg the discipline!

      I’m trying to learn French. Taking a reading exam in it in a few months for my doctoral studies, and I’m scared shitless. With no background in it, I’ve no confidence whatsoever. Meh, it’ll be all right, inshaAllah.

      Good luck with Urdu! Lemme know if I can be of any help! It’s taught at my uni, so maybe I can recommend learning sources, etc.


  4. Thank you so much for the translation Orbala, good work. Very moving song. And aameen to your dua, may the children of Pakistan live long and prosper and remove that ugly stain of hate forever more, inshaallah and aameen


  5. This song was sung by a chorus, and written by Major Imran Raza.


  6. It Makes Me Cry.. !! 😦
    I’m SO Proud Of U !! 😦


  7. i love the song and we r with u. we are united. we r muslims.


  8. Dear Orbala

    I’m atheist

    Islam is an Arab cult that ruined Afghanistan in the 70’s and ruins pashtun people

    Gubuldin Hekmatyar is a discrace and a traitor to Pashtuns

    I am enemies against Punjabi and Pakistani people until we have an independent Pashtunistan
    and i condemn these people !

    Say NO to Islam

    Culture > Religion


  9. Some Pashtuns become Atheist because they want to value their culture and race over religion. It’s actually a bit more common among other ethnic nationalists like i asked a Kurdish nationalist if he was muslim and he got offended because it was a personal question. Then my dad asked this Kurdish man back around the 90’s about his background, the Kurdish man go’s “i’m not Muslim, i’m just Kurdish”, then my dad sais it’s weird because that Kurdish man’s name was Muhammad. It makes sense since Kurds are caught between Islamic extremism over the ages.

    That other poster has to shut up because he’s spreading too much hate on Pakistan and takes it to the extreme by going anti-islam and calling it an Arab cult…. he’s centering things around hate… it’s not just him, few nationalists of other ethnicities are sometimes like that too


    • I think people, including practicing Muslims or of Muslim background, should have a right to demand their culture, race, language be preserved instead of their religion. Many people are aware of the fact that certain forms and practices of religion have destroyed their culture, heritage, beliefs, practices… even language in some cases, all in the name of God (we all know how much South Asians worship Saudi, thinking it’s the epitome of Islam!).

      So, no, I’m not gonna tell anyone to shut up just because they are hurting the religious sensitivities of some of us. I don’t agree with them, but I am not going to censor them.


    • QUOTING you: “That other poster has to shut up because he’s spreading too much hate on Pakistan and takes it to the extreme by going anti-islam and calling it an Arab cult….”

      That other poster? You mean “The Man Who Literally Has No Life”? Are you sure you don’t know him? … You two have the same IP address.


  10. The fact is If Allah may want KPK and FATA to stick with Pakistan. These people go nuts over no good reason and think they have the right to attack Pashtuns who disagree with Pashtunistan , Punjabis and non-Pashtun afghans…. for them, their life is miserable and difficult. They just can’t accept that they are Pakistani or that KPK people are Pakistani …..

    I mean Bacha Khan was non-violent but you see these extremists coming and going, with some being anti-islamic……


  11. i love pakistan


  12. i am just sooo proud to be pakistani……


  13. Very Emotional and Beautiful Song we are always with Pakistani army I proud to be I am Pakistani
    Inshallah Defeat the Zalmman (taliban).very soon


  14. Have you heard the one that Ali Zafar made?


  15. Love this song…my 8 years old daughter wants to do a presentation of this song at her school …where they have been asked to pick a song from their culture /language and talk about it why they like it ..your translation made it easier . Thank you



  1. Pashto Song for the Peshawar School Attack Children: “Daa Sok Di” | Freedom from the Forbidden

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