Two words, “jeevay” (live) and “Pakistan” repeated four times make a complete couplet in one of the most profound poems in Urdu:
Jeevay, jeevay, jeevay Pakistan
Pakistan, Pakistan, jeevay Pakistan
The poet Jameeluddin Aali is one of the greatest living authorities on Urdu language and literature, and wrote forewords on scores of rare classics reprinted under his supervision at Anjuman Taraqi-i-Urdu which he headed at one time. Anthem of OIC (mentioned in a previous post) displays his superb command over Arabicized Urdu but his national songs, such as 'Jeevay Pakistan' are written in simple words and without explicit reference to Islam because Pakistan is not only for Muslims.
'Jeevay Pakistan' can be called the song of Simorgh, the concept presented by great Sufi poet Fariduddin Attar (13th Century): birds pass through seven valleys in search of their unseen king Simorgh, and the thirty survivors find thirty mirrors placed before them – “si” means “thirty” and “morgh” means “bird” in Persian. Each bird seeing its individuality at the same time with others is Simorgh or the collective ego. “I am all of you but still I am more than all of you,” says Simorgh and the voice comes from every bird.
- Stanza 1
What diverse melodies are scattered when the bird of heart flaps its wings. Listeners, when they listen, are lilted with a single tune: Pakistan! Pakistan, Pakistan, Jeevay…
- Stanza 2
It brought the scattered ones, the separated ones to a common centre. Among so many stars it appeared like a sun: Pakistan! Pakistan, Pakistan, Jeevay…
- Stanza 3
Those who suffered, suffered; now it is up to us. One shall we keep our name, one it will remain and one it is: Pakistan! Pakistan, Pakistan, Jeevay…
Music, brilliantly composed by Sohail Rana, brings out a sense of movement and search (Rana once told me that he tried to present all connotations of the phrase “Jeevay Pakistan” separately in the composition: it is prayer as well as determination and journey. Read my interview with Sohail Rana).