Uncle, keep the uniform on

A relative in Pakistan sent me this Punjabi poem (please drop me a line if you know who the poet is), called “Uncle, keep the uniform on” – addressed to no other than Pervez Musharraf. punjabi.jpg


It was hard translating a very colloquial poem into English, but I’ve made a sleepy halfhearted attempt here. Any improvements welcome:

Uncle, keep the uniform on,
keep the nation underfoot.

Thieves and plunderers all around us,
and your laughter flows like a babbling brook.
the masses have nothing to their names.

Keep us in distress some more:
Uncle, keep the uniform on.

In all directions, soldiers, soldiers.
the boys in uniform flourish while
the common people starve for bread.
Keep the oven of oppression going.
Uncle, keep the uniform on.

Your best friends are cattle thieves,
scuttling busily around you,
not content with devouring the people.

Keep wolves guard on sheep some more.
Uncle, keep the uniform on.

With you are the political businessmen
Shujaat, Mushahid, Farooq Leghari,
Sheeda (Rashid Ahmed) and Peeja (Parvez Ilahi)

Stay friends with men of ill repute.
Uncle, keep the uniform on.

You’ve faithfully kept your love with Bush
and disgraced the nation in the world
brought ridicule upon us from all

Keep us in the hangman’s noose
Uncle, keep the uniform on.

You’ve had your own guys assassinated,
you’ve had mothers’ poor sons kidnapped
and you’ve put Islam in bad repute,

Keep earning the punishment of hell some more,
Uncle, keep the uniform on.

8 thoughts on “Uncle, keep the uniform on”

  1. I keep reading this – as much as I can in my inability to undesrtand punjabi fully – to the tune of ‘polly put the kettle on’ … I guess it’s the rhyme scheme or smth.

  2. hahaa i love it…yaari Bush de naal nibhayi, qaum de moonh te kaalakh laayi….

    but seriously…i read about the lifting of corruption charges on benazir and some apparent sharing of power between her and musharraf. oh, contingent on chacha keeping his wardi on. man. BOTH of them?? are you kidding?

  3. Excellent🙂 I don’t think the poet wants to be known, as he would immediately be arrested on false charges that dictatorships use, such as “insulting the state” or some such nonesense.

    Ya Haqq!

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