khoon phir khoon hai

February 22nd, 2008

Sahir Ludhianvi wrote this nazm on the slain Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba, the first prime-minister of Congo and also a staunch anti-imperialist. He was deposed from the office and murdered. A really good poet and someone who is very dear to me and has taught me a lot about Urdu Poetry, said he heard Sahir recite this nazm in a live mushaira in Chandigarh in 67-68 or 68-69 and continued that once he heard the second line of the nazm, he was so amazed at the depth of the line that he could not hear the rest of the nazm and he kept thinking about that second line “Khoon phir khoon hai, Tapkega to jam jaayega”.

Recently, a reader of this site, Mr. Satish Kumar Shukla, who dedicated his recently published book of English verses to Sahir, entitled WELTSCHMERZ posted a translation of this nazm on the site. As I had never read the original, I had to look it up after hearing about it so much and now that I have found it, here it is for all of you to enjoy along with the translation by Satish Kumar Shukla sahib as well. The poem opens in Urdu with this line:
aik maqtull lamumba, aik zindah lumuba se kahiiN ziaadah taaq’tvar hota hai (Jawaharlal Nehru) – the line is also translated below by Shukla sahib. My thanks to a few learned folks from ALUP (alt.language.urdu.poetry) to help me complete and fix the poem below.

zulm phir zulm hai, baRhta hai to miT jaataa hai
Khoon phir Khoon hai, Tapkega to jam jaayega

Khaak-e-sehra pe jame yaa kaf-e-qaatil pe jame
farq-e-insaaf pe yaa paa-e-salaasal pe jame
teGh-e-bedaad pe yaa laasha-e-bismil pe jame
Khoon phir Khoon hai Tapkega to jam jaayega

laakh baiThe koi chhup chhup ke kameeN gaahoN meiN
Khoon Khud deta hai jalaadoN ke maskan ka suraaGh
saazisheiN laaKh uRaati raheiN zulmat ka naqaab
le ke har booNd nikalti hai hatheli pe chiraaGh

zulm kii qismat-e-nakaarah-o-rusvaa se kaho
jab’r kii hikmat-e-purkaar ke eema se kaho (eema = permission)
mehmal-e-majlis-e-aqwaam kii laila se kaho
Khoon diiwana hai, daaman pe lapak sakta hai
shola-e-tuNd hai, Khirman pe lapak sakta hai

tum ne jis Khoon ko maqtal meiN dabaanaa chaaha
aaj vo kuchaa-o-bazaar meiN aa nikla hai
kahiiN shola kahiiN naarah kahiiN patthar ban ke
Khoon chalta hai to rukta nahiiN sangeeno se
sar jo uThtaa hai to dabtaa nahiiN aaeeno se

zulm ki baat hi kya, zulm ki auqaat hi kya
zulm bas zulm hai, aaGhaaz se anjaam talak
Khoon phir Khoon hai, so shakl badal sakta hai
aisi shakleiN ke miTaaoo to miTaaye na bane
aise shole k bujhaao to bujhaaye na bane
aise naare k dabaao to dabaaye na bane

Here’s a translation of the nazm by Satish Kumar Shukla Sahib. Enjoy


A slain Lumumba is by far mightier than a living Lumumba -Nehru

Repression is sill repression
Rising, it must flop
Blood is sill blood
Spilling it must clot.

Whether it clots on desert sands
Or upon assassin’s hands
On justice’s head or around shackled feet
On injustice’s sword or on the wounded corpse
Blood is still blood
Spilling, it must clot.

However much one lies in ambush
Blood betrays butcher’s hideout
Conspiracies may veil in thousand darkly mask
Each blood drop ventures out with burning lamp on its palm.

Tell oppression’s vain and blemished fate
Tell cruelty’s crafty Imam
Tell the UN Security Council
Blood is crazy
It can leap up to the cloak
It is inferno, it can flare up to burn grain-stock.

The blood you sought to suppress in abattoir
Today that blood moves out into street
Here an ember, there a slogan, there a stone
Once blood comes to flows
Bayonets are no avail
Head, once it is raised
Is not downed by law’s hail.

What is about oppression?
What is with its impression?
Oppression is, all of it, but oppression
From beginning to end
Blood is still blood
Myriad form it can assume
Forms such as are indelible
Embers such as are inextinguishable
Slogans such as are irrepressible.



  1. Asra says

    saazishen laakh uraati rahe zulmat ka naqaab,
    leke har boondh nikalti hai hateli pe chiraagh.
    beautiful lines !!!

    March 1st, 2008 | #

  2. Satish Kumar Shukla says

    How great a mind Sahir was, and indeed how true a poet can be guaged from the ongoing Tibet trouble; China may do what it may, blood is still blood! Spilling it must clot! Entire world is witness to that truth. So too is spectacle on show in Iraq. A Super Power, that helpless, attests to Sahir Epiphany: Oppression is oppresion, agaaz se anjaam tak!

    Sahir Word Zindabad!

    And, asked Sahir, are then people who fight for justice in this capital ruled unjust world Goondas?

    March 27th, 2008 | #

  3. Gautam says

    I have some collection of Sahir, but this one is missing. Indeed the second line “khoon phir khoon hai takpega to jam jayega” is a killer line. I have often discussed Sahir with our old time neighbor back in India who was a classmate of Sahir back in the days.
    Great Nazm by a great Shayar! I might feature its Hindi format on my site.

    April 28th, 2008 | #

  4. r&d says

    \stitle{ye kisakaa lahuu hai kaun maraa}%
    \starring{Shashi Kapoor, Mala Sinha}%
    \singer{Mahendra Kapoor, Chorus}%
    \music{N Dutta}%

    % Contributor: [BOL ANAMOL], V S Rawat, Oct 22, 2004
    % Song Courtesy:


    % the prelude was not in the version I heard
    dharatii kii sulagatii chhaatii ke bechain sharaare puuchhate hai.n

    ye kisakaa lahuu hai kaun maraa \-2
    ai rahabar mulq\-o\-qaum bataa
    ye kisakaa lahuu hai kaun maraa

    ye jalate huye ghar kisake hai
    ye kaTate huye tan kisake hai.n
    taqsiim ke a.ndhe tuufaa.N me.n
    luTate huye gulashan kisake hai.n
    bad\-baKt Kizaaye.n kisakii hai.n
    barabaad nasheman kisake hai.n
    kuchh ham bhii sune.n hamako bhii sunaa

    ai rahabar mulq\-o\-qaum bataa
    ye kisakaa lahuu hai kaun maraa

    kis kaam ke hai.n ye diin dharam
    jo sharm kaa daaman chaak kare.n
    kis tarah ke hai.n ye desh bhagat
    jo basate gharo.n ko Kaak kare.n
    ye ruuhe.n kaisii ruuhe.n hai.n
    jo dharatii ko naapaak kare.n
    aa.Nkhe.n to uThaa nazare.n to milaa

    ai rahabar mulq\-o\-qaum bataa
    ye kisakaa lahuu hai kaun maraa

    jis raam ke naam pe Kuun bahe
    us raam kii izzat kyaa hogii
    jis diin ke haatho.n laaj luTe
    us diin kii qiimat kyaa hogii
    inasaan kii is zillat se pare
    shaitaan kii zillat kyaa hogii
    ye ved haTaa qur_aan uThaa

    ai rahabar mulq\-o\-qaum bataa
    ye kisakaa lahuu hai kaun maraa


    June 23rd, 2008 | #

  5. Narpat Asia says

    Duniya ne tajurbat-auo-hawadish ki shakl main,
    Jo Kuch muzhe diya hai wo lauta raha hun nain!

    Nice nazm by saahir,he might be inspired from his own perception about huminity.Marhaba!One of the best nazm of saahir that i had been never seen before from the collection of poetry that I have of Sahir.I salute the (saahir) magician of the words

    July 22nd, 2008 | #

  6. Satish Kumar Shukla says

    contribution to English translations of Sahir’s poems

    LENIN (1917)

    Divisions marred world
    Wiled, troubled for ages
    Sufferings leached from
    Inhabited ruins.

    One’s luxury thrived
    On millions’ poverty
    Set this condition
    As if nature’s rendition.

    Character was bothered
    Culture scared
    By despicable masters
    By the hideous blasters!

    Dastardly politics camouflaged
    Crime credos with
    Catholic Churches’ trickery masks

    You freed humans’ fate
    From religion’s deceits
    From royalty’s cruel conceits.

    June 2nd, 2011 | #

  7. Satish Kumar Shukla says


    I still live
    Make it known
    Break news to assassins
    My own.

    The ground is hard
    Heaven is far
    Bear with if you can

    In many ways
    You meet with oppression
    It must not be
    Always tears!

    If same repression recurs
    Commit the same sin again

    Breaking the cage is for later
    Just now aspire
    For plumage coat

    June 2nd, 2011 | #

  8. Satish Kumar Shukla says

    Sahir Ludhianavi

    Dreams propped spent
    A wholesome life’s intent- Sahir

    How would it go?
    If I were to expose
    Ravaged garden’s ground?
    Who is by how much
    To sinning bound?
    What you resented hearing at open meet
    How would it go?
    If I told that out in street?

    NOTE: ENGLISH TRANSLATION EXCERPTS from Sahir’s book AAO KE KOI KHWAB BUNEIN I intend to publish here now and then

    June 21st, 2011 | #

  9. Satish Kumar Shukla says

    ( translation of Sahir’s AI SHRIF INSANO!)

    Upon bloodshed, all same
    Eigen or the alien
    After all humanity bleeds
    Upon war, all same
    In West or in the East
    World Peace bleeds.

    Whether bombs rain on homes
    Or they fall on border
    Progress’ conscience wounds
    Whether our own or the others’
    Fields on fire
    Make life simmer
    In hungers dire.

    Wether tanks advance
    Or they withdraw
    The womb of earth steriles
    Victory’s hurrah
    Or the defeat’s condoling draw
    Life over coffins riles.

    War is itself a discord
    How could war ever
    Resolve problems?
    Today it grants
    Fire and blood
    Hunger and want
    It must tomorrow accord.

    Hence, o noble folks!
    War had better postpone
    In compounds yours and the mine
    Lamps had better burn on.


    Must ascendancy’s measure then
    End only in bloodsheds’ daze?
    To dispel homes’ darknesses
    Must homes burn, raze?

    Why, war has other arenas too
    Not only this mayhem’s battlegrounds!
    Wisdom is life’s attainment too
    Not only insanity’s this lowly bounds!

    In this luckless world
    Let’s spread thought’s light
    Those that prop peace
    Let’s arrange such wars’ flight

    War against uncivilization, barbarism
    Peace for progress and culture’s fare
    War against macabre politics
    Peace for human welfare.

    War against poverty, slavery
    Peace for better living’s grace
    War against misled leaders
    Peace for hapless populace

    War against capitalist hegemony
    Peace for public good’s affairs
    War against war’s philosophy
    Peace for peaceful life’s fares!

    June 21st, 2011 | #

  10. satish kumar shukla says

    NA TO KARVAAN KI TALASH HAI by Sahir Ludhianavi has been translated into English- out in May/June/July issue of INDIA REDEEMING-Education & Literary quarterly published in Solan, Himachal. Choice Sahir poetry translations will have high priority in this quarterly. Those interested can contact

    May 9th, 2012 | #

  11. chandra mohan rao says

    the best

    June 13th, 2012 | #

  12. Khoon Phir Khoon Hai | urduwallahs says

    […] Source: […]

    February 13th, 2015 | #

  13. Vijay Nagar says

    Unique and thought provoking piece came from the pen of this great poet.

    July 22nd, 2015 | #

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