There is something about poetry, which seeps through to your soul. No speech in the world by leader could replace 'Aey putar hat’tan te nai wik de'. I couldn’t ever understand what Iqbal meant when he said, “Nations are born in the hearts of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians.”

There is always noise coming from my neighbor’s home, children playing and shouting mostly. It can be annoying at times, especially when you are trying to sleep or work. But I could never gather the courage to tell them to ‘keep it down’. Not because they won’t listen to me, but because I would never want them to lose that unintentionally carefree part of their childhood. 

During the street cricket tournaments, the ball usually ended up at our home. And I remember my father giving the children their white taped ball again and again. The doorbell kept ringing and he kept being annoyed, but giving them their taped ball. He could not just say ‘no’. Not because they won’t listen. But because I believe he didn’t want to disappoint those innocent children.

That’s what we grew up with.

16th December came. I remember my father and me sitting in front of the TV in utter disbelief. In Peshawar some armed cowards had launched a battle, an infanticide against innocent children in Army Public School. The monsters weren’t under their beds that day, the monsters came to school fully armed. All day and night I remember there was silence. A silence that was so dark and hopeless that it devastated me to the core of my heart. I was feeling guilty. I slept feeling guilty and extremely angry.

Next morning, on 17th December, I was on my way to Punjab University. I was shocked to see that it was not just my home. It wasn’t just me. It was the streets too. The people I made eye contacts with, random people, on motorbikes or pushing carts, had the same guilt in their eyes that I had.

We had failed to protect our children.

There has always been a human understanding among enemies too. Children were never to be harmed. We as a society were giving birth to such enemies which had no moral groundings now. It was a moment of shame for all of us.

Nothing was working. I remember listening to all the political statements and every condemnation from the most influential people around the world. Among chaos and political cloud, there was nothing that reduced the anguish the nation felt as a whole.

You see politicians changing and evolving into beings that ‘go with the flow’. They weigh their words, they are all strategy and brains.

And then ISPR released the song, “Bara dushman bana phirta hai

This song was an emotional cushion for me.

Poetry has the power to heal and mobilize much more than I anticipated. When everything felt so surface-level, this song felt three dimensional. It rounded up the wound, turning it into a scar gradually. You just can’t replace poetry with anything.

And then I understood what Iqbal meant when he said, “Nations are born in the hearts of poets, they prosper and die in the hands of politicians.”

It was like the poetry was giving us life again. It was giving us hope. The loss, undoubtedly irretrievable, must and can be avenged. Never have I seen such unanimous hatred for the monsters who committed this criminality. There is something about poetry, which seeps through to your soul!