Sunday, May 09, 2010

Punjabi Poem "Ambri" [Mother] by Anwar Masood, with English Translation

A very well-known poem [Nazm] titled "Ambri" [Punjabi: امبڑی. English: Mother] written by a very renowned Poet from Pakistan Anwar Masood. Although, he is widely known because of his humorous poetry, but he has also written some very serious pieces. This poem is probably among one of the most serious works by him.

I'm sharing a video of Anwar Masood reciting his famous poem "Ambri", with a short description in the start, taken from a TV program. I have attempted to translate this entire video, including the poem in English for those who don't understand Punjabi. Please note that this translation is not literal.

[Anwar Masood speaks]

"You have said something really nice in the start about this topic [i.e. Mother], and it surely is very hard to talk about it.
It took Ten Years to write me this poem. I was in Pindi Gheb that time, and one night this poem asked me to write it. And then I attempted to pen it down. I realized it afterwards that this poem was sort of revealed entirely upon me in this complete form and composition.

This poem is a true story, and the names of two student in this poem are real as well.
One boy is named Bashir, while his other class-fellow is Akram.
Bashir was late in the class, and the schoolmaster, called "Munshi", asked for the explanation why he was late.
Here, I'm telling it in front of all the audience that I was the schoolmaster in this poem."

[Schoolmaster asks Bashir]

You are so late today, Bashir!
Even when your village is quite nearby.
You'll surely get some severe beating as punishment,
As you have almost missed two periods.

[The student, Bashir, replies]

Dear Sir, please listen to my reason first.
Akram has really did the worst today.
He beats his mother, and beats real harsh
And this rascal has crossed the limits today.
He thrashed her till that butter-churning-staff broke.
But when some people gathered from nearby
He picked up his books and ran to school.

Sir, his mother then came to our home
Her face was full of bruises, her hands were swollen much
Her eyes were wet with tears, and lips were bleeding too.

She asked me "O sweet Bashir!
Please do me a favor today, dear!
Take this lunch to my son Akram
As he was cross with me and went without it"

She has cooked these special "Paratha" [bread] for him
And egg-pudding prepared with such care.
She has carefully wrapped his lunch
And handed over to me.

She was repeatedly saying this to me
"Please hurry up dear
Please don't be late.
My son must be fainting with hunger.
That poor soul went to school without eating"

She handed me the lunch
And I headed towards this school.
This Akram has really did the worst today...


  1. Am such a cursed child, couldn't express it to my mother !! You did a great job, love

  2. great work brother

    Noor Afridi

  3. buht aala,,,,,!! you almost made me cry....wet eyes..:(

    meaning and feeling putting together is really good effort... i loved it...:)



  5. i was searching for this poem from so long, didnt know in which book of Anwar masood it was.So touchy. Thanks

  6. u ppl are emotional on a next level. 10 years for that..........fix up man

  7. wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



    awesome poem!!!!!

  8. Mohammed Wahed Ali,Hyd,INDIA.November 30, 2012 at 12:34 AM

    Thanks a lot bhai...i dont know punjabi..i was searching badly for this translation...once again JAZAKALLAHU KHAIR!!! great lines by ANWAR MASOOD SAAB...!!! allah akram ki maa ku jannat naseeb farmaye...:)

  9. Thanks a lot for translating this, i do not really know punjabi only urdu and found the video hard to understand but this made it clear, thankyou :)

  10. Tagore was only 13 when his mother passed away. Year later he wrote

    this poem (in 1922 when he was 61 years old.)

    I cannot remember my mother,
    only sometime in the midst of my play
    a tune seems to hover over my playthings,
    the tune of some song she used to
    hum while rocking my cradle.

    I cannot remember my mother,
    but when in the early autumn morning
    the smell of the shiuli flowers float in
    the air, the scent of the morning service in the
    temple comes to me as the scent
    of my mother

    I cannot remember my mother,
    only when from my bedroom window
    I send my eyes into the blue of the
    distant sky,
    I feel that the stillness of my mother's
    gaze on my face has spread all over the sky.