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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 1, September 2004

O, Mom let me play

"Katchian Kaliyan" a poem on child labour in Punjabi by Sharif Anjam—literal translation by Riaz A. Chaudhry.

Short is the phase of tender age, O mom
Do not interrupt my simple pursuits
At the dawn of my life, O mom
Let me play, let me play

Machines and tools are not toys
They crush my little hands
They hurt my brain, O mom
Let me play, let me play

In the workshop or the eatery
Despite my toil I am thrashed
Tattered is my apparel, O mom
Let me play, let me play

To hell with woeful knots of rugs
Injurious to my little bones
They cause pain in my neck, O mom
Let me play, let me play

Wretched are our days and nights
A burden to carry for whole of life
Chain me not to a sinking weight, O mom
Let me play, let me play

Let me play with my simple toys
Do not snatch them, O mom
Childhood shall be gone tomorrow
Let me play, let me play

Just for a loaf of bread, O mom
Don’t barter way my charm
Crush not my hopes, O mom
Let me play, let play

Destroy not slender twigs, O mom
Crush not the floral branch
You are my only hope, O mom
Let me play, let me play

My wishes may not die out
My hopes may not wither away
Time is like a hanging sword, O mom
Let me play, let me play

Small is our home no doubt
Dark is our fate no doubt
But I have a vision to change it, O mom
Let me play, let me play

To ward off our crass poverty
To blot out our perpetual gloom
Encourage me a lot, O mom
Let me play, let me play

For building up my career
for brightening up my future
Send me to a school, O mom
Send me to a school

– Sharif Anjam



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