Invictus is a thought scratching poem written by William Ernest Henley. Henley’s body is ruined with soil and had transformed into insects. Nonetheless, what ideas he wrote are just mesmerising, thought catching and strring!
When Nelson Mandala was asked by the interviewer of Reader’s Digest, “any book, poetry, personality or anything that inspired you to tolerate twenty eight years of imprisonment?” “The poem invictus, by Ernest Henley”, Mandala answered.
Though Sabiha Baloch was not imprisoned but for a girl of Baloch society it makes quite hard to handle a cruel state’s tantalizing affairs. Slavery is more a heart wrenching phenomena than imprisonment!
Days before Dr. Sabiha Baloch, who is the Vice Chairperson Baloch Students’ Action Committee, was dragged, pulled and pushed on the famous ZARGOON road, Quetta. She had her right hand broken. And the very next day she was there on the protest in front Balochistan Provincial Assembly with her bandaged hand.
What I think is that Henley must have written this poem to dedicate to Dr. Sabiha and her fellows, because these girls with no educational background like that of Malal or Simon De have shifted the paradigm of resistance politics in Balochistan.
“Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.”
The lines capture the scene of Sabiha Baloch and her comrades’ struggle very comprehensively. The lines speak of a darkness or gloomy, that means (they) might foresee a things meaningless by now, but they are still appeased with this romance of resistance. Their souls are unconquerable or invincible. They are thankful to whatever the gods bring to them! They are not edgy of what they undergo.
“In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeoning of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.”
These lines implicate their not compromising of any circumstances. Whatever situations or scenarios (Dr. Sabiha and her fellows) go through, they are not going to give up.
As they were seen by the whole world on social media that how they were dragged on the roads but they still kept their resistance animated! The word (Bludgeoning) is key in these lines. This word means to beat or hit something repeatedly and with immense power! They (Dr. and fellows) have been going through such scenes, but they did not cry aloud or they did not bow! A bloody head is not a bowing head!
“Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.”
Dr. Sabiha and fellow know very well that these circumstances are full of extreme sorrow and agony, but they do foresee a future of excellence and prosperity waiting out there to be seized! How much tears they cry of and how much wrath they go through are just shades of injustice or torture. Beyond or at the other side of them is Elysium!
“It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.”
(Striat the gate) means a very thick iron gate), but Dr. Sabiha and her fellows do not care how time taking it is to broken those hard and steeled shackles, they seem much determined to make holes through them someday!
She seems not to be afraid of any charged stick or punishments that can minimize her ecstatic romance of fighting with the tyranny!
She exclaims or renounce to the gods of the day, I am the owner of my own dealings and I am the master who is set to make her own future. If you come my way! You shall run out of blood and tears! I shall continue chanting: ‘resistance is life’!
“I am the caption of my soul
I am the master of my fate!”