"...The desire for struggle is in our hearts...

Armed does the enemy sit, ready to open fire
Ready too are we, our bosoms thrust out to him...

No threat can bow heads that have risen so...
Yea, for in our insides has risen a flame,
and the desire for struggle is in our hearts...

We shall now see what strength there is in the boughs of the enemy."

Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna is a poem in the Urdu language, an ode to the young freedom fighters of the Indian Independence Movement which took place roughly between 1850 and 1950. The poem was popularized by Ram Prasad Bismil, a Hindu activist and revolutionary who is also thought to have been the poem's author.

While the association of Sarfaroshi ki Tamanna with the Iranian uprising of 2009 might appear to be out of context, I found that the revolutionary spirit of the poem was one which seemed to transcend the specific situation from which it arose. More than just an expression of unrest, it represents the point at which an oppressed people have at last had enough of tyranny, the moment at which that people will - if it proves necessary - fight to bring that oppression to an end. The Declaration of Independence, which led to the formation of the United States of America, is rooted in that same spirit, and we have seen signs of the same all around our modern world, from the struggles of the Baltic states to the stirrings of unrest in parts of China. The theme - of people yearning for freedom and, in some cases, summoning the courage to struggle against a seemingly more powerful tyrant - is universal.

It is in that spirit that I invoke this poem with these images from the struggle playing out in Iran in mid 2009. Our hearts are with you, people of Iran.

For more information, see:
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarfaroshi_ki_Tamanna

To hear the original vocal performance by Hama Manicka, on which this soundtrack was based, go to:
- archive.org/details/audio_poetry_100_2006

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