School News

Mother Tongue Other Tongue Competition

Sixth-former, Danial Rostami-Hochaghan was chosen as the Mother Tongue winner for Key Stage 5 in the Mother Tongue Other Tongue Poetry Competition 2016. Brought up bi-lingually (English/ Persian), he chose to write his own translation of the poem The Children of Adam, the original written in Persian by Saadi Shirazi.

The Children of Adam – original written in Persian by Saadi Shirazi

بنی آدم اعضای یک پیکرند
که در آفرينش ز یک گوهرند

چو عضوى به درد آورد روزگار
دگر عضوها را نماند قرار

تو کز محنت دیگران بی غمی
نشاید که نامت نهند آدمی

Adam’s sons are body limbs, to say;

For they’re created of the same clay.

Should one organ be troubled by pain,

Others would suffer severe strain.

Thou, careless of people’s suffering,

Deserve not the name, ‘human being’.

(Translation by Danial)

Here is an extract from his commentary:

This is a poem which, I think, has the power to change the world. A poem which is inscribed at the entrance to the U.N. headquarters in New York that perfectly encapsulates the organisation’s mandate. A mandate to break down borders in order to work as a global community. The poem teaches me that if we are to be successful as a people, we must work together. If the human race is like a body and each person a limb, then what is the use of having perfect eyes with 20/20 vision, if there are no ears to hear with, no nose to smell with? On our own we could never amount to the greatness achieved by our own race working together as one.

The need for breaking down borders is as necessary now as it was in Saadi’s time, hundreds of years ago. I am amazed by how relevant an 800 year old poem can be in the age of the internet, an age so vastly different to any before it.

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