Friday, October 7, 2016

Aakhiri Khat

We attempt to translate Faiz's 'Akhiri Khat' (The Last Letter).  We believe that the poem can be divided into three parts.  

In the first part the poet is lamenting about how his life has been useless as far love is concerned and that his end is near.  

Then in the second part he goes on to wonder about how She'd react on hearing about him dead and predicts two possible outcomes.  Either She will, on finding that he died of the travails of love, realize that he was deeply in love with Her and respect his grave and remember his cries for help.  Or She will be mocking him for his stupidity and disrespect his grave.

The third part is about the the fact that whatever She does, laments his death or laugh at him, it doesn't matter after all.  Thus this is the 'Akhiri Khat'. 

[Observation verse]
Vo waqt meri jaan bahut dur nahin hai,
Jab dard se ruk jaayengi sab zeest ki raahen,
Aur had se guzar jaayega andoh-e-nihaani,
Thak jaayengi tarsi hui naakam nigahen,
Chin jaayenge mujhse mere aanson meri aahen,
Chin jaayegi mujhse meri bekaar jawani

The time is not very far my dear,
When the pain will stop the flow of life,
And the hidden/internal pain will overwhelm me,
And my failed eyes will get tired,
And my tears and sighs will be taken away from me,
And so will be my useless youth. 

[Perhaps She'll understand my love verse]

Shayad meri ulfat ko bahut yaad karogi,
Apne dil-e-masoom ko nashaad karogi,
Aaogi meri gor pe tum ashq bahaane,
Nau-khez bahaaron ke hasin phool chadhaane

Perhaps you'll remember my affections,
And make your innocent heart sad,
And come to my grave to shed tears,
And offer the spring's newly sprung flowers

[Perhaps She won't change]

Shayad meri turbat ko bhi thukra ke chalogi,
Shayad meri be-sood vafaaon pe hasogi,
Is vaza-e-karam ka bhi tumhen paas na hoga,
Lekin dil-e-nakaam ko ehsaas na hoga

Perhaps you'll not acknowledge even my grave,
And laugh at my unrequited, futile affections,
And you'd not notice even this favor, [Meaning that she won't understand that she's doing him a favor by coming to his grave, like her other 'favors' that she didn't notice? :D] 
But my ineffective heart won't be able to feel it.

[Either way doesn't matter verse]

Al-qissa ma.aal-e-gham-e-ulfat pe haso tum,
Ya ashq bahaati raho, fariyaad karo tum,
Maazi pe nadaamat ho tumhe ya ki masarrat,
Khamosh pada soyega vamanda-e-ulfat

In short, you laugh at how the pain of unrequited love ended,
Or you cry and pray for atonement(?)
You regret the past or are proud of it,
Either way, I, tired of the loved, would sleep in silence.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ya rab gham-e-hijraan

Chiragh Hasan Hasrat sung beautifully by Farida Khanum.  An attempt at a literal translation.

Yaa rab gham-e-*hijran mein itna to kiya hota,
Jo haath jigar par hai, wo dast-e-duaa hota

Oh God, you could've at least made me suffer the pain of separation with grace,
The hand I use to comfort my liver should have been used for praying
[i.e. instead of complaining and crying in pain, I should be gracefully praying]

Ummeed to bandh jaati, *taskeen to ho jaati,
Waada na wafa karte, waada to kiya hota

It would have given me some relief and hope,
Even if you had made a false promise

[And we're reminded of Ghalib's famous:
  Tere vaade pe jiye hum, to ye jaan jhooth jaana,
  Ke khushi se mar na jaate, gar aitbaar hota
  Translation, here

  Ta phir na intezaar mein neend aaye umra bhar,
  Aane ka ahad kar gaye, aaye jo khwaab mein
  Translation, here
Gairon se kaha tumne, gairon se suna tumne,
Kuch hum se kaha hota, kuch humse suna hota
You discuss your problems with strangers, and expect sympathy
You should have spoken to me about them

Ek ishq ka gham aafat, aur uspe ye dil aafat,
Ya gham na diya hota, ya dil na diya hota
[This is written with an undertone of exasperation caused due to the travails of love]
The pain of love in itself is a big nuisance and added to the annoyances of the desirous heart,
God should have either not given me the pain or not given me the heart

---- Chiragh Hasan Hasrat
Rekhta Page

hijraan = separation 
taskeen = relief

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ye kya ke ek jahan ko --- Sufi Tabassum

An attempt at a literal translation.
Sung by Farida Khanum.

Yeh kya ke ek jahan ko karo *vaqf-e-*iztiraab,
Yeh kya ke ek dil ko *shakeba na kar sako!

You can make the whole world feel discontent with desire for you,
But you can't make even one heart content!
[I think that there are three things being said here:
1. A compliment, that you're so beautiful that the whole world squirms in desire for you :).
2. A complaint that you can't even make one person content.
3. An insinuation that if you be kindly towards me, make my heart content, you won't be considered so cruel ;-)]

Aisa na ho ye dard bane dard-e-la-dawa,
Aisa na ho ke tum bhi *madawa na kar sako

I hope this pain doesn't become so uncurable,
That even you are not able to do anything about it

Shayad tumhe bhi chain na aaye mere bagair
Shayad ye baat tum bhi *gavaaran na kar sako

Perhaps you too would terribly miss me,
Perhaps you too would not be able to bear it!

Allah kare jahan ko meri yaad bhool jaaye,
Allah kare ke tum kabhi aisa na kar sako

I pray that the whole world forgets me,
But God doesn't ever let you do so

Kya jaane phir sitam bhi *mayassar hon ya na hon,
Kya jaane ye karam bhi karo ya na kar sako!

Who knows if even these tyrannies would be possible in the future!
Perhaps the future would be bereft of even these favors

---- Sufi Tabassum
Rekhta page

vaqf : engrossed
iztiraab : restlessness
shakeba : content/patient
gavaaran : bearable/tolerable
madawa : cure
mayassar : possible

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tu uroos-e-shaam-e-khayal bhi --- Suroor Barabankvi

A wonderful, wonderful ghazal by Suroor Barabankvi sung delightfully by Mehnaz Begum and a futile attempt at translation.

Tu *uroos-e-shaam-e-khayal bhi, tu *jamaal-e-ru-e-sahar bhi hai,
Ye zaroor hai, ke *ba i hamah mera *ehtimaam-e-nazar bhi hai

You’re the topic of the evenings of mentation, You’re the soul of the splendor of the morning’s sun,
Nevertheless, I realize that some of it could just be my imagination

Ye mera naseeb hai, humnasheen, sar-e-raah bhi na mile kahin,
Wahi mera *jaada-e-justjoo, wahi unki raah-guzar bhi hai

It was in my fate, that Our paths never crossed,
Even when the road I roam about on is the one which leads to Her home

Tere *qurb ne jo badha diye, kabhi mit sake na wo faasle,
Vahi paanv hein, vahi *aable, vahi apna *zauq-e-safar bhi hai

Your brief nearness to me did increase the distances between us, [i.e. aggravate my longing for Her?] which I could never traverse,
Although my feet's strength, blisters and the taste for wandering never faded

Bahaazar *daanish-o-*aagahi, meri *maslehat hai abhi yahi,
Mein *aseer-e-zulmat-e-shab sahi, meri *dastaras mein sahar bhi hai

I’m not very knowledgeable, but I know this,
Although now I’m suffering in darkness, light is also within my reach

--- Suroor Barabankvi

uroos = bride
jamaal = beauty
ba i hamah = nevertheless
ehtimaam = arrangement
jaada = path
qurb = nearness
aable = fatigue blisters (Thanks for the comment)
zauq = taste
daanish = knowledge
aagahi = awareness
maslehat = understanding
aseer = captive
dastaras = reach

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ye arzoo thi tujhe --- Haider Ali 'Aatish'

Wonderfully sung by both Amanat Ali and Abida Parveen.

Ye arzoo thi tujhe gul ke rubaroo karte
Hum aur bulbul-e-betaab guftgoo karte

I wished that I could make you face a flower
And then try to talk to the flustered nightingale
[In Urdu poetry, Nightangle and Flower are considered lovers. The writer is saying that She's so beautiful that the nightingale will get confused between Her and the flower and that he'll then enjoy talking to the nightingale.]

*Payaambar na *mayassar hua to khoob hua,
Zaabaan-e-*gair se kya *sharh-e-arzoo karte

It's good if a messenger couldn't be afforded
How would I have conveyed my heart through a stranger

Humesha maine *girebaan ko chaak-chaak kiya,
Tamaam umra *rafookar rahe rafoo karte

I always got my collar torn (metaphor for public disgrace)
And the cloth-menders spent their lives mending it
[Meaning that I got myself in trouble constantly and my friends always tried to salvage the situation]

Meri tarah se *mah-o-*mehr bhi hein aawaara,
Kisi *habeeb ki ye bhi hein justjoo karte

The sun and the moon also loiterers like me.
They are also, like me, trying to find a lover
[The relative rotation of the sun and moon around the earth is compared to loitering]

Jo dekhte teri zanjeer-e-zulf ka aalam
*Aseer hone ki aazaad aarzoo karte

If only they witness the charm of being 'fettered' by Your tresses
The Free would wish to be captured

Na pooch *aalam-e-barghashta-taala'i 'Aatish'
Barasti aag jo *baaraan ki arzoo karte

Don't even ask about the ill fortune of "Aatish"
It rained fire when he wished for rain.
[I think there's wordplay in this couplet. Aatish, the writer's nom de plume means fire (a common metaphor for desires), so he's wishing for rain, meaning fulfilling his desires? But instead, the rain Gods rain fire, giving him more desires. We get reminded of Momin's:
Maanga karenge ab se dua hijr-e-yaar ki,
Aakhir ko dushmani hai asar ko dua ke saath

Henceforth I'll pray for separation from my love,
Prayer and dispensation are deep hostile after all

--- Haider Ali 'Aatish'

payaambar : messenger
mayassar : afforded
gair : stranger
sharh : describe
rafookar : one who mends torn clothes
mah : moon
mehr : sun
habeeb : lover
aseer : captives
aalam-e-barghashta-taala'i : caprice of ill fortune
baaraan : rain

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Khushi ne mujhko thukraya hai

Another gem by Beghum Akhtar. Written by Ali Ahmed Jalili.

An attempt at a literal translation.

Khushi ne mujhko thukraya hai, dard-o-gham ne paala hai
Gulon ne be-rukhi ki hai, toh kaanton ne sambhala hai

Happiness deserted me while pain accommodated,
Flowers snubbed me while the thorns supported

Mohabbat mein khayaal-e-sahil-o-manzil hai naadaani,
Jo in raahon mein lut jaaye, wahi taqdeer waala hai

Looking for shore in the ocean of love is immaturity,
Lucky are those who drown during their journey

Charagan kar ke dil behla rahe ho kya jahan waalon,
Andhera laakh roshan ho, ujaala phir ujaala hai

Why are people trying to ward off darkness (sorrow) by lighting candles?
There's only so much artificial lighting can do when compared to natural light

Kinaaron se mujhe ae naakhudaaon door hi rakhna
Wahan lekar chalo toofan jahan se uthne waala hai

Keep me (my ship) away from the safe shores, dear Captain (Naakhuda)
Take me where a storm is about to rise

Nasheman hi ke lut jaane ka gham hota to kya gham tha
Yahan toh bechne waale ne, gulshan bech daala hai

If only I was sad for just having my nest ripped off,
The sellers here, have sold the whole garden.

--- Ali Ahmed Jalili

Tabiyat in dinon

This is one of my favorite ghazals by Jigar. The whole ghazal is about depression in my opinion. It's a very complex emotional condition and Jigar describes it very elegantly. It has been sung rather nonchalantly by Beghum Akthar who has a flair for singing melancholic ghazals quite effortlessly, perhaps because she lived a life which was much more sad. I try to give an interpretive translation to it.

Tabiyat in dinon begana-e-gham hoti jaati hai,
Mere hisse ki goya har khushi kam hoti jaati hai

I have been forgetful of my sorrows of late,
The last few friends I had are also deserting me now  

Sahar hone ko hai, bedaar shabnam hoti jaati hai,
Khushi minjumala-o-asbaab-e-maatam hoti jaati hai

It's almost morning and the Dew is awake now,
Happy times are about to become the reason of sadness

[I think that he's showing how the objects of sadness and happiness are often the same. Like the dew, which looks beautiful in the night evaporates off in the morning heat causing sadness :)]

Qayamat kya, ye ae husn-e-do-aalam hoti jaati hai,
Ki mehfil to wahi hai, dilkashi kam hoti jaati hai

What's doomsday, it's just another trifle O 'beauty of both worlds'
The gathering is exactly the same, my interest recedes

 [In the first line, he seems to be giving an example of how much he's lost interest in the world, that apocalypse seems trivial to him.]

Wahi mai-khaana-o-sehbaa wahi saagar wahi sheesha
Magar aawaaz-e-nausha-nosh maddham hoti jaati hai

The same tavern, the same wine, the same is my globlet
But where is the the jubilation of drinking?

Wahi hai shaahid-o-saaqi, magar dil bujhta jaata hai,
Wahi hai shamma lekin roshni kam hoti jaati hai

The same is my sweetheart, the same cup-bearer, but my heart aches
The torch burns the same but the brightness retreats

Wahi shorish hai lekin jaise mauj-e-tah-nashin koi,
Wahi dil hai magar aawaaz maddham hoti jaati hai

Life's chaos has become like an undercurrent in an ocean,
My heart's the same, but the sound of heartbeats lowers

[Notice how a beating heart is compared to confusion in life.]

Wahi hai zindagi lekin 'Jigar' ye haal hai apna,
Ke jaise zindagi se zindagi kam hoti jaati hai
[This is depression explained in two lines :)]

My life is the same, nothing changed
I keep living, but the life in me is diminishing

begana-e-gham : without sorrow
goya : as if
minjumala : along with
asbaab: reason
maatam: mourning
husn-e-do-aalam : beauty of the two worlds
aawaaz-e-nausha-nosh: the calls of 'Cheers' while drinking
maddham: low
shaahid: witness, lover
saaqi: cup-bearer
shorish: confusion
mauj: wave
tah-nashin : under the surface

Full ghazal taken from here