Thursday, 26 April 2007

Faiz - aaye kuchh abr

aaye kuchh abr kuchh sharaab aaye
uske baad aaye jo azaab aaye

आये कुछ अब्र कुछ शराब आये
उसके बाद आये जो अज़ाब आये

"let the clouds come, let the wine come
after that, let whatever troubles come!"

Give the poet the intoxication of the monsoons, and the aid of wine - after that he can handle anything a cruel fate throws at him!

Westerners might find it difficult to understand the way urdu/hindi poetry attaches a 'positive' imagery to clouds (abr, ghataa, bahaar) - occidental idiom tends to associate clouds largely with difficulty and privation... you probably have to live through a north-indian summer to appreciate that rain can actually awaken joy and romance!

baam-e-miinaa se mahtaab utre
dast-e-saaqi mei.n aaftaab aaye

बाम-ए-मीना से माहताब उतरे
दस्त-ए-साकी मे आफताब आये

"let the moon descend along the roof of the wine-pitcher
let the sun arrive in the hand of the wine-server (saaki)"

This is pure magic! It requires a poetic devotion to booze to see the moon's reflection in the wine pitcher and imagine it having climbed down the neck of the vessel.... or to see the sun in the sparkling fire-water being doled out by the saaqi!!

har rag-e-khuun mei.n phir charagaa.n ho
saamne phir vo be-naqaab aaye

हर रग-ए-ख़ून में फिर चरागाँ हो
सामने फिर वो बेनकाब आये

"let sparks [run] in every vein again
let her come before [me] unveiled again"

A little more pedestrian, this. Sparks would fly through his bloodstream if her veil dropped... wonder if he would go into spontaneous combustion if she were to start disrobing!

umr ke har varq pe dil ko nazar
terii mehr-o-vafaa ke baab aaye

उम्र के हर वर्क पे दिल को नज़र
तेरी मेहर-ओ-वफ़ा के बाब आये

"on every page of time, the heart perceived
the chapter-headings (rubrics) of your kindnesses and loyalties"

Her kindness and faithfulness runs like a header on every page of the poet's life-history? Somewhat un-ghazal like, if so!

kar rahaa thaa gham-e-jahaa.n kaa hisaab
aaj tum yaad be-hisaab aaye

कर रहा था गम-ए-जहाँ का हिसाब
आज तुम याद बेहिसाब आये

"[I] was counting the sorrows of the world
you came to mind immeasurably today!"

This one is beautiful, but just can't be translated properly!

The 'punch' in the sher is the clever word play with हिसाब and बेहिसाब . 'behisaab' - literally, 'unaccountable' - is used colloquially to indicate anything in great measure. In this case, the (somewhat tragic) point the poet is trying to make is that when he sits down to 'count the sorrows', the beloved keeps coming to his mind, since it is she who is responsible for all the sorrows (at least, all his sorrow).

But the word-play [as I 'count' my pains, you come 'uncountably' to mind] makes this more than a heavy-hearted observation - and gives it a sweetly mocking touch!

na gayii tere gham kii sardaarii
dil mei.n yuu.n roz inquilaab aaye

ना गयी तेरे गम की सरदारी
दिल मे यूँ रोज़ इन्कलाब आये

"the reign of your pain could not be dislodged
though there were mutinies everyday in the heart"

I love this one!

So strongly entrenched is the 'dictatorship' of the beloved over the poet's heart, that it manages to frustrate all attempts at mutiny!

Once again, the translation falls short. 'Inquilaab' is such a powerful word - 'revolution', 'mutiny', 'rebellion', etc. don't quite capture its full essence. [An Inquilaab is aimed at complete overthrow of established order - and aims at something apocalyptic like the 'red dawn'!]. So when Faiz casually says that there was an Inquilaab everyday in the heart, it makes for a deliciously 'over the top' metaphor... more so when one notes the contemptuous ease with which the (otherwise uninterested) Beloved is able to render ineffectual the poet's attempts to break out of her thrall !

jal uThe bazm-e-ghair ke dar-o-baam
jab bhii ham khaanamaa.n-kharaab aaye

जल उठे बज़्म-ए-ग़ैर के दर-ओ-बाम
जब भी हम खानमां-ख़राब आये

"The walls and doors of the other's salon burst into flames
whenever we, the wretched ones, arrived"

Not quite clear what this one is all about.

'Gair' (which literally means 'other' or 'someone unaquainted') is one of the many words used in the stylised vocabulory of the ghazal world to refer to the poet's 'rival' - the one who competes with the poet for the Beloved's affections. Quite naturally, a lot of poetic ink is spilt in reviling this character.

I think the sher is evoking a situation where the (wretched) poet is invited to a get-together organised by the 'gair', and, upon reaching there, finds that the Beloved is also in attendance - which causes him such envious 'heartburn' that (metaphorically) the gair's house itself catches fire!

In the Ghazal world, the Beloved is quite frequently cursed for gracing the 'bazm-e-gair' (because she never deigns to honour the Poet's abode with her presence) so Faiz probably assumed that the implied context would be caught by the listeners.

is tarah apnii khamoshii guunjii
goyaa har simt se jawaab aaye

इस तरह अपनी खामोशी गूंजी
गोया हर सिम्त से जवाब आये

"in such a way did my silence resound
[it was] as if replies came back (echoed) from every direction"

Once again, this is quite untranslatable, although it does have a haunting sort of beauty that comes out even in translation... how can 'silence' resound or echo? And what 'replies' can there be to a 'silent' question...? The words are so 'indefinitely' evocative that everyone would probably find some personal way to interpret this...

Faiz thii raah sar-basar manzil
ham jahaa.n pahunche kaamyaab aaye

'फैज़' थी राह सर-बसर मंज़िल
हम जहाँ पहुंचे कामयाब आये

"Faiz, the path [itself] was wholly [my] destination
[Hence] wherever i reached, i reached successful"

I find this brilliant! Like almost all Faiz maqtas, of course...

The poet declares that the route itself was where he set out to get to. So - almost by definition - he is bound to have made a success of his journey, even if he made no progress at all!!

There is a DEEP philosophy - of sorts - lurking behind those words!


Anonymous said...

Hey man, this is a very good translation.. the best of all, which I have come across.. will you please try to put "jal uthe bazm-e-gair" in words again?

Anonymous said...

Superb translation. Thanks a lot for sharing it. God bless you.