Friday, 18 May 2007

Faiz - Ham par tumhe chaahane ka

Ham par tumhaarii chaah kaa ilzaam hii to hai
dushnaam to nahi.n hai ye ikraam hii to hai

हम पर तुम्हारी चाह का इल्ज़ाम ही तो है
दुष्नाम तो नहीं है ये इकराम ही तो है
"It is only of loving you that i stand accused, after all
(That) isn't a disgrace; it is an honour, after all!"

To be in the docks for as enviable a crime as that! Where's the shame in it? Why would anyone find it disgraceful? It is quite a badge of honour, in fact!

This sher sets a delightful mood of 'rebellious optimism' or a 'querulous insistence on seeing the bright side of tragedy', which holds throughout this outstanding ghazal, In fact, i am beginning to regard it as one of the very best, even by Faiz's lofty standards!

The intensely evocative तो in the radif makes this ghazal difficult to translate - it adds a sort of 'petulance' of emotion, which one can at best try to capture by tagging on a clumsy expression like, "after all", at the end of the lines where it occurs! This is what i have done, as a sort of uneasy compromise, though i'm acutely conscious of the fact that it kills the 'flow' of the words one sees in the original...

Karte hai.n jis pe taan koi jurm to nahi.n
shauq-e-fuzool-o-ulfat-e-naakaam hii to hai

करते हैं जिस पे तान, कोई जुर्म तो नहीं
शौक़-ए-फुज़ूल-ओ-उल्फत-ए-नाकाम ही तो है
"that which (people) taunt (me for) isn't a crime, after all!
'a taste for useless and helpless love' is all that it is...after all!"

I must admit that that is a very very inadequate translation of a magical phrase like शौक़-ए-फुज़ूल-ओ-उल्फत-ए-नाकाम !! But WHAT will you...?? Some things, you just feel !!

Dil muddai ke harf-e-malaamat se shaad hai
ai jaan-e-jaa.n ye harf teraa naam hii to hai

दिल मुद्दई के हर्फ़-ए-मलामत से शाद है
ए जान-ए-जां, ये हर्फ़ तेरा नाम ही तो है
"(my) heart delights in the critical word of the litigant (complainant)
O light of my life, that word is just your name, after all!"

Lovely! The main 'word' that dominates the charge-sheet (of the litany of the litigant) is the name of the Beloved, because the accusation against the Poet is precisely of being in love with her... but the Beloved's name is not something that the poor accused can hear without swaying in mesmerised delight! Hence, even the 'reading out of the charges' in the courtroom is something that is giving him tremendous pleasure in the dock!!

dil naa-ummiid to nahi.n, naakaam hii to hai
lambii hai gham kii shaam, magar shaam hii to hai

दिल ना-उम्मीद तो नहीं, नाकाम ही तो है
लम्बी है गम की शाम, मगर शाम ही तो है
"the heart isn't hope-less, after is only helpless
the night of sorrow is (admittedly) long; but it is only a night...after all!"


In my opinion, the jewel in the crown! In fact, it is a very strong contender for my favourite sher of all time! It sort of keeps running in one's head, for weeks afterwards !!

Note that in the first line, the translation says that the 'heart is not hope-less' and NOT 'heart is not hopeless'... i wanted to point out the distinction because the adjective 'hopeless' in English means 'not worth hoping for', whereas the ना-उम्मीद in the sher means something like 'without hope' or 'devoid of hope'... where the 'hope' is for some 'external' unmentioned destiny(presumably reunion with the Beloved)... I used 'hope-less' instead of 'without hope' here because the former goes better with the 'helpless' that i used as translation for नाकाम (which literally means 'without effect')!

While both the lines in this sher deserve to be savoured at length, the second is just impossibly heartstopping...

Dast-e-falak mei.n gardish-e-taqdiir to nahi.n
dast-e-falak mei.n gardish-e-ayyaam hii to hai

दस्त-ए-फ़लक मे गर्दिश-ए-तकदीर तो नहीं
दस्त-ए-फ़लक मे गर्दिश-ए-अय्याम ही तो है
"it's not the wheels of destiny that lie in the Almighty's hands, after all
It is only the wheels of life that lie in His hands"

Another classy sher!

दस्त-ए-फ़लक मे is literally 'in the hand of the sky', which is a haunting way of saying 'in God's control'...

The Creator might well have a perverse taste for making us jump through hoops, but why despair? After all, His capricious control doesn't extend to our ultimate destiny (or so the poet would have us -or at least HIMSELF - believe). He merely controls the pedestrian ups and downs of our life... our quotidian (yes, yes - there's THAT word again!) concerns, that's all!

'Gardish' is another of those untranslatable words... it means something like 'wanderings' or 'cycles'... but the exact nuance doesn't exist in any English expression.

aakhir to ek roz karegii nazar wafaa
vo yaar-e-khush-khasaal sar-e-baam hii to hai

आख़िर तो एक रोज़ करेगी नज़र वफ़ा
वो यार-ए-खुश-ख़साल सर-ए-बाम ही तो है
"some day, surely, the eyes will finally be loyal
that virtuous Beloved is only on the rooftop, after all!"

Some comic relief in the midst of all that profundity!

The haughty Beloved stands on the rooftop, like in an ivory tower! Surely, someday the poet's eye will be true to him and favour him with a glimpse of her - He tells himself "come on, it can't be that difficult, I only have to look UP! She isn't that inaccessible to the eye!! She is only on top of a roof!!!'


Bhiigii hai raat Faiz, ghazal ibtidaa karo
waqt-e-sarod dard kaa hangaam hii to hai

भीगी है रात 'फैज़', ग़ज़ल इब्तिदा करो
वक़्त-ए-सरोद दर्द का हंगाम ही तो है
"the night is sultry, Faiz, let's begin a ghazal
the music of the moment is only the clamour of pain, after all!"

How better to drown the hubbub of pain, than to distil this 'music-of-the-moment' into a ghazal?? And who better to do it than Faiz...?