Saturday, 15 March 2008

Faiz - Rang hai dil kaa mere

OK, the Faiz spree continues - another tribute to Ghalib by Faiz today, and what a tribute this one is!

Like the nazm we looked at last week, this one (which is again from dast-e-tah-e-sang) also borrows words from Ghalib (from a ghazal that we've already looked at), for both its title as well as for part of its fourth line. But even without this element of literary interest, the nazm would easily be among Faiz's best - although my translation again falls quite sadly short...

tum na aaye the to har chiiz vahii thii ke jo hai
aasmaa.n had-e-nazar, raah-guzar raah-guzar, shiishaa-e-mai shiisha-e-mai
aur ab shiishaa-e-mai, raah-guzar, rang-e-falaq
rang hai dil kaa mere “khuun-e-jigar hone tak”
champaii rang kabhii, raahat-e-diidaar kaa rang
surmaii rang ke hai saa'at-e-bezaar kaa rang
zard patto.n kaa, khas-o-khaar kaa rang
surkh phuulo.n ka, dahakte hue gulzaar kaa rang
zahar kaa rang, lahuu-rang, shab-e-taar kaa rang
aasmaa.n, raah-guzar, shiishaa-e-mai
koii bhiigaa huaa daaman, koii dukhtii huii rag
koii har lahzaa badaltaa huaa aaiinaa hai
ab jo aaye ho to Thahro ke koii rang, koi rut, koi shai
ek jagah par Thahre
phir se ek baar har cheez vahii ho jo hai
aasmaa.n had-e-nazar, raah-guzar raah-guzar, shiishaa-e-mai shiishaa-e-mai

तुम न आये थे तो हर चीज़ वही थी के जो है

आसमाँ हद-ए-नज़र, राह-गुज़र राह-गुज़र, शीशा-ए-मय शीशा-ए-मय

और अब शीशा-ए-मय, राह-गुज़र, रंग-ए-फ़लक

रंग है दिल का मेरे "खून-ए-जिगर होने तक"

चम्पई रंग कभी, राहत-ए-दीदार का रंग

सुरमई रंग के है सा'अत-ए-बेज़ार का रंग

ज़र्द पत्तों का, खस-ओ-ख़ार का रंग

सुर्ख फूलों का, दहकते हुए गुलज़ार का रंग

ज़हर का रंग, लहू-रंग, शब-ए-तार का रंग

आसमाँ, राह-गुज़र, शीशा-ए-मय

कोई भीगा हुआ दामन, कोई दुखती हुई रग

कोई हर लहज़ा बदलता हुआ आइना है

अब जो आये हो तो ठहरो के कोई रंग, कोई रुत, कोई शय

एक जगह पर ठहरे

फिर से एक बार हर एक चीज़ वही हो जो है

आसमाँ हद-ए-नज़र, राह-गुज़र राह-गुज़र, शीशा-ए-मय शीशा-ए-मय

When you hadn't come, every object was what it (actually) is
the sky, the limit of vision...; the pathway, a pathway...; the glass of wine, a glass of wine...

And now... the glass of wine, the pathway, the colour of the heavens,
are (like) the colour of my heart "until the slaying of (/arrival of blood from) the liver"

A yellow colour sometimes, (like) the colour of the solace of sighting (the Beloved)
(or) an inky colour that is the colour of oppressive hours,
the colour of yellowing leaves, of straw and thorns,
the colour of red flowers, of blazing rose-beds,
the colour of poison, of blood, the colour of dark nights

The sky, the pathway, the glass of wine;
one a damp daaman, one an aching vein,
one an ever-changing mirror.

Now that you've come, stay - so some colour, some season, some thing
stays put in one place;
(and) once again every object becomes what it (actually) is,
the sky, the limit of sight...; the pathway, a pathway...; the glass of wine, a glass of wine...

Probably the chief feature that makes this poem sound so haunting is the way the last line replicates the second... that delicious sense of 'having come back full circle' is difficult to define or explain, but makes for a very pleasurable poetic sensation. In this case, the sense of replication is augmented, of course, by the very deliberate use of replicated-structures throughout... in particular in the repetition of the thematic triad of 'aasmaan', 'raah-guzar' and 'sheeshaa-e-mai' as a sub-text right through the verses.

Despite its beauty and the extreme simplicity of the words themselves, this poem is often held to be a little oblique. However, if one looks at the defining part of the poem - namely the third and fourth lines within which Ghalib is quoted - and revisits the original Ghalib sher from which these words are borrowed - one can get enough of a handle on the entire nazm.

In that sher Ghalib had spoken about the difficulty of making his heart (torn between the immediacy of desire and the interminableness of the wait for the Beloved) 'settle' on a rang (where the word can mean not just physical colour, but also something like 'mood' or 'fate') while it waits for the Liver to either resume supplies of blood, or die (thus shutting off such supply permanently). It is this sense of 'swinging between the extremes' that this present nazm also evokes - after one has fallen in love, the 'comings and goings' of the Beloved can cause one's universe to alternately soar and plummet, making for a slightly dizzying state of affairs! Hence the appeal, at the end of the nazm, for the Beloved to stay put, so that some constancy, some sanity, can be restored to the Lover's world!

The way Faiz conveys the 'junoon' of a newly-smitten Lover's mind is exquisite. Look at the migraine-like multiplicity of colours that he conjures up to denote the shifting associations - the sighting of the Beloved like the yellow of champaa flowers, the black of koh'l like the tiresome spans of time spent in her absence, etc. And in the next thematic set, the sky becomes like a dampened daaman (dampened with what? tears? blood? rainclouds?), while a simple pathway throbs like an artery in pain; and the wine-glass (that emblematic source of relief, otherwise) itself acquires all the unreliability of a shifting, distorting mirror!

Good stuff, this!

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