Sunday, 4 May 2008

Faiz - Ravish Ravish hai vahii intizaar kaa mausam

A Faiz ghazal from dast-e-sabaa today - penned during his incarceration in the early 50s. Among many other gems, this is an excellent example of how Faiz could adopt, and adapt, the classical imagery of urdu poetry to denounce, and rouse opinion against, an oppressive political regime.

The 'radif' contains the word 'mausim', the corrupted form of which (mausam) we use in everyday speech to mean 'season'. In its original sense, the word would translate more broadly as 'time and place' for something.

As with anything by Faiz, the sheer sound of the verses, as they are read aloud, is hauntingly moving, even before one delves into implied meanings and nuances.

ravish-ravish hai vahii intezaar kaa mausim
nahii.n hai koii bhii mausim bahaar kaa mausim

रविश-रविश है वही इंतिज़ार का मौसिम

नहीं है कोई भी मौसिम बहार का मौसिम

On every turn, (there) is that same season of waiting
The season of spring is not (among) any of the seasons

We had encountered ravish while discussing an earlier ghazal - the word commonly means something like a 'gait' or 'walk' or 'carriage', but also figuratively denotes a 'custom' or 'practice' or a 'fashion'. Hence, when one says 'every ravish' one is saying something like 'on all occasions' or 'everywhere'. However, the word is also used in a more specific context - to mean an avenue or path laid out in a garden, for walkers. Hence, when used in a sher like the above, with its evocation of a continuous, all-pervasive wait for the spring, the word has a specially beautiful resonance, with the imagery of a garden being automatically brought to mind, even without explicit mention.

giraa.n hai dil pe gham-e-rozgaar kaa mausim
hai aazmaaish-e-husn-e-nigaar kaa mausim

गिरां है दिल पे गम-ए-रोज़गार का मौसिम

है आज़माइश-ए-हुस्न-ए-निगार का मौसिम

Weighing heavily on the heart is the season of quotidian concerns
it is the season for testing the beauty of the Beloved

It is truly when 'everyday' worries - of earning one's bread, of getting from day to day - oppress the heart, that one can test the effectiveness and power of that ever-available avenue of escape - namely, the contemplation of the Beloved's charms!

is literally a beautiful painting or effigy, used figuratively to denote the Beloved. Given the ghazal's broad political undertones, it is clear that the 'painting' being evoked here is a lot more ambiguous than merely a flesh-and-blood woman.

Note also that this sher constitutes a second 'matlaa' or opening verse, in which both lines contain the radif. The occasional insertion of a second matlaa was classically meant to demonstrate a poet's prowess, and most of the old-time greats have shown off such flourish in some of their ghazals.

khushaa nazaaraa-e-rukhsaar-e-yaar kii saa'at
khushaa qaraar-e-dil-e-beqaraar kaa mausim

खुशा नज़ारा-ए-रुखसार-ए-यार की सा'अत

खुशा करार-ए-दिल-ए-बेकरार का मौसिम

Happy is the moment of sighting the Beloved's face
Happy is the season (that brings) relief to the agitated heart

Relatively straightforward. Qaraar is literally a state of 'rest' or 'quietude', and its negated form is commonly used in the ghazal vocabulary to denote the anxious and troubled state of a Lover's heart. 'Khushaa' is an interjection, used in the sense of "How happy...!" or "How fortunate...!"

hadiis-e-baadaa-o-saaqii nahii.n, to kis masraf
khiraam-e-abr-e-sar-e-kohsaar kaa mausim

हदीस-ए-बादा-ओ-साकी नहीं, तो किस मसरफ

खिराम-ए-अब्र-ए-सर-ए-कोहसार का मौसिम?

(when) there is no story of wine and saaqii, of what worth
(is) the season of the cloud's drift over the mountains?

Masraf literally means 'expenditure' or 'cost' - used here in the sense of the 'value' of something. Khiraam means 'gait', specifically an elegant or graceful way of walking or moving. Kohsaar is literally 'mountainous'.

Hadees stands for fables or stories describing the experiences of the Prophet. However, the word also has an alternative meaning of 'renouncing' or 'forswearing' off something. Hence Faiz could have been aiming for some clever word-play here, in effect packing in two contradicting meanings - in one, the season of the clouds' movement is felt to be of no attraction unless accompanied by the stories of the saaqee and wine-cup; in the other, it is felt to be of interest only if the saaqee and wine-cup have been renounced (because if they haven't been, who has time to sit and appreciate anything else?)

nasiib sohbat-e-yaaraa.n nahii.n, to kyaa kiije
ye raqs-e-saayaa-e-sarv-o-chinaar kaa mausim

नसीब सोहबत-ए-यारां नहीं, तो क्या कीजे

ये रक्स-ए-साया-ए-सर्व-ओ-चिनार का मौसिम?

When the Beloved's company is not (in one's) destiny, what (is one) to do
(with) the season of dancing shadows of the cypress and chinaar?

More of the same. Isn't that really picturesque imagery in the second line, though? The 'dancing hour' of the tree-shadows!

ye dil ke daagh to dukhte the yuu.n bhii, par kam kam
kuchh ab ke aur hai hijraa.n-e-yaar kaa mausim

ये दिल के दाग तो दुखते थे यूँ भी, पर कम कम

कुछ अब के और है हिजरां-ए-यार का मौसिम

these heart's wounds used to ache even otherwise, but (with) lesser (intensity)
This time, the season of separation from the Beloved is something else!

Once again, the words are simple - but there's a lovely balance, an engagingly colloquial touch, in the 'kam kam' of the first line, and the 'kuchh ab ke aur hai' of the second.

yahii junuun kaa, yahii tauq-o-daar kaa mausim
yahii hai zabr, yahii ikhtiyaar kaa mausim

यही जूनून का, यही तौक-ओ-दार का मौसिम

यही है जब्र, यही इख्तियार का मौसिम

This itself is the (season of) madness, this itself the season of manacle and stake
this itself (the season of) coercion, this itself the season of choice

A tauq, in Arabic, is an iron neck-ring, a sort of collar, that a prisoner or a slave is forced to wear [someone so 'collared', even if an animal, is described as a mutavvak]. A daar in Persian is a gallows, or a wooden stake on which a criminal is impaled. Jabr is 'compulsion', 'constraint', or the (violent) imposition of force. While ikhtiyaar is 'self control' or 'choice'.

The sher suggests, tongue-in-cheek, that despite oppression and controls, the junoon of those so victimised still leaves them with 'freedom of choice', with power over themselves. Once again, the entire imagery could be simply an evocation of the constant state of rebellion against the oppressive (earthly or celestial) Beloved of the stylised ghazal tradition, of a 'call to action' to one's comrades in arms...

qafas hai bas mei.n tumhaare, tumhaare bas mei.n nahii.n
chaman mei.n aatish-e-gul ke nikhaar kaa mausim

कफ़स है बस में तुम्हारे, तुम्हारे बस में नहीं

चमन में आतिश-ए-गुल के निखार का मौसिम

The cage is in your control; (but) not in your control, is
the season (when) the rose's flame blooms in the garden

Once again, in this sher (as in the next two) the 'political' message screams out so sharply, with such stentorian grandeur and needling defiance, that it is only the (deliberate) external veneer of standard ghazal stylistics which could have permitted Faiz to pen this while under the control and censorship of his oppressors.

sabaa kii mast khiraamii tah-e-kamand nahii.n
asiir-e-daam nahii.n hai bahaar kaa mausim

सबा की मस्त खिरामी तह-ए-कमंद नहीं

असीर-ए-दाम नहीं है बहार का मौसिम

The mad pace of the wind is not under (any) noose
the season of spring is not trapped in (any) web

A kamand is a noose, lasso or snare. [It is also used to denote a rope ladder, normally used by thieves to scale a wall or by an attacking army to breach a fort's turrets]. Daam is a net or trap, used for ensnaring small animals or birds. Aseer is a captive, or someone bound down.

balaa see, ham ne na dekhaa to aur dekhenge
furogh-e-gulshan-o-saut-e-hazaar kaa mausim

बला से, हम ने न देखा तो और देखेंगे

फुरोग़-ए-गुलशन-ओ-सौत-ए-हज़ार का मौसिम

Who cares! (Even) if we did not see (it), others shall see
the season of the splendour of the garden, and of the nightingale's call!

Isn't it deliciously defiant, this devil-may-care confidence that righteousness and beauty shall, ultimately, prevail? And furogh-e-gulshan-o-saut-e-hazaar is not the sort of expression you will get from too many wordsmiths!

is literally 'illumination' or 'light', used habitually in the sense of 'honour' or 'glory'. Saut describes a 'voice' or a 'cry'. And hazaar is the oft-shortened form of 'hazaar-dastaan' or, literally, '(bird) of a thousand tales', which is how a nightingale is picturesquely described!



Beautiful, yet again.
Do you do interpretation on demand?? :) Cheeky query, may be, but if you do, I would prepare my wish list. Have loads and loads of unexplained Ghalibs!

deewaan said...

Thanks again, Deepti!

You're probably jesting, but if you really do want to look at some specific poem, do feel free to suggest it - can't promise that I'll be able to do full justice to your choice, but shall certainly give it a try...


Oh dear me, I never jest where shayari is concerned! Okay, here goes my wishlist then :)

1. This is rather a tame Jagjit ghazal, but has me baffled. 'Meri zindagi kisi aur kii, mere naam ka koi aur hai.'

2. Ghalib's - 'jal gaya nahin hoon taabe-erukh-e-yaar dekh kar, jalta hoon apni taaqat-e-deedar dekh kar'

3. Ghalib's - darkhur-e-kehr-o-ghazab jab koi hum sa na hua, phir galat kya hai ki hum sa koi paida na hua'

Thanx in advance!!!
And more later!

Musings of June said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Musings of June said...


Surely you know that there isn't any free lunch Honey?? :)


You are doing a very good job and I can see it's taking toll on people.


@ June
Hehe...mohtarma...lunches free nahi hote...magar unki khushbu lee ja sakti me... ;-) hamari gustaakhi mehez itni hi hai...

deewaan said...

Hi Deepti, June...! Have put up a translation of 'darkhoor-e-qahr'. Hope you like it. Shall try and get around to the others too, eventually.

And yes, this lunch is entirely guarantees about the quality of the cooking, though!