Friday, 7 January 2011

Faiz - ye jafaa-e-gham ka chaara

Faiz wrote this short poem in 1959, while incarcerated in Lahore jail. It appears in his 1965 publication dast-e-tah-e-sang. While broadly in ghazal format, it lacks a strict radif.  Once again, it has that enjoyable metrical rhythm so typical of Faiz. 

ye jafaa-e-gham ka chaara, vo nijaat-e-dil kaa aalam
teraa husn dast-e-iisaa, terii yaad ruu-e-mariyam

ये जफा ए ग़म का चारा वो निजात ए दिल का आलम
तेरा हुस्न दस्त ए ईसा तेरी याद रू ए मरियम

یہ جفاے غم کا چارہ، وہ نجات دل کا عالم
ترا حسن دست عیسا، تری یاد رُوے مریم

This, the cure for pain's oppression; that, a state of heart's deliverance
your beauty, the hand of Christ; your memory, the face of Mariyam

Nothing too deep here, but the sher pays its tribute to the Beloved with such beauty, doesn't it?  Her glimpse, her memories, have a curative, even a messianic, ability to soothe, to redeem...  Nijaat (or, more correctly, najaat) means escape, salvation or deliverance.

dil-o-jaa.n fidaa-e-raahe, kabhii aa ke dekh hamdam
sar-e-kuu-e-dil-figaaraa.n, shab-e-aarzuu kaa aalam

दिल-ओ-जां फ़िदा-ए-राहे कभी आ के देख हमदम
सर-ए-कू-ए-दिल-फिगारां, शब्-ए-आरज़ू का आलम

دل و جاں فداے راہے کبھی آ کے دیکھ ہمدم
سرِ کوے دل فگاراں شبِ آرزو کا عالم

hearts and lives (are) sacrificed on paths; do come and see sometime, friend
the state (that prevails on every) night of desire, in the lane of the broken-hearted,

Lovely!  There is such a nicely conversational touch to that challenging invitation to the Beloved - to come and see for herself how the 'night of desire' plays out, the spectacle that prevails, in the neighbourhoods of those smitten in her ardour... 
Fidaa in its original meaning is 'to be given in ransom', but has come to be used in the general sense of being sacrificed towards something, also for being completely devoted to something.  Figaar means 'wounded', used also in the sense of 'afflicted' or 'crippled'.

terii diid se siwaa hai, tere shauq mei.n bahaaraa.n
vo chaman jahaa.n girii hai, tere gesuo.n kii shabnam

तेरी दीद से सिवा है तेरे शौक़ में बहारां 
वो चमन जहां गिरी है तेरे गेसुओं की शबनम

تری دِید سے سوا ہے ترے شوق میں بہاراں
وہ چمن جہاں گِری ہے تری گیسوؤں کی شبنم

Other than your glimpse, in your love (what) are springs
The garden (is) where the dew of your tresses has fallen

Despite expressing a fairly standard tribute to the Beloved, the sher does manage an exceptional sonorous beauty, doesn't it?  The water droplets that the Beloved shakes out of her wet ringlets determine where gardens will sprout - what indeed can spring mean in such a state, other than a glimpse of her?!

ye ajab qayaamate.n hai.n, terii rahguzar mei.n guzraa.n
ne huaa ki mar miTe.n ham, na huaa ki jii uTHe.n ham

ये अजब क़यामतें हैं तेरी रहगुज़र में गुजरां

न हुआ कि मर मिटें हम, न हुआ कि जी उठें हम

یہ عجب قیامتیں ہیں تری رہگزر میں گزراں
نہ ہُوا کہ مَر مِٹیں ہم، نہ ہُوا کہ جی اُٹھیں ہم

such wondrous calamities are lived on your lane!
to die away was not to be, to come alive was not to be

Once again, the sher itself doesn't make a particularly original point, but has an engaging aural ring to it that is recognisably 'Faiz'.  Guzraan karnaa is a multivalent expression, used in many related senses, one of which is "to pass life, to live".  Ajab, of course, means something that evokes wonder or astonishment - it shares word root with ta'ajjub, which means surprise or admiration.

lo sunii gayii hamaarii, yuu.n phire.n hai.n din ki phir se
vahii gosha-e-qafas hai, vahii fasl-e-gul kaa maatam

लो सुनी गयी हमारी, यूं फिरे हैं दिन कि फिर से 
वही गोशा ए कफ़स है, वही फ़स्ल ए गुल का मातम

لو سُنی گئی ہماری، یُوں پھِرے ہیں دن کہ پھر سے
وہی گوشہ قفس ہے، وہی فصلِ گُل کا ماتم

There - (my pleas) have been heard! So has (my) fate turned, that again
there is that same corner of the cage; that same mourning for the flowering season!

Isn't that a lovely note to sign off with?!  Deliciously ironical, the sher harks back, in that impossibly sublime second line, to the stylised ghazal images of a caged bird and a spring-deprived garden.  Gosha is a corner or a nook.


gwumc said...

A fantastic quality of explicability and comprehensiveness. Your interpretableness of Faiz’s writings are excellent. You justify the endeavor and outdo yourself, Sir. Please keep up the good work. It is a lot of edification for laity like me. I am indeed impressed!

Omer Ismail


Toronto. Canada

deewaan said...

Thanks, Omer! Do keep visiting!