Sunday, 6 February 2011

Daagh - Shokhi ne teri kaam kiya

Nawab Mirza Khan (1831-1905), who wrote under the pen name of 'Daagh Dehlvi' enjoys a prominent place in the "Delhi school" of shayarii, of which Ghalib and Zauq were the leading luminaries. Related by descent to Bahadur Shah Zafar, Daagh enjoyed the tutelage of Zafar's court poet, Zauq, in his formative years. Following the 1857 Revolt, he shifted base to the kingdom of Rampur (where he composed much of his best work), and spent the final years of his poetic career in Hyderabad, under the generous patronage of the Nizam.

In keeping with his poetical origins, in much of his poetry Daagh seems to aim, at least in ambition, towards the ironical and 'witty' treatment characteristic of Zauq and Ghalib. In particular, many of his maqtas use his takhallus to good effect (which is hardly surprising, given the potential of a moniker like daagh!). Most people are, for instance, familiar with his very famous "koi naam-o-nishaan puuchhe to ai qaasid bataa dena, takhallus daagh hai aur aashiqon ke dil mein rahte hain"! I personally find the takhallus usage in the present ghazal even more enjoyable...

The ghazal I have chosen today is fairly well known, since corrupted versions of it have been sung by a number of modern singers. [In general, Daagh has been much favoured by singers - Farida Khanum, in particular, having sung a remarkable number of his ghazals.]

Shokhii ne terii kaam kiyaa ik nigaah mei.n
suufii hai butkade mei.n sanam khaanaqaah mei.n

शोखी ने तेरी काम किया इक निगाह में
सूफी है बुतकदे में सनम खानकाह में

شوخی نے تیری کام کیا اک نگاہ میں
صوفی ہے بتکدے میں صنم خانقاہ میں

Your mischievous ways did (their) work in a single glance

the sufi (finds himself) in an idol-temple, (while) the idol is (itself) in an abbey!

A fairly standard reproach against the coquetries of the Beloved, which make things go 'topsy turvy', and cause rules of 'propriety' to be violated. The fact that the words could be directed against the Celestial Beloved add an additionally piquant element to the 'mischief' that this but has wrought - tempting sufi saints to seek the comfort of idols in their temples, while the idols themselves are busy inveigling their way into the abodes of the sufis (a khaanaqaah is a a convent, a monastery, typically meant for sufi recluses)!

aankhe.n bichhaye.n to ham a'du kii bhii raah mei.n
par kyaa kare.n ke tuu hai hamaarii nigaah mei.n

आँखें बिछाएं तो हम अदू की भी राह में
पर क्या करें कि तू है हमारी निगाह में

آنکهین بچهاین تو حم عدو کی بهی راه میں
پر کیا کرین که تو ہے حماری نگاہ میں

I would await even the Rival with ardent eyes
but what can I do - for I have you in my gaze!

Actually, that very inadequate translation can do no justice to the sher! The enjoyment in the sher comes from the idiomatic usage of 'kisi ki raah mei.n aankhe.n bichhaanaa', which literally translates to "to lay down one's eyes on someone's path", and has the meaning of "to wait for someone ardently". In this case, the Poet ironically assures the Beloved that he bears no rancour against his Rival, in fact he even looks forward to the his arrival. But if he is constrained from actually 'laying down his eyes' on the Rival's path, it is because the Beloved happens to be in his view, i.e. 'in his eyes', and he can hardly take his eyes off her, let alone place them (hence, by implication, her!) on the road!

baRhtaa huu.n aage puuchh kar us se maqaam-e-i'shq
jo fitna mujh gariib ko miltaa hai raah mei.n

बढता हूँ आगे पूछ कर उस से मक़ाम-ए-इश्क
जो फितना मुझ गरीब को मिलता है राह में

بڑہتا حوں آگے پوچہ کر اس سے مقام عشق
جو فتنہ مجہ غریب کو ملتا ہے راہ میں

I proceed forward, asking for (directions to) the resting place of love
(from) whichever calamity is encountered on the road by poor (old) me!

maqaam or muqaam is Arabic for a halting-spot, a place to stay or camp, used in the general sense of a 'destination'. fitna which comes from the Farsi fatan ('to burn' or 'to try by fire') denotes any kind of mischief, calamity or torment, particularly one engendered by deliberately seditious motives. In this case, the 'bite' in the sher comes from the characterisation of the travel-worn aashiq desperately seeking directions to his goal from the very calamities that thwart his steps!

dil mei.n samaa gayii.n hai.n qayaamat kii shokhiiyaa.n
do chaar din rahaa thaa kisii kii nigaah mei.n

दिल में समा गयीं हैं क़यामत की शोखियाँ
दो चार दिन रहा था किसी कि निगाह में

دل مین سما گئ ہین قیامت کی شوخیاں
دو چار دن رہا تہا کسی کی نگاہ میں

the mischiefs of the day of reckoning have taken abode in (my) heart
(even though) it stayed for a (mere) day or two in someone's gaze!

This one is quite ho-hum, merely noting the potent effects (on the heart) of even a short time spent under the Beloved's bewitching gaze. The juxtaposition of do chaar din with qayaamat serving to highlight the lasting effects of such abbreviated exposure...

raate.n musiibato.n kii jo guzrii.n thii.n aaj tak
maatam ko aayii.n hai.n mere roz-e-siyaah mei.n

रातें मुसीबतों की जो गुजरीं थीं आज तक
मातम को आई हैं मेरे रोज़-ए-सियाह में

راتیں مصیبتوں کی جو گزریں تہیں آج تک
ماتم کو آئ ہےں مرے روز سیاہ مین

the difficult nights that had been passed until today
have (all) come to mourn me on my dark days

This one's much nicer! The idiomatic junction of nights (wearing black in mourning?) visiting the Poet on a 'dark day' is especially delicious...

is tauba par hai naaz tujhe zaahid is qadar
jo TuuT kar shariik ho mere gunaah mei.n

इस तौबा पर है नाज़ तुझे ज़ाहिद इस क़दर
जो टूट कर शरीक हो मेरे गुनाह में

اس توبہ پر ہے ناز تجہے زاہد اس قدر
جو ٹوٹ کر شریک ہو مرے گناہ مین

you have such pride in this (vow of) renunciation, o hermit
that it, in breaking, is complicit in my crime!

A tauba is a vow to 'sin no more', a formal abjuring or renunciation of proscribed indulgences. Pride in one's renunciation is, of course, an indulgence in itself, which negates, in some manner, the very act of renunciation!

aatii hai baat baat mujhe yaad baar baar
kahtaa huu.n dauR dauR ke qaasid se raah mei.n

आती है बात बात मुझे याद बार बार
कहता हूँ दौड़ दौड़ के क़ासिद से राह में

آتی ہے بات بات مجہے یاد بار بار
کحتا ہوں دوڑ دوڑ کے کاصد سے راہ مین

things (to be said) come to my mind again and again
I (go) running to tell the messenger, again and again, on the path!

Clumsy as that translation is, I hope it does manage to capture, at least in part, the impossibly delicious vignette evoked in this very enjoyable sher. The vision of the besotted Lover never quite being able to exhaust all that he wants to convey to the Beloved, desperately running out again and again to catch up with the messenger on the road, just so that he can add another complaint, another plea that he wants to add to his missive, is as endearing as it is amusing...

Moreover, at a purely aural level, the repetition of long vowels in 'baat baat', 'baar baar' and 'dauR dauR' in the sher lend it a very enjoyable ring.

taasiir bach ke sang-e-hawaadis se aaye kyaa
merii du'a bhii Thokre.n khaatii hai raah mei.n

तासीर बच के संग-ए-हवादिस से आये क्या
मेरी दुआ भी ठोकरें खाती है राह में

تاثیر بچ کے سنگ حوادث سے آے کیا
میری دعا بہی ٹہوکرےں خاتی ہے راہ مین

(how) can effectiveness save itself from the stones of calamities, and come?
(why) even my prayer is stumbling around (against the stones) on the path!

This one is rather nice, with some enjoyable word-play! Tasiir (which comes from the same root at asar) is Arabic for 'effect' or 'impression' or 'influence', and denotes the 'power' to affect something. The poet rues any prospect of such potency being able to 'come to him', avoiding, on the way, the slings and arrows of fate (sang, or stones, has a similarly stylised connotation. Hawaadis which shares roots with the more common word haadisaa means something like 'misfortune' or 'calamity').

To drive home this improbability, he points out that even his prayer is unable to achieve anything more than wandering about fruitlessly, stubbing its toes on the stones on the path (the path to the Beloved, presumably?). The idiomatic potency of a phrase like 'raah mei.n Thokare.n khaanaa' (and the implied existence of 'stones' on the path) is difficult to capture in any English equivalent, but it beautifully links up the difficulty of taasiir in avoiding the 'flung' stones of misfortune with the inability of the du'a in doing the same with the stones strewn on the path...

kaisaa nazaaraa kis kaa ishaaraa kahaa.n kii baat
sab kuchh hai aur kuchh nahii.n niichii nigaah mei.n

कैसा नज़ारा, किस का इशारा, कहाँ कि बात
सब कुछ है, और कुछ नहीं, नीची निगाह में 

کیسا نظارہ کس کا اشارہ کہاں کی بات
سب کچہ ہے اور کچہ نہیں نیچی نگاہ مین

What spectacle, whose gestures, talk about what?
there is everything, and nothing at all, in a lowered eye

This one is too beautiful to even try and analyse! A true masterpiece, despite the simplicity of its words (or maybe because of it)!

jo kiinaa aaj hai tere dil mei.n sitam sh'aar
jaaye gaa kal yahii to dil-e-daad-khwaah mei.n

जो कीना आज है तेरे दिल में सितम श'आर
जायेगा कल यही तो दिल-ए-दाद-ख्वाह में

جو کینہ آج ہے ترے دل مین ستم شعار
جاے گا کل یہی تو دل داد خواہ مین

the rancour that is in your heart today, you emblem of cruelty
this very (rancour) will, tomorrow, go in the heart of the petitioner

A little abstruse, this. Kiinaa is Farsi for hatred, animosity, malice, or a desire for revenge. A daad-khwaah (a word which combines daad - Farsi for 'justice' - with the root of the Farsi verb khwaastan, meaning the act of 'desiring' or 'wishing') is a petitioner for justice, a plaintiff. It is also used for a suitor. The sher seems to hold an implied threat that the rancour the Beloved holds in her heart may, one day, reflect itself as a desire for revenge in the hearts of her supplicants...

sh'aar is derived from the Arabic verb for 'knowing' and denotes a habit or a custom, as also a mark or sign. It is a word that is commonly used in conjunction with nouns to create adjectival expressions: eg. karam-sh'aar means someone known for habitual generosity.

mushtaaq is sadaa ke bahut dard-mand the
ai daagh tum to baiTh gaye ek aah mei.n

मुश्ताक़ इस सदा के बहुत दर्द-मंद थे
ऐ दाग़ तुम तो बैठ गए एक आह में

مشتاق اس صدا کے بہوت درد مند تہے
اے داغ تم تو بیٹہ گے ایک آہ مین

(those) ardent for this cry possessed a lot of pain
(but) O Daagh, you sat down (subsided) in a single groan!

A truly brilliant maqtaa which milks every bit of potential out of the takhallus! Recall that daagh, one of the most commonly evoked words in the ghazal universe, denotes the wound, the burning scar, or the taint, on the Lover's heart. Hence, for a daagh, 'baiTh jaanaa (or subsiding) in a single groan', would cast doubts on its 'authenticity' as a true lover's wound to begin with. Which is why that second line wears that deliciously sneering tone. But since daagh is also the poet's takhallus, and since the delivery of the maqta indicates that he is going to 'sit down' (physically and metaphorically) after having said his bit, one can well imagine what a tour-de-force mushairaa sher this would have been!

Mushtaaq shares word root with shauq and denotes the act of becoming ardent or eager about something. A sadaa is a sound, a voice, a call or a cry. mand is used in conjunction with nouns to denote possession - eg. aql-mand is someone imbued with intelligence.


Anonymous said...

Bravo! Was waiting to hear from you on a different poet, like Daag.
Difficult to translate, but as usual u did a commendable job!

Shweta said...

Sorry to steal Daag's thunder, but you are not going to let Faiz's centenary pass by unmarked, are you?!

deewaan said...

Thanks, Aneez! I admit that this site has been somewhat Ghalib/Faiz centric so far, and a dose of 'diversification' is probably called for.

However, as Shweta points out, given the import of the moment, the next offering has to be something by Faiz!