Sunday, 6 May 2012

Faiz Translated...

Translating Urdu poetry into English, much to the chagrin of my late father, has been a passion and a hobby with me for longer than I care to remember. Here's my attempt at translating `Soch' by the great Faiz Ahmed Faiz...

SOCH                                                     REFLECTIONS 

(Faiz Ahmed Faiz)                                                  (Translated by Harish Puri)

Kyon dil mera shaad nahin hai                                   Pray sir, why this melancholy?
Kyon khamosh raha karta hun                                    And why this silence of the tomb?
Chhodo meri Ram kahani                                          Let’s leave my sorry tale alone
Main jaisa bhi hun, acchha hun                                  I’ll be ok, no matter what..

Mera dil ghamgin hai to kya hai                                What though my heart be full of woe
Ghamgin yeh duniya hai sari                                     The world’s a sorry place to be
Yeh dukh tera hai na mera                                       This sorrow isn’t mine or yours
Yeh hum sab ki jaagir hai pyari                                 It is our common legacy, my love

Tu agar meri ho bhi jaye                                          Even if you were mine alone
Duniya ke gham yun hi rahenge                                These sorrows would still be in place
Paap ke phande, zulm ke bandhan                            These sins, these bonds of oppression
Apne kahe se kat na sakenge                                    Won’t disappear on our say so

Gham har halat mein mohlak hai                               Grief’s lethal in every form
Apna ho ya aur kisi ka                                              Yours, theirs or our own
Rona dhona, ji ko jalaana                                         This wall of tears, this numbing pain
Yun bhi hamara, yun bhi hamara..                             Is our own, our very own

 Kyon na jahan ka gham apna lein                              Why not embrace each other’s sorrow
Baad mein sab tadbeerein sochein                              And think of consequences later      
Baad mein sukh ke sapne dekhein                               Dream happy dreams some other day
Sapnon ki tadbeerein sochein..                                   And hope that one day they bear fruit

Befkire dhan daulat wale                                            These lesser mortals, carefree and rich
Yeh aakhir kyon khush rehte hain?                               Where do they toss their every pain
In ka sukh aapas mein baantein                                   Let’s grab their smiles, their happiness
Yeh bhi aakhir hum jaise hain..                                    Can we not be like them as well?

Hum ne mana jang kari                                               The battle’s fierce, we shall admit
Sar phatenge, khoon bahega                                       Heads will be bloodied, and unbowed
Khoon mein gham bhi beh jayenge                               Our sorrows will flow, in this blood bath
Hum na rahenge, gham na rahega..                             And all will pass on – we and our pain..


  1. Great Harish.

    Is there a compilation of such translations already? even if there is / there isn't, could you consider publishing one. Will there be copyright issues? If you do it, it will be a great service to humanity!


  2. Thanks, Kelly - it is more of a pass-time than anything serious, really. There are plenty of translations available on the shelves, but most of them translate quite literally, ie into not-so-great prose - the challenge is to translate poetry into poetry, keeping some sense of rhyme, rhythm and metre into the translation..

    Since I also write my own (English) poetry, this is the fascinating challenge...

  3. Great Harish,
    Let us read some English poetry also ! The Urdu bit is really something I enjoy most but on this blog the English reader probably outnumbers. The translation of poetry bis very challenging indeed and you have risen to it comfortably.
    Let's