Sunday, 11 October 2015

Faiz Translated, Part 2..

To the handful of you who have been following these chronicles (and may the Power be with you for doing so), the fact that translating Urdu poetry into English has been an enduring passion with me is a known fact. 

Urdu poetry, of course, defies translation, and no attempt comes anywhere near the original in its form, rhyme and metre. Yet, the passion endures..

Among the greats, Iqbal is arguably the most obtuse, and I gave up my attempts at translating `Shikwa' long back. Faiz is sheer poetry, and one can lose oneself in his sublime imagery. I had posted my attempt at his `Soch' as `Reflections' some years ago. One could look it up at

Here is my attempt - I use the word `attempt' advisedly, for that is precisely what it is - a feeble attempt) - at translating his `Tanhaii'. It was done in a dash, when I was feeling particularly lonely (Ah, the travails of creeping age..)

- Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Phir koi aayaa, dil-e-zaar! Nahin, koi nahin;
Raah-rau hoga, kahin aur chala jayega.
Dhal chuki raat, bikharne laga taaron ka ghubaar,
Larkharaane lage aiwaanon mein khwaabiida charaagh,
So gayi raasta tak tak ke har ek rah guzar;
Ajnabi khaak ne dhundlaa diye qadmon ke suraagh.
Gul karo shamiin, barhaa do mai-o-miinaa-o-ayaagh,
Apne be-khwaab kivaaron ko muqaffal kar lo;
Ab yahan koi nahin, koi nahin aayega!

- Translated by Harish Puri

Hark, is that a footfall I hear?
Or is it just my sobbing heart?
A vagrant, he’ll soon be on his way
This slender hope too shall depart..
As night falls, and stars, like clouds
Scatter across the crimson sky
And worn out lamps, like broken dreams
Shall flicker dimly, before they die
Soon sleep shall overcome these lanes
Weary with wait, with misery
As dust that mercilessly blows
And obliterates each memory
Blow out the lamps, empty the wine
Bolt all doors, forego all dreams
Now solitude and loneliness are mine
For none, just none shall come this way..

1 comment:

  1. Excellent translation, Harish. Can you read and write Urdu, or do you translate from Hindi?