Thursday, October 19, 2006

A Communist Poet?

Thanks to my upbringing in an Urdu (and a literary one at that) culture, I got exposed to all the great poets of the language at an early stage. From the ghazals sung by the likes of Mehendi Hasan/Farida Khanam to my Ammi uttering 'Shers' on her own to some evening arguments happening between my parents and their friends over a certain 'Sher' from 'Ghalib' (and over unending rounds of 'orange pekoe'), I was always there as a curiois child understanding little, but trying very hard and most of all enjoying myself. The already poetic name of Faiz Ahmed Faiz mustve fallen on my little ears during one of those times.

I grew up thinking that Faiz only wrote about joys, longings and the million other shades of love which is great and beautiful in itself. But, later, when I started devouring his other works (of course with help from my parents, as I have a limited knowledge of Urdu), I discovered another shade of his poetry.The world in its ways of branding artforms called it political or communist or socialist poetry. I feel he was just being an 'Intelligent, Aware & Alert' human being who also happened to be a poet. So, if you combine these 4 aspects you get a man who'd be writing about the incorrect aspects of this world and how to try to set them right. And thats what he was doing...something which isn't particularly there in Urdu poetry.
With my limited knowledge of Urdu and English, I tried translating some of his works for my English friendly friends. Allow me to put up one of them (this one is on an aspect of 'Love' and has been beautifully rendered by Abida Parveen). Please keep in mind that a lot gets lost in translation.

Shaam-e-firaque ab na pooch
Aayee aura a ke tal gayee
Dil tha ke phir behel gayaa
Jaan thi ki phir sambhal gayi

Don’t ask me of my evening of waiting;
How it came and went away
I was powerless to do anything
But your love solaced my heart & soul

Bazme khayal mein tere husn ki
Shamma jal gayee
Dard ka chaand bujh gaya hijr ki
Raat dhal gayee

Your beauty lit up

The room of my thoughts,
The moon of pain burnt out
Ending the night of separation

Jab tujhe yaad kar liya
Subah mehek – mehek uthi
Jab tera gham jagaa liya
Raat machal machal gayee

Thoughts of you
Make my mornings beautiful,
This pain of separation
Make my nights restless

Dil se to har muaamla
Kar ke chale the saaf hum
Kehne mein unke saamne
Baat badal badal gayee

Thought I had all the issues
Resolved when I began
When it came to telling you
Things became different

Akhire shab ke humsafar
“Faiz” na jaane kya huye
Reh gayee kis jagah sabaa
Subah kidhar nikal gayee.

Oh my friend of eternity
Why are you away from me?
How come the morning breeze
Got parted from the morning itself.

I'd be glad if I managed to do an inch of justice to the words of the great poet.


svety said...

Trust me...u managed. I'm a great fan of urdu shaiyaari. unfortunately had noone to absorb from. so hindi fillum zindabaad. and of course, gulam ali, mehdi hassan, nusrat bhai, abida begum sab ne thodi bahut madad ki. recommend ....

meraj said...

thanks that you have appreciated my work, i shall put some more of them in my coming postings.

- ahmde faraz, a contemporary poet from pakistan
- majaz
- josh malihabadi

basically, if you have the two volumes of kahkashan by jagjit singh (was a great tv seriel on modern poets from the indian poets, made by ali sardar jaffery)you will be introduced many other greats...


svety said...

Hamne maanaa ke takkalluf na karoge lekin....
Khaak ho jaayenge ham tum ko Khabar hone tak.....

- Mirza Ghalib

this ones for starters

meraj said...

its 'taghaaful' which means 'deny' or turning yurning one down'. so, now you can see the beauty in the changed meaning of the sher...


Anonymous said...

hey meraj...nice stuff
i love this translated line more - "your beauty lights up the room of my thoughts"...wah, kya khayaal hai...i volunteer to help you in the translations( if you don't mind)...guided by your knowledge and the lyricism and the sound of the words!

svety said...

i see what u mean
and manish aap toh apna karobaar band karke gayab ho gaye the