Thursday, July 31, 2008

My Take on Poems (mostly Shayari)...

Trying to have 2 blog posts per month is not a bad idea, but believing that I can keep up to the task IS! However, I'll keep it that way at least for this month. And that is by 'showing off' my small collection of Hindi Poems (mostly shayari if you can recognize one when you read/hear one) which I 'painstakingly' translated to English. Now most of you will probably wander off to other sites (which is a completely logical choice) but those who still want to continue (which shows complete dedication to ... you know what!) should not expect too much. Also if you can offer better translations, you are welcome to comment. The format of presentation is: some sort of Introduction, poem in Devanagari script (कविता या शेर), poem in Roman script (Kavita ya Sher), its English translation (Poem or Couplet) and Comments (if any).

Lets start with the first one which is somehow related to Physics, specifically Astrophysics:

अक्सर आकाश गंगा के
सुनसान किरणों पर खड़े होकर
जब मैंने अथाह शुन्य में
अनन्त प्रदीप्त सूर्यों को
कोहरे की गुफाओं में
पंख टूटे जुगनुओं की तरह
रेंगते देखा है
तो मैं भयभीत होकर
लौट आई हूँ|
-धर्मवीर भारती

Aksar aakash ganga ke
sunsaan kirnon par khade hokar
jab maine athah shunya mein
anant pradipt suryon ko
kohre ki gufaon mein
pankh tute jugnuon ki tarah
rengte dekha hai
to main bhaybheet hokar
laut aaee hun.
-Dharmvir Bharati

Often standing on the lonely (light) rays of Milky Way,
when I saw innumerous luminous stars embedded in the limitless void like wingless fireflies crawling inside foggy caves,
I have returned aghast with fear.
-Dharmvir Bharati

Now I'll ask you to stop grinning and try to interpret these lines before you proceed further: try to place yourself in the poet's shoes and ask yourself why did these lines emerge? After you have thought about this for a while, read the following paragraph and be transformed into a worldly-wise being:

We think of God as someone who has all the power to make everything OK; the one who is truly capable. It is this perfection and capability that people strive for, looking forward to match God. If one finds out that even God has a weak side, then it is a sight to be afraid of!

This is the interpretation of above poem by Shantanu* who is an extremely inquisitive physicist (unlike me!) and has recently realized that he has a knack for scaring unsuspecting undergrads into stupor. [Those who don't know him, tough luck! You have my sympathies...] Also, I've taken liberty to change some punctuation marks and words to suit my post's flow but nothing (I guess) to change the overall meaning.


Now we move on to the real shers (couplets). The following sher is one of my motto and many 'physicists' around the world also follow it or its variants! One such physicist's sher also features in this post a bit later (the last one!). Here goes a great sher from a great Shayar:

कभी कभी यूँ भी हमने अपने जी को बहलाया है,
जिन बातों को खुद नहीं समझे, औरों को समझाया है|
-निदा फाज़ली

Kabhi kabhi yun bhi humne apne jee ko behlaya hai,
Jin baaton ko khud nahin samjhe, auron ko samjhaya hai.
-Nida Fazli

To keep myself entertained, such measures are often taken by me,
Like explaining to thee, things those were unclear even to me.
-Nida Fazli

You should stop guffawing and think about its implications seriously for a while (~2.2 ms) and guffaw again. After that, internalize this sher and hopefully you would have reached a level beyond worldly-wise.


We leave academic stuff now and move into more general aspects of life with this sher:

तन्हाई से नहीं, हम महफ़िल से डरते हैं,
दुनिया से नहीं, हम खुदा से डरते हैं|
यूँ तो बहुत कुछ खोया है हमने,
पर न जाने क्यूँ आप को खोने से डरते हैं||
-पं. रंजन महाराज

Tanhai se nahin, hum mehfil se darte hain,
Duniya se nahin, hum khuda se darte hain.
Yun to bahut kuch khoya hai humne,
Par na jaane kyun aap ko khone se darte hain.
-Pt. Ranjan Maharaj

It’s not Loneliness, Crowd makes me panic,
It’s not the World, God makes me panic.
Though I have lost quite a lot,
Thought of losing you makes me panic.
-Pt. Ranjan Maharaj

I put this sher here because of the last two lines which depict a theme which everyone familiar with Rurouni Kenshin is 'painfully' aware of. If you are not 'painfully' aware of it, then you've not 'really' read RK manga, have you? Oh wait... I again drifted towards RK which is not related to the topic of this blog. So coming back, I'd like to make you aware that the second line does not apply to me, its converse does!


Now I put up two lines from a song of a Hindi movie titled 'रोग' (Rog) which literally means 'Disease':

शहर भर की खुशी से, ये दर्द मेरा भला है|
जश्न ये रास ना आये, मज़ा तो बस गम में आया है||
रोग (मैंने दिल से कहा...)

Shahar bhar ki khushi se, yeh dard mera bhala hai.
Jashna yeh raas na aaye, mazaa to bas gum mein aaya hai.
-Rog (Maine dil se kaha...)

Than the pleasures of city, my pains are safer!
Not used to partying, sorrows are full of pleasure!
-Rog (I told my Heart...)

Normally, I would not put up anything got to do with talking hearts here but this is different as it refreshes and 'corrects' sentiments of first two lines of previous sher (as I would prefer) and that too with artistic elegance. I mean consider the phrase 'sorrows are full of pleasure' (actually its Hindi equivalent) and you would realize that even masochists/sadists would not be able to come up with anything more simple yet beautiful.


The following sher is about human's character by Munawwar Rana, a great Shayar, who does not talk while reciting shers because his shers do all the talking! [It sounds so cool in Hindi: मैं शेर सुनाने के बीच में बिलकुल नहीं बोलता, क्योंकी मेरे शेर खुद बोलते हैं| (Main sher sunane ke beech mein bilkul nahin bolta, kyonki mere sher khud bolte hain.)] So lets read the sher and let it talk:

मैंने फल देखके इंसानों को पहचाना है
जो बहुत मीठे हो, अंदर से सडे रहते हैं|
-मुनव्वर राणा

Maine fal dekhke insaanon ko pehchaana hai
Jo bahut meethe ho, andar se sade rahte hain.
-Munawwar Rana

I discern humans by comparing them to fruits.
Those too sweet are the ones rotten to the core.
-Munawwar Rana

I don't have anything to say about the sher itself but most of you would have realized that the translation is not at par with the original and would appreciate if someone can remedy that!


This one deals with hardships in life and also gives a clue to overcoming them:

बादलों के दरमियाँ कुछ ऐसी साजिश हुई,
मेरा घर मिट्टी का था मेरे ही घर बारिश हुई|
उसकी भी ज़िद है बिजलियाँ गिराने की,
और हमारी भी ज़िद है वहीं आशियाना बनाने की||

Badalon ke darmiyan kuch aisi sazish hui,
Mera ghar mitti ka tha, mere hi ghar barish hui.
Uski bhi Zid hai bijliyan girane ki,
Aur hamari bhi Zid hai wahin ashiyana banane ki.

The clouds have conspired,
To rain on my humble abode.
They insist on lightning,
And I insist on rebuilding.
-Lifted from Sadique's Notebook (i.e. Poet unknown to me)

Once again, the translation is not at par with the original. Forget about being 'at par', it does not even capture the essence of the original sher. So this one needs more attention than the rest. I've been wondering for months now: Is there a word for 'Mitti ka Ghar' in English? Please someone answer. Maybe people from GTW could help... hey wait! I was among the Top 10 there... but not in Top 5... so lets contact them but again I only know their nicknames! So back to square one: Someone out there Please HELP...

Guess My Rank...


The remaining shers deal with the most interesting subject in life: Death. Lets read them one after another without any interruptions/comments from me:

जीना पड़ा है मुझको, इस हाल में भी हुल्लड़,
हर दिन है युद्ध का दिन, हर रात कर बला है|
और मय्यत में मेरी आकर, कुछ लोग ये कहेंगे,
सचमुच मरा है हुल्लड़, या ये भी चुटकुला है||
-हुल्लड़ मुरादाबादी

Jeena pada hai mujhko, iss haal mein bhi Hullad,
Har din hai yuddha ka din, har raat kar balaa hai.
Aur mayyat mein meri aakar, kuch log ye kahenge,
sachmuch maraa hai Hullad, ya ye bhi chutkula hai.
-Hullad Muradabadi

I, Hullad, had to live even in such conditions,
Each day is a warring day, each night havoc.
And attending my funeral, some people will ask,
Are you really dead Hullad, or even this is a joke?
-Hullad Muradabadi


हर शाम हम देखे रहते हैं, और शाम गुज़र जाती है|
एक दिन ये शाम देखेगी हमें, और हम गुज़र जायेंगे||

Har shaam hum dekhe rehte hain, aur shaam guzar jaati hai.
Ek din ye shaam dekhegi hamein, aur hum guzar jaayenge.

I watch each and every eve, and they pass away.
Someday the eve will watch me, and I'll pass away. 
-Also lifted from Sadique's Notebook


अच्छा हुआ जो चल बसा काफिर
हम सब पर से तो खतरा टला है!
खुदी का इन्साफ है ये, या के फिर कहर है
मरा हुआ सा ही दिखता भला है!
-सांत्रा झारखंडी

Achha hua jo chal basa Kafir,
Hum sab par se to khatra tala hai!
Khudi ka insaf hai ye, ya ke phir kahar hai,
Mara hua sa hi dikhta bhala hai!
-Santra Jharkhandi

It’s good that the atheist is dead,
We are now no more in danger!
Is it providence, or sheer wrath,
That he is indeed preferred dead!
-Santra Jharkhandi


So there you have it: a collection of 9 shers (if you did/could not count) to rely upon during times of dire crisis i.e. death. As I mentioned earlier, Santra^ is indeed that physicist who follows Nida Fazli's sher to every invisible dot and takes the art of obfuscation to entirely new heights where mortals like me cannot reach even in dreams. Such statements like '...Taylor expansion in Hilbert space of Fock states...' are only but small drops in an ocean of his immutable wisdom.

Since I've talked a bit about Shantanu & Santra, not talking about Sadique' ( ' is a footnote marker!) would be an act of sacrilege. He is a man of too many faces, rather I should say his personality has too many facets. Even diamonds have been known to have stopped reflecting totally internally in His presence (I know this because I wear a (fake) diamond ring!). But right now, he is trying to choose one of the faces over others and hopefully (everyone Pray) he will succeed. In the end, I leave you with

Sadique's Notebook. [Read it before he makes it private!]

*Shantanu is currently at University of Rochester teaching PHY123, doing unmentionable acts  to undergrads and research simultaneously.

^Santra is currently at University of Southern California developing various tools to fool the world into believing that he is working towards Ph.D.

'Sadique is currently at IBM, Kolkata but trying hard to ruin IBM and re-enter the anticipating world of Physics.

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