Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fun of

…translating stuff!

Let’s start this post with a piercing Sher (usual disclaimers to be found in the ‘Shayari’ tab above and unusual gratitude to be expressed profusely to DQ):

बंदगी हमने छोड़ दी है 'फ़राज़'
क्या कहें लोग जब ख़ुदा हो जाएँ

Bandagi hamne chhod di hai ‘Faraz’
Kya kahein log jab khuda ho jaayeN

Have stopped worshipping, ‘Faraz’
Why not, when humans play Gods

-अहमद फ़राज़ (Ahmad Faraz)

Now let me (try to) translate one of DQ’s favourite Ghazals by Khumar Barabankvi:

इक पल में इक सदी का मज़ा हमसे पूछिये
दो दिन की ज़िंदगी का मज़ा हमसे पूछिये

Ik pal mein ik sadi ka maza hamse poochiye
Do din ki zindagi ka maza hamse poochiye

Ask me the fun of an eon in an instant
Ask me the fun of this ephemeral life

I’m trying to match the kaafiya as you might have noticed but instead of the end of the lines, the lines begin with it in the translated version!

भूले हैं रफ़्ता-रफ़्ता उन्हें मुद्दतों में हम
किश्तों में ख़ुदकुशी का मज़ा हमसे पूछिये

Bhule hain rafta-rafta unhen muddatton mein ham
Kishton mein khudkushi ka maza hamse poochiye

I have forgotten her gradually over ages
Ask me the fun of suicide in installments

This is the best Sher there can ever be according to DQ and I whole-heartedly agree with him. After listening to this Sher, you just want to close your eyes and enjoy the bliss that engulfs you in the knowledge that you’ll have endless fun having understood this gorgeous Sher.

आग़ाज़-ए-आशिक़ी का मज़ा आप जानिए
अंजाम-ए-आशिक़ी का मज़ा हमसे पूछिये

Aaghaaz-é-aashiqi ka maza aap jaaniye
Anjaam-é-aashiqi ka maza hamse poochiye

You may know the ecstasy of new love
Ask me the fun of conclusion of that love

Undoubtedly, another gem of a Sher.

जलते दीयों में जलते घरों जैसी लौ कहाँ
सरकार रोशनी का मज़ा हमसे पूछिये

Jalte deeyon mein jalte gharon jaisi lau kahan
Sarkar roshni ka maza hamse poochiye

Can a lighted lamp ever match a burning home
Ask me the fun of a light too bright, my dear sir

A great Sher once again…

वो जान ही गए कि हमें उनसे प्यार है
आँखों की मुखबिरी का मज़ा हमसे पूछिये

Wo jaan hi gaye ki hamein unse pyaar hai
Aankhon ki mukhbiri ka maza hamse poochiye

She did become aware of my love, after all
Ask me the fun of betrayal by one’s own eyes

Another brilliant Sher, they just keep on coming, don’t they?

हँसने का शौक़ हमको भी था आप की तरह
हँसिए मगर हँसी का मज़ा हमसे पूछिये

HaNsne ka shauk hamko bhi tha aap ki tarah
HaNsiye magar HaNsi ka maza hamse poochiye

I, too, was fond of laughter just as you are
Laugh, though Ask me the fun of laughter

A simple Sher to evoke laughter before the grand finale:

हम तौबा करके मर गए क़ब्ल-ए-अज़ल "ख़ुमार"
तौहीन-ए-मयकशी का मज़ा हमसे पूछिये

Ham tauba karke mar gaye kabl-é-azal “Khumaar”
Tauheen-é-mayakashi ka maza hamse poochiye

Abstaining was to die, “Khumar”, even before my death
Ask me the fun of dishonouring the fine art of drinking

-ख़ुमार बाराबंकवी (Khumar Barabankvi)

If you’re not familiar with the deep unbreakable connections between ‘wine’, life & shayari, then this may not seem like such a ‘grand’ finale, but believe DQ (and me) that it is! I’ll leave you with the poet himself reciting this

Full Ghazal


  1. assuming the attribution, " sher there can ever be....", to me is indeed correct it must have been quite presumptuous for me to say that.....The implicit assumption being I have sampled all shers out there! May be I would like to retract to say that this is probably the best among the few I know of Khumaar sahab.
    Excellent Translations :)!!!

  2. Fair enough!

    Excellent translations indeed, Thanks to you! :)

  3. yeah the last line was cheeky wasn't it ? :)