Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Aitraaf: Confession

Aitraaf: Confession
[By Majaaz]

Ab mere paas tum aayee ho to kya aayi ho
Maine maana ke tum ek paikar-e-raanaai ho
Chaman-e-dahr mein rooh-e-chaman-aaraai ho
Talat-e-mahr ho, firdaus ki barnaayi ho
Bint-e-mahtaab ho, gardoon se utar aayi ho

Mujhse milne mein ab andesha-e-ruswaai hai
Maine khud apne kiye ki ye sazaa paayi hai

Un dinon mujh pe qayamat ka junoon taari tha
Sar pe sarshaari-o-ishrat ka junoon taari tha
Maahpaaron se mohabbat ka junoon taari tha
Shahryaaron se raqaabat ka junoon taari tha

Bistar-e-makhmal-o-sanjaab thi duniya meri
Ek rangeen-o-haseen khwaab thi duniya meri

Kya sunogi meri majrooh jawaani ki pukaar
Meri faryaad-e-jigar-doz, mera naala-e-zaar
Shiddat-e-karb mein doobi hui meri guftaar
Main ke khud apne mazaaq-e-tarab-aageen ka shikaar

Wo gudaaz-e-dil-e-marhoom kahaan se laaun
Ab main wo jazba-e-maasoom kahaan se laaun

Asraar-ul-haq Majaaz (1911-1955) was born in Rudauli, Barabanki, near Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh. His poetic talent was noticeable even during his school days in Lucknow, where he befriended and was counseled by Jazbi. His college years were spent in Agra and Aligarh. Majaaz's later life is a subject of intrigue...depression and alcoholism played a major role in his premature death. He excelled in beautiful yet poignant expression, often centered around themes of unrequited love.

The above nazm is one of his most well known works...although the entire nazm is longer, I will attempt to translate the above parts. Jagjit has done some justice to it.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I live...

I live at many levels
Flying high above Shanghai clouds
Firaq's earthen vernacular
Faiz's hope
Jazbi's despondency
All are me.

[By Siyaah/Black. Somewhere in Shanghai airspace, circa mid-2000's]

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Existential Dilemma: a translation

Existential Dilemma
[By Moin Ahsan Jazbi. Interpretive translation from the Urdu by Siyaah]

Why pray for death, why hope for life?
This world or the other- why desire either?

The fire that you lit- was doused by tears,
That which the tears have sparked, what will put out?

When the ship was safe and sound- who desired the shore,
Now, on this wreck- why desire it at all?

The world abandoned you Jazbi, why not abandon the world?
You've understood the world- why cry for it anymore?

The poet's nom-de-plume, Jazbi, means "one who absorbs / attracts".

The verses of this ghazal are ripe with idiomatic expressions. I have attempted to 'save the soul' and also kept it as literally close to the original as possible.

Update: As promised, here's a high quality recording of this ghazal rendered by Habib Wali. I noticed that this one is more classical, while the earlier one has more 'movie-song' type music:

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Duniya: Existential Dilemma

[By Moin Ahsan Jazbi]

Marne ki duaein kyun maangoon, jeene ki tamanna kaun kare,
Ye duniya ho ya wo duniya, ab khwahish-e-duniya kaun kare.

Jo aag lagayi thi tum ne, usko to bujhaaya ashkon ne,
Jo ashkon ne bhaRhkai hai, us aag ko thanda kaun kare.

Jab kashti saabit-o-saalim thi, saahil ki tamanna kisko thi,
Ab aisi shikasta kashti par, saahil ki tamanna kaun kare.

Duniya ne humein chhoRha Jazbi, hum chhoRh na dein kyun duniya ko,
Duniya ko samajh kar baithe hain, ab duniya duniya kaun kare.

Jazbi (1912-2005) was born in Azamgarh and had a long association with Aligarh, where he received his Ph.D. in Urdu and continued as an academic. He is counted among the most prominent 20th century Urdu poets. His most famous poetry is excessively morose and even deals directly with existential issues. The ghazal above, which I have titled "Duniya", is one of his most well known works, and is typical of his style - highly lyrical yet easily interwoven with the most difficult themes.

Listen here to a quaint rendition of the above ghazal by the lesser known but highly regarded, Habib Wali (the sound quality isn't all that great. I might upload from my collection later).