Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Keeping with Urdu

My next was going to be an acerbic rant on the Ghazal in English. But that was before, in the very process of composing it, I succumbed too. The Ghazal is such a therapeutic form of verse that I realise that it must enormously tempt poets of temperament. The real poets of talent of course find no crutches in either language or form – but we don’t speak of those just here.

Since I am still embarrassed by my English attempt, I will give you instead a good old-fashioned recent one in Urdu. At least it will have the advantage of being quite incomprehensible to a majority of the people who will glance at it, while affording me the satisfaction of giving it a life beyond the bytes of a Word document.



Ye baad-e-tabaah sab raah barbaad kar jo chale

Shukr! Zahmat-e-intikhaab se aazaad kar jo chale


Abd-e-misr sa gumaan hota aaj kal humse

Dil-e-sang-e-giraan ko seene pe laad kar jo chale


Keysh se khuda tak ka faasla tai hoga kaise?

Pairon mein zanjeer-e-khudi saad kar jo chale


Gila tho nahi hai koi woh jo chale so chale

Zahan-o-dil ko roshan-o-aabbad kar jo chale


Koi gul na khila ab ke mausam-e-bahaar mein

Chale tho tamaam chaman nashaad kar jo chale


Ab kuch zabt ka tamasha bhi dekhajaye Zoya

Zor-e- vaheshat mein tarq-e-fasaad kar jo chale

7 comments:

Hyderabadiz said...

You have amazing blog, as well a creatish inspiration, and I am forced to quote Mirza Ghalib: 'Hain aur bhi duniya mein sukhanwar bahut ache"

Came here looking from Hyderabadi Essence at footloose.blogspot.com.

Sheetal said...

come on, seta, give english also. we've seen what people have made of it in other languages - you could hardly do worse.
I think I'll try it also.

Shweta said...

Hyderabadiz: Welcome and many thanks for the high praise. Too high perhaps, but it is always nice to be complimented in Ghalib. :)

Satl: You go first. I dare you.

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Arfi said...

I too have been wondering about borrowing the ghazal form into english.
And I've come to believe, that more than the constraints of qaafiya and raadif, it's the generative freedom ezafat affords Urdu, (hard to come by in english) that keeps the couplet so tightly coiled, that it comes out as a whiplash, and you can see the structure unfold.

Can't think of a similar syntactic device for english. Maybe that's what makes translations spool all over.

Here's a ghazal from one of Jeet Thayil's readings, maybe you know it. He's just playing here but at least it's not jarring either.

Listen! Someone’s saying a prayer in Malayalam.
He says there’s no word for ‘despair’ in Malayalam.

Sometimes at daybreak you sing a Gujarati garba.
At night you open your hair in Malayalam.

To understand symmetry, understand Kerala.
The longest palindrome is there, in Malayalam.

When you’ve been too long in the rooms of English,
Open your windows to the fresh air of Malayalam.

Visitors are welcome in The School of Lost Tongues.
Someone’s endowed a high chair in Malayalam.

I greet you my ancestors, O scholars and linguists.
My father who recites Baudelaire in Malayalam.

Jeet, such drama with the scraps you know.
Write a couplet, if you dare, in Malayalam.


And I like yours too.

Shweta said...

Arfi! sorry comments moderation was on and I only just saw you comment.
Yes, had come across the Jeet Thayil poem. Doesn't sweat the kaafiya does he? :)
I like the idea of the whiplash sher!

Dr. Ravinder S. Mann said...

Very nice posting.....with a great Ghaalib ghazal....go on..