woh log bahut khush kismat thay
jo ishq ko kaam samajhte thay
ya kaam se aashiqui karte thay
ham jite’ji mashroof rahe
kuchh ishq kiya, kuchh kaam kiya
kaam ishq ke aa’re aata raha
aur ishq se kaam ulajhta raha
phir aakhir tang aakar ham ne
dono ko adhoora chhor diyaFortunate indeed were those
who took love as their business
or were in love with whatever they did.
I remained busy my whole life–
some love, some work.
Work came in the way of love
and love often impeded work.
Then, finally, in disgust, giving it all up,
I forsook them both, half done.
I like Shiv K Kumar’s translations of Faiz’s work. He’s pretty good. One of the reviews (from The Siasat) says: “What Edward Fitzgerald is to Omar Khayyam, Shiv K Kumar is to Faiz Ahmed Faiz…”.
But, more than the transaltions, of course, I love Faiz’s work. His poems are so articulate and, at the same time, so poetic and beautiful.
This one, for example, is just so amazing in the way he’s made such a commonplace subject sound so militant and poetic, and beautiful…
KutteYe galiyon ke awaara bekaar kutte
ke bakhsha gaya jin ko zauq-e’-gadaai
zamaane ki phitkar sarma’yah unka
jahaan bhar ki dhutkaar unki kamaai
na aaraam shab ko na raahat savere
ghilazat mein ghar, naaliyon mein basere
jo bighrein to ek doosre se lara do
zara ek roti ka tukra dikha do
ye har ek ki thokarein khaane wale
ye faaqon se ukta marjaane wale
ye mazloom makhlooq gar sar uthaae
to insaan sab sarkashi bhool jaaye
ye chaahein to duniya ko apna bana lein
ye aaqa’on ki haddiyan tak chaba lein
ko inko ehsas-e’-zillat dila de
koi inki soi hui dum hila de
The translation- for the many who don’t understand urdu…
Tramping about the streets aimlessly, these dogs,
born to the prerogative of beggary–
their only treasure is the world’s scorn
their only wages, the world’s reproof.
Not a moment’s respite, day or night–
dirt their abode, drains their rest-houses.
If roused, they may be set one against the other,
just dangle before them a morsel of bread–
they who suffer everybody’s kicks,
who’d tire and die of starvation.
If these destitutes were ever stirred up,
man would forget his imperiousness.
If only they willed, they’d reign supreme
for they could chew up even the bones of their masters.
if only someone would awaken them to their ignominy,
shake their sagging tails
Isn’t it strange how some people can write like this?! I think it is.