Return to The Land of Poems

Kashmir is famous for the lol of Zooni, its poetess-queen, and Arnimal.
Rasul Mir and Mahjoor represent the peak of the romantic era.

hatyuk rath bu kadha,
naman tas bu malha,
hekya baar temkui,
su naazuk athanh peth

This kashmiri couplet was narrated to me years ago by the late Mohiuddin Shah, one of the most outstanding bureaucrats that Kashmir has produced. There is a bit of history associated with it, which I may relate at a later date. Meanwhile, permit me to attempt a translation:

If I slit my throat
to paint my beloveds' nails
Would she bear the strain
on her delicate hands?

A similar sentiment is echoed in this translation of a Kashmiri poem by Marion Doughty, an English traveller to the valley.

O that my blood were water, thou athirst !
And thou and I in some far desert land,
How would I shed it gladly, if but first
It touched thy lips before it reached the sand.

Urdu poetry is a goldmine of romantic imagery. Ghalib is said to have offered his Diwan in exchange for this couplet by his rival Momin.

tum mere paas hote ho goya
jab koi doosra nahin hota.

Then there is Ibn-e-Insha and his Farhad-meets-Freud ballad, Farz Karo.

farz karo hum ahl-e-wafaa ho
farz karo deewane ho
farz karo yeh dono baatein
jhooti ho afsane hon
farz karo yeh ji ki bipta
ji se jor sunai ho
farz karo abhi aur ho itni
aadhi humne chhupai ho
farz karo tumhe khush karne ke
dhoonde humne bahaane ho
farz karo yeh nain tumhare
sach-much ke maikhaane ho
farz karo yeh rog hai jhoota,
jhooti preet hamari ho
farz karo is preet ke rog mein
saans bhi hum pe bhaari ho
farz karo yeh jog bijog ka
humne dhong rachaaya ho
farz karo bas yahi haqeeqat
baqi sab kuch maaya ho

How about the great revolutionary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz with Teri Samundar Ankhon Mein.

ye dhoop kinara, sham dhale
milte hain dono waqt jahan,
jo raat na din, jo aaj na kal,
pal bhar ko amar,
pal bhar mein dhuan,
is dhoop kinare, pal do pal,
honton ki lapak,
baahon ki chanak,
ye mel hamara jhoot na sach,
kyon raaz karo, kyun dosh dharo,
kis kaaran jhooti baat karo,
jab teri samundar aankhon mein,
is shaam ka sooraj doobega,
sukh soenge ghar dar wale,
aur raahi apni raah lega

Let me dedicate the last poem to my wife:

The Land of Poems*
For just one glimpse of you,
The rosebud of your street
Has bloomed anew !
No songbird there to greet
Your rose, which blooms alone,
But in that land
Of poems, where have grown
My roses, and I stand
Within the shrine
Of secret meanings, hail !
How every verse of mine
The nightingale
Will sing, and none destroy
The ecstasy we share,
His house of joy
On heights none others dare.

* Persian Diwan of Mahmud Gami
(Translation by Nilla Cram Cook)