Faiz vs Ghalib

Sorry for yet another blogging hiatus. I did write a few posts but did not publish them online. Somehow the relevance of one individual's thoughts seemed to be blown away by the turbulence of the past weeks. Insignificance in an Orwellian nightmare.

These days all thoughts and discussions inevitably veer around to the state of things in the valley. A comment on a previous post and a pointed reference to Faiz Ahmed Faiz for my benefit resulted in today's post. Scrolling down will present my attempts to translate the poems to the best of my ability.

A poetry-spouting friend addressed me thus:

Bol, ki lab azaad hain tere
bol, zubaan ab tak teri hai

For my readers benefit:

Bol
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Bol, ki lab azaad hain tere
bol, zubaan ab tak teri hai
tera sutwan jism hai tera
bol, ki jaan ab tak teri hai
dekh ki aahan-gar ki dukan mein
tund hain sholay, surkh hai aakhan
khulne lage quflon ke dahaane
phaila har ik zanjeer ka daaman
bol, ki thoda waqt bahut hai
jism-o-zuban ki maut se pehle
bol, ki sach zinda hai ab tak
bol, jo kuchh kehna hai kehde

From the depths of memory, Ibn e Insha seems to mock me further:

Khamosh Raho

by Ibn e Insha

kuchh kehne ka waqt nahi hai kuchh na kaho khamosh raho
ae logon khamosh raho, haan ae logon khamosh raho

sach achchha hai, par is ki jadon main, zehr ka ek pyala bhi hai
pagal ho, kyun nahaq ko "suqraat" bano, khamosh raho

haq acha par is ke liye koi aur marey to aur achchha hai
tum bhi kya "mansoor" ho jo sooli pai charho, khamosh raho

un ka yeh kehna sooraj hi dharti kai pherey karta hai
sar ankhoon par, sooraj hi ko ghoomne do, khamosh raho

garm ansoo aur thandi aahen, man main kya kya mausam hain
is bagiya ke bhed na kholo, sair karo, khamosh raho

ankhian moond kinare baithoon, man ke rakhoon band khewar
insha ji lo dhaga lo, aur lab si lo, khamosh raho

Fortunately Ghalib , with his genius for having penned a verse for every occasion, springs to my defence:

Bana kar fakiron ka hum bhes ghalib
Tamasha-e-ahle-karam dekhte hain

Faiz and my friend team up again for a parting shot.

Hum Dekhenge

by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

hum dekhenge
lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge
wo din ke jis ka wada hai
jo lauh-e-azl mein likha hai

jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-garan
rooi ki tarah ur jaenge
hum mehkoomon ke paaon tale
ye dharti dhar dhar dharkegi
aur ahl-e-hakam ke sar oopar
jab bijli kar kar karkegi

jab arz-e-Khuda ke kaabe se
sab but uthwae jaenge
hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-haram
masnad pe bethae jaenge
sab taaj uchale jaenge
sab takht girae jaenge

bas naam rahega Allah ka
jo ghayab bhi hai hazir bhi
jo manzar bhi hai nazir bhi
utthega an-al-haq ka nara
jo mai bhi hoon tum bhi ho
aur raaj karegi khalq-e-khuda
jo mai bhi hoon aur tum bhi ho

Disclaimer: In these translations I have tried to convey the meaning of the poetry inasmuch as I have been able to understand it – sans the usual translation ploys like clever turns of phrase, embellishments or forced rhyming.

Bol
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

speak , for your lips are free
speak , for your tongue is still your own
use your vigorous body
speak, for your life is still your own
behold the blacksmiths forge
embers rage, irons glow
locks snap, and every chain is stretched
speak, for an instant is time enough
before the death of speech and body
speak, for truth still breathes
speak up and say what you must

Khamosh Raho
by Ibn e Insha

It's not the time to speak up, hold your tongue
stay silent o people, yes, hold your tongue

truth is good, but its roots hide a bowl of poison
don't be crazy, are you socrates? hold your tongue

truth is fine, better still if someone else dies for it
don't climb the gallows, are you mansoor? hold your tongue

they say the sun revolves round the earth, so be it,
let the sun do what it pleases, hold your tongue

warm tears and cold sighs, what seasons the mind has
don't reveal the garden's secrets, just stroll, and hold your tongue

I sit on the shore, eyes shut, and mind shuttered
Insha, take this needle and thread, sew your lips, hold your tongue

Hum Dekhenge
by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

we shall see
we too shall see for certain
the promised day
on the tablet of destiny written

when mountains of tyranny
shall blow away like cotton
beneath our oppressed feet
the earth shall shake and rattle
and over the heads of rulers
lightning bolts shall crackle

when the abode of God
shall be cleansed of all false idols
we – the banished faithful
on seats of honour shall repose
all crowns tossed
all thrones toppled

only his name will survive
he who is unseen but omnipresent
the spectacle and the beholder
I am God – the cheer shall rise
who you are, and so am I
the people of God will rule
who you are, and so am I