Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Faiz: Dasht-e-Tanhai Mein

Faiz Ahmad Faiz (Urdu: فیض احمد فیض ‎, 1911-1984) was one of the most famous 20th-century poets of Urdu. Nominated several times for the Nobel, he received both the Lenin Prize from the Soviet establishment and an MBE from the British one. Repeatedly accused of atheism in his native Pakistan (he was exiled by General Zia), Faiz's poetry suggests a more nuanced relationship with Sufi Islam.

A nazm by Faiz (a popular one) below, performed by the redoubtable Iqbal Bano. Nazms have looser rhyme than ghazals, typically a/b/c/b, and a structure that explores just one theme.

दश्त-ए-तन्हाई में, ऐ जान-ए-जहां, लरजाँ हैं
तेरी आवाज़ के साए, तेरे होंठों के सराब
दश्त-ए-तन्हाई में, दूरी के ख़स-ओ-ख़ाक तले
खिल रहे हैं तेरे पहलू के समन और गुलाब

In the desert of solitude, love of my life, shimmering
Are the shadows of your voice, the mirage of your lips
In the desert of solitude, distant, past the burnt stems
Bloom on the jasmine and the rose of your aspect.

उठ रही है कहीं कुर्बत से तेरी सांस की आँच
अपनी खुश्बू में सुलगती हुई मद्धम मद्धम
दूर उफक पर चमकती हुई क़तरा क़तरा
गिर रही है तेरी दिलदार नज़र की शबनम

From desolation somewhere rises your breath's warmth
Smoldering in its own fragrance, softly softly
Far, from that brilliant sky, shining, one by one
Fall the dewdrops of your tender loving gaze.

इस क़दर प्यार से ऐ जान-ए-जहां रक्खा है
दिल के रुखसार पे इस वक़्त तेरी याद ने हाथ
यूँ गुमाँ होता है गरचे है अभी सुबह-ए-फ़िराक
ढल गया हिज्र का दिन, आ भी गयी वस्ल की रात |

Why does it feel now, love, that you traced
The contour of my heart with the finger of your memory
That the stretch of the morn of separation now passes
The day of parting wanes, comes the night of union.

A song of union with not only love, but also with the truth that lies beyond this tired life, the eternal night of union.

यूँ गुमाँ होता है गरचे है अभी सुबह-ए-फ़िराक
ढल गया हिज्र का दिन, आ भी गयी वस्ल की रात |

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