Retrograde. Bamboozlement! More Bamboozlement!

Dil he to hai Ghalib

Sketch of Ghalib

Dil he to hai na sango-khisht, Dard se bhar na aaye kyon
Royenge hum hazaar baar, koi hamein sataye kyon

(It is heart after all, not brick and stone, why won’t it well up with pain
Why should anybody harass us, we shall a thousand times cry )

Dair nahi, harum nahin, dar nahin, aastaan nahin
Baithey hain rahguzar pe hum, koi hamain uthaye kyon

(No home, no hearth for us, no temple, no mosque
Why should anyone remove us from one throughfare, can we ask)

Jab who jamale-dil-faroz saratey-mehare-neemroz
Aap he ho nazara soaz, pardey men muhb chhipaye kyo

(Her beauty illumines all, a full waxing moon in grace
loveliness incarnate indeed, why should she hide her face)

Quaide-hayat-obande-ghum, asal mein dono ek hain
Maut se pahale aadmi ghum sey nijaat paye kyon

(Life’s incarceration and bondage to suffering are the same thing indeed
Until our death how can we from suffering be relieved)

Haan who nahin Khuda parast, jao who bewafa sahi
Jisko ho dino-dil aziz, uski gali mein jaye kyon

(All right she is not kind hearted, nor faithful she, so
Why should anybody who loves, his faith and life, go to her street)

- English translation of Ghalib's Ghazal is from Kuldip Salil’s Diwan-e-Ghalib (A Selection)


Found it a few weekends back in the HT column by 'Man in the Bulb' Khushwant Singh.
He is lavish in his praise for the author and the book. He writes:

There are few simple facts about the art of translating prose and poetry from one language to another. Translating prose is comparatively easier; so we have fiction, essays and articles, which read as well in translation as in the originals. Poetry is much more complicated. It must be translated into poetry and not fobbed off in prose—it loses the music of meter and rhyme.

Equally important is that it must only be taken in hand if the translator is confident of doing a better job than has been done before without taking too many liberties with the original. Keeping these points in mind I dipped into Kuldip Salil’s Diwan-e-Ghalib (A Selection) Ghazals with original text and their English Translation(Rajpal).

He has reproduced the original in Devnagri and roman Englisg on one side of the page, his translation in English on the page facing it. I can say without hesitation, his renderings read better than any I have read by scholars of urdu, be they Indian, Pakistani or Firangi. Salil, born in Sialkot in 1938, was teaching English at hans Raj College, Delhi till he retired a few years ago.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    I normally do not leave comments, but I thought I would let you know that your blog really made my afternoon. Half a verse was stuck in my head all morning and then I suddenly found your page!
    To top it off, was the English translation which really helps!! Keep up the good work and my regards and praises for all the great work!


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