Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Through Life I was Killed


I'm posting my translation of this Qawalli again from Aziz Mian which focuses one to consider what is life and what are the essentials. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed translating it. It captures the flavor of great Indian Subcontinent Muslim thinkers, Allama Iqbal and Mirza Ghalib, to give us a further insight on the heritage of South Asian Islam.

Pareeshaan, ho kay meri khak akhir dil na bun ja’ay
Jo mushkil ub hai ya Rabb, wohi mushkil na bun ja’ay
Urooj Adam-e khaki sey unjum seh’mey ja’tay hai
Kay yeh toota huwa tara, bahay kamil na bun ja’ay
Mera maqam ursh tha, lekin ub farsh hai
Kitni bulandi’o sey gi’raya gaya ho mein
Aasman sey utaara ga’ya, utaara ga’ya ray

Worry, fear, that my nothingness does not develop into a heart
Dear Lord, the problems surrounding me now,
I fear that they become my only problem
The beauty of Adam’s nothingness, the galaxy, earth, have been humbled
That this broken star, how on earth it can become whole?
The place was the heavens, but now it is the floor
From such an immense distance I was thrown down
I was grounded from the beloved’s sky


Mein to A’dum, ya ni agaya dam
Yeh dum atha raha
A’dum ata raha
Adam mein jub tak dum na tha
Yeh khak tha, Adam na tha
Adam mein akay dam huwa
Yeh khak sey Adam huwa
Yeh bay’t sara dam ka hai
Yeh dham usi hum dum ka hai
Aasman sey utaara ga’ya, utaara ga’ya ray

Adam, meaning soul was placed
The life kept coming
Adam lived on
Until Adam had no life, there was nothing
Only until Adam had that soul
That being came from nothing
Everything is to do with that life, soul
This promise, life, soul is only because of the Beloved (God)


Adam sey hu’i na farmani
Jannat sey utha dana pani
Daana ho kar nadaan bana ek daanay peh itni na dani
Kata shaytaan ki
Adam ko penka bagh-e-jannat sey
Aasmaan sey uthara gaya

Adam erred
Only then was his life removed from heaven
Lifeless he was, innocent he was, that he made a mistake
The error was surely of Satan
Which led to Adam being thrown from heaven
Thrown down from the Beloved’s sky


Aasmaan sey kyo athara gaya?
Jub Na tha kuch to khuda tha
Aur kuch na ho tha to? Khuda tha
Dub’oya mujh ko ho’nay ney
Ho ney nay duboya
Yaha na ho na, ho na hai
Na ho hona e’nay ho na
La’i hai aag a’i thaza ley chuli chalay
Apni khushi na a’i, na upni khushi chulay
Zindagi maut ka nishana hai
Sab ko ek din yaha sey jana hai
Agar behray ma’anish sey nay eh kutra joda ho ta
Na yeh dunya bani ho’ti
Na yeh alum bana ho tha
Woh bunda kis ko kehta, array aur woh kis ka Khuda ho tha?
Aasmaan sey uthara gaya

Why was Adam thrown down from the sky?
When there was nothing there was only God (Mirza Ghalib’s poetry, 19th century Mughal Poet)
And if there was nothing then there would only be God
I drowned only in my being
It was being that drowned me
Here, not to be, is to be
Life comes and goes at his own whim, at its own wish and desire
Life is a key symbol of death
Everyone one day has to leave this earth
If on that great day had being not been conjoined into human life by God
Would this world even exist?
Would the worlds have even existed?
That man, who would he have called God? And whose God would He have been? (i.e, human life is all about God, human beings are but to glorify God’s infinite beauty and greatness)
Thrown down from the Beloved’s sky


Dil ki nishad kya thi, nighahay Jamaal mein
Ek a’ina tur toot gaya dekh paal mein
Dunya hai khwab, haasilay dunya kayaal hai
Insaan khwab dekh raha hai kayaal mein
Aasmaan sey uthara gaya

What was the hearts desire in the beauty that the eyes see?
That same mirror trashes in its perfect upkeep
Life is but a dream, we try to gain, attain life but, the world is but a dream
Human beings are watching a dream


Zindagi kya, kisi muflis ki taba hai jis mein
Hur gari dard kay peh’mund laga kur tay hai
Zindagi kya, kisi humsa’ay sey manga huwa zewar to nahi
Ek darka sa laga rehta hai, koh janay ka
Zindagi deh kay mara gaya

Life, is something of the bankrupt
Every moment the chimes of pain are ticking
Life is not jewelery sought from a neighbor
A fear is always around of losing it
By giving life to me I was killed


Zindagi kya hai? (Allama Iqbal’s Poetry)
Upnay mun mein dhoob kur baja surakhay zindagi
Tu agar mera nahi bunta to na bun, upna to bun
Zindagi kya hai?
Azghat ka pemanay lutf-o Itifaaq
Ek hum aan ki…wasl-o firaaq
Sulh’o nama, sarh ho ka wifaaq
Zindagi bag’e’shri
Zindagi yousuf, zulaykha, lela
Eid, ki mein chaudvin ki raat ki dulhan
Sagar, roop, phool bun
Khudrat mein rukhwali hu’i
Thitli-o ki rasmasti cha’u mein pali hu’i
Buth’ta rashi, raqs, moosiki, kitaab, e-sha’iri, chandni,
Aasmani, zafrani, lajwanti,
Zindagi kya hai? Zindagi murtay hu’ay patho pey boondo ki dhanak
Subhay sarmati ki kiran
Shaam’e’bahar ki dhanak
Bhol thitli ki uraan
Awaz ki lapak
Sarungi ki lachuk
She’her-e tun mein pool walo ki gali hai zindagi
Dharkanay afaaq mein champa gali hai zindagi

What is life?
To be drowned in your self yet unaware of selfhood
Even if you cannot be mine, then be your own
What is life?
A messenger desiring reconciliation
To bring together that which is distanced
Assurances, peace statements,
Life is a parable, story
Life is Joseph and Zulaykha, their desire, their love (Potipher’s Wife)
Eid, the moon, that bridal glow
The shoreline, the waves, the flowers
Life is the way nature guards itself
Life is the bloom that emerges from the shade of the butterfly
Life is a dance, music, books, poetry, moonlight
Life is the sky, colors, a sensitive women
Life is the glow that still emerges from dying leaves
Life is the sharpness, beauty of the morning sunlight
Life is the greatness, spring of the evening
The flight of the butterfly
The mesmerising effect of the voice that surrounds us
The spring of the Sarangi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarangi)
In the city of the heart, the streets that sell flowers is indeed life


Aur maut?
Naam jis sey maut se uth tha hai seenay mein doh’wa
Farq-e hasti par tarap uth thi hai desh’at ki ghama
Dil pey rukh deyta hai kauf-e margh o’baray garam
Bholnay lugti hai seh’mi zindagi ki had’iya
Koi nurm awaaz, Koi daastaan, ati nahi
Aray maut yaad a’ja’ay to raato ko neend athi nahi
Zindagi deh kay mara gaya
Zindagi deh kay mara gaya
Zindagi deh kay mara gaya

And death? What is death?
The name with which smoke, fear, emerges from the inner self, chest
The anxiety that emerges in the happiness of life, with the reality of gloom
It places in the heart the fear of great heat
When you begin to forget your wilted life and the bones of life
At this point, even the softest of voices, any fable, tale or story, does not console
Oh the sleepless nights when one remembers death
By giving life to me I was killed
By giving life to me I was killed
By giving life to me I was killed


1 comment:

  1. aziz mian was a legendary qawal and we Pakistanis take pride in the fact that he belonged to this land.iam really surprised after reading out the translations.How come u know urdu so well?

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