Thursday, November 04, 2010

gulon mein rang bhare

You have to know about the life of Faiz (or maybe any poet, I don’t know) before you can try to translate his work. On the face, Faiz’s poems seem to portray love and longing for the beloved but they do not. They talk about social and political issues. They talk about revolution! My first translation of ‘gulon mein rang bhare’ made it a love poem but my father-in-law corrected me. (I will show you later one stanza of this poem that was written as a love poem)

This poem - 'gulon mein rang bhare' - is one of the most famous poems of Faiz. I think that I should have kept this translation for later, but I couldn’t stop myself. I was introduced to this poem through Mehdi Hassan’s ghazal and we must have heard it over hundred times. Here I have included two stanzas that are not sung by Mehdi Hassan.

There is a fascinating personal story also attached with this ghazal. When my in-laws were in Moscow and they hosted a party on the first birthday of their daughter (my wife) and Faiz also came! (He was a friend of a friend) And mother-in-law sang this ghazal for him. Meeting Faiz, remembering the ghazal in full, and having a singing voice, that is a chance in a million!

So, I had to translate this poem now. But again, I think if I had translated it after doing a few more of Faiz, I would have understood him better and put more into this beautiful poem. A lot of its beauty is lost in translation but for now, I cannot do anything more. So, this is it.

How I wish flowers take new colours!

And the breeze brings fresh winds of change.

I plead you, come to me now, my love,

Maybe, if you come, my garden may bloom again.

My caged body is cheerless today,

Someone please fill hope in the morning breeze.

For god's sake! don't let it not go empty,

Let it carry with it the story of our friends.

When will we wake into the morning,

To the sweet sound from your lips,

And when in the evening will we rest,

Taking in the scent of your hair.

Strong is the bond of pain,

though we are weak and poor,

When we hear your call,

We, all your friends, will come together.

We went through hell, but all right.

Once this evening of separation is over,

Our tears would have,

Cleaned you for your next life.

We welcomed them as friends,

But later their greed for power ruled,

They tied us down, and cut through us,

They divided us, bits and pieces flew.

O’ Faiz, in my exile, no place,

Gave me any pleasure,

After I left my circle of friends,

I found solace only in gallows of death.


Manju Edangam said...

On the face, Faiz’s poems seem to portray love and longing for the beloved but they do not. They talk about social and political issues. They talk about revolution!

With his Urdu infused with Arabic-Persian and poetry that wouldn't give the message directly, I'm not surprised that Faiz completely failed to inspire revolutionary thought among ordinary Pakistanis.

SHE said...

You can't blame Faiz for not inspiring a revolution. I think, all poets are mere theoreticians. It's the public that has to put it to practice.

Pakistan is an unfortunate country. I think ,the overwhelming passion of their rules to show to the world that their 'Qaid-e-Azam' was right in asking for a separate Pakistan takes toll on all things that need to be done in the country. They have to put history behind them soon if they have to progress.

I have no hard feelings for Pakistan. When Pakistan defeated India and then went on to win T20, I was really happy that this should give the Pakistani people something to cheer about. It's these small confidence building measures that should be stacked together and take Pakistan in a new direction.

About Faiz's poetry, there is an interesting anecdote. There was a mushaira where Faiz and Ahmed Faraz were reciting their poems. Ahmed Faraz writes simple and beautiful poetry (doesn't need any translation at all) where as Faiz's writings are complex and beautiful. It seems Ahmed Faraz got a lot of appreciation from the crowd but there was not much of an applaud for Faiz.

I read that Faiz has Ghalib's style, with heavy use of Persian and Arabic vocabulary. About Ghalib it was written -

"yaa to aap samjhay yaa kHuda samjhay"

Unknown said...

Wow SHE your comment is brilliant.
So well written!

Unknown said...

I agree with your comment about the Pakistani nation. I am also Pakistani and I wish they would just move on from 1947. They are so stuck in the past, that the future is not visible at all. Faiz in my opinion is the most majestic poet that walked the subcontinent. You are very to have met him dear author :)

Unknown said...

Wow SHE your comment is brilliant, so well written!

virtualciti said...

gulo.n me.n rang bhare, baad-e-naubahaar chale
chale bhii aao ki gulshan kaa karobaar chale
Translation: After filling colors into new blossoms, the early spring has moved on. Please come back (early spring), so that the Garden is back to it's past glory

Meaning: He could be pleading to Jinnah (who died soon after formation of the country) to return. This is written more about bringing back the glory of his country, which was at that time had plunged into turmoil and the poet was also hounded by his country leadership from 1949-1960 and had to flee the country)

I have also tried to translate it relating to Faiz's own turmoil: