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.