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Toward their destination before they drown
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March 2024
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Ghazal - a translation

His face is the lamp, and this world the shade. Yet he hid himself from the world, vieling his face.

The councilor hasn't seen my ardor's strength Nor has he seen scattered locks across my face.

In all event before my eyes his face. I haven't seen the moon since the night of seperation.

All kinds of beauties had come out on parade. To confess, my stunned eyes were blind to all.

What had happened in the chaos of passion, I don't know. But when I came to, I found in my hand the torn collar.

Translated from the Urdu of Asghar Gondvi's "Zahid ne mera hasil-e-eman nahin dekha" (h/t to Aisha for putting up Abida's rendition here)


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Ghazal - a translation

Your memory’s trains kept arriving through the night. The wet in my eyes kept smiling through the night.

Through the night, the anguished candle kept burning As pain’s blood kept roiling through the night.

A flute’s sweet melody kept playing Insistent as memory through the night.

Moonlight of memories kept falling across the heart As the moon kept shimmering through the night.

A mad lover kept wandering through the lanes. My voice kept reaching me through the night.

Translated from the Urdu approximately. The ghazal is "Aap kii yaad aatii rahii raat bhar" by Makhdoom Moinuddin. Go here to hear this ghazal sung: www.youtube.com


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Ghazal - a translation

Who is this, who comes into my longing carrying a goblet, Casting shadows of a moonlight night across my heart?

When the vine of memory drips all night in the heart, Carrying in their gaze, spring’s morning and evening - who is this?

The breeze’s fragrant caresses kept waking him all night, Carrying on its lips the essence of someone’ name – who is this?

The scent of a thought and the fragrance of a body, Which stand at my body’s door with a message – who is this?

In the distance, someone was playing a shehani. And I woke to Find in my eyes a perfected dream of someone – who is this?

Note: This is my translation from the Urdu of Makhdoom Mohiuddin's "Ye kaun aata hai tanhaiyon mein". I just happened to stumble upon Makhdoom's body of work and (think of a Hyderabadi Faiz Ahmed Faiz or a Nazim Hikmet, with the same aesthetic of revolutionary romanticism - why didn't I know of him!!) last night, as I was searching for movies of Irrfan Khan. Irrfan Kan played Makhdoom in an Indian TV series on Urdu poets called Kahkashan (created by Ali Sardar Jafri) - which I plan to watch in full before my Indian sojourn is over.


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