Grief in verse

One mark of an immortal poetry is its universality. A timeless verse appeals to humans across the boundaries of space and time.

Last month has been a nightmare of unimaginable misery in our country. Saga continues.

People find themselves in a quagmire of irredeemable suffering. For most, virus with its fearsome connotations is just around the corner. Government has nothing to offer but sickening homilies. Think tanks and the ideological fountainhead of rulers bring us lessons of positivity. From where, can the despairing people, salvage a modicum of hope, when grief and desolation are thick in the air?

A blind eye can see the obvious lacunae in planning, scandalous flouting of every prevention measure, and the indefensible neglect of glaring warning signs. Course-correction can begin only if past mistakes are recognised and humbly accepted. Instead, operation cover-up has begun and will gather strength of a tornado as disease ebbs in coming weeks. There wouldn’t be a trace of evidence to pin the blame for this enormous failure of governance on those who committed mayhem in broad daylight. Individuals who were till yesterday a friend, a partner, a mother, a father, a daughter, a son, a wife, or a husband, will be mute figures in the data in future.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry transcends barriers of the physical world and human heart. I bring to your notice his two nazms, that talk of these emotions; a desolate soul searching for hope and unsung death of common citizen. I follow each with my translation, an attempt to decipher how Faiz’s words churn my heart.

उम्मीदसहर की बात सुनो

फ़ैज़ अहमद फ़ैज़

जिगरदरीदा1 हूँ चाकजिगर2 की बात सुनो 

अलमरसीदा3 हूँ दामानतर4 की बात सुनो 

ज़बाँबुरीदा5 हूँ ज़ख़्मगुलू6 से हर्फ़7 करो 

शिकस्तापा8 हूँ मलालसफ़र9 की बात सुनो 

मुसाफ़िररहसहराज़ुल्मतशब 10से 

अब इल्तिफ़ातनिगारसहर11 की बात सुनो 

सहर की बात उमीदसहर12 की बात सुनो 

1. Tortured heart 2. Wounded heart 3. Grief-stricken 4. Wet robes 5. Lacerated tongue, dumb 6. Wounds of throat 7. Conversation 8. Lame 9. Sorrows of journey 10. Traveller on dark roads 11. Beauty named Dawn 12. Hope of Dawn

Listen to the Talk of Dawn’s Hope

Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Disconsolate I am, listen to the misery of a shattered heart.

Woebegone I am, listen to the agony of a tear-drenched shirt.

My tongue is slashed, converse with this wounded throat of mine.

My feet are broken, listen to the grief-stricken journey’s whine.

Now listen to the traveller of dark nights, on desert road, 

Sing about the beauty named Dawn, oh! lo and behold!

Listen to the talk of dawn, of dawn’s hope,

As it was by the traveller of dark nights, told.

लहू का सुराग़

अहमद फ़ैज़

 कहीं नहीं है कहीं भी नहीं लहू का सुराग़ 

दस्तनाख़ुनक़ातिल1 आस्तीं पे निशाँ  

सुर्ख़ीलबखंजर2 रंगनोकसिनाँ3         

ख़ाक पर कोई धब्बा बाम4 पर कोई दाग़ 

कहीं नहीं है कहीं भी नहीं लहू का सुराग़ 

सर्फ़ख़िदमतशाहाँ5 कि ख़ूँबहा6 देते 

दीं7 की नज़्र कि बैआनाजज़ा8 देते 

रज़्मगाह9 में बरसा कि मोतबर10 होता 

किसी अलम11 पे रक़म हो के मुश्तहर12 होता 

पुकारता रहा बेआसरा यतीम लहू 

किसी को बहरसमाअत13 वक़्त था दिमाग़ 

मुद्दई14 शहादत15 हिसाब पाक16 हुआ 

ये ख़ूनख़ाकनशीनाँ17 था रिज़्क़ख़ाक18 हुआ 

1.Hands and nails of killer 2. Redness of the lips of dagger 3. Color on the tip of the sword 4. Terrace 5. Devoted to the service of king 6. Compensation for death 7. Faith 8. Advance reward 9. Battlefield 10. Trustworthy 11. Flag 12. Proclaimed 13. For hearing 14. Appelant 15. Witness 16. Clean 17. Those who sit in dust 18. Food for dust

Trail of Blood

Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Nowhere, nowhere, is the trail of blood.

Neither on murderer’s hands or nail,

Nor on cuff is blood’s trail.

Neither red is dagger’s lip, 

Nor is coloured sword’s tip.

Not on ground any speck,

Nor in yard even a fleck.

Nowhere, nowhere, is blood’s track.

Neither a monarch did it serve,

That a recompense it deserves.

Nor offered for faith’s sake,

That a reward it will take.

Neither in battlefield did it rain,

That it’s honesty will be certain.

Neither on flag, is it chronicled,

That will make it clearly visible.

Helpless, orphan blood kept calling,

None had time, to hear it bawling.

No appellant, no witness, account is clean.

This was the blood of the dwellers of dust,

Now food for dust, it will mean.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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