Thursday, January 25, 2007

Hum Ke Thehre Ajnabi

Whew! the reign of guilt comes to an end. This is how I would describe the process of this translation. I have only short of had nightmares about Faiz questioning me as to what I think I was doing with his poem.
More than ever I now believe in what A.K. Ramanujan said: A translation is like a wife, it can either be beautiful or faithful. (I'm not quoting because I could have jumbled some words but the effect is right. My knowledge of the same=courtesy Bali-a good friend).
Now as most men, I have succumbed to greed and I want both at the risk of getting neither. In any case here is the outcome.
The original followed by the translation:

Hum ke Thehre ajanabii itane madaaraato.n ke baad
Phir bane.nge aashnaa kitanii mulaaqaato.n ke baad

Kab nazar me.n aayegii bedaaG sabze kii bahaar
Khuun ke dhabbe dhule.nge kitanii barasaato.n ke baad

Dil to chaahaa par shikast-e-dil ne mohalat hii na dii
Kuchh gile-shikave bhii kar lete munaajaato.n ke baad

The bahut bedard lamhe.n Khatm-e-dard-e-ishq ke
Thii.n bahut bemahar subahe.n meharabaa.N raato.n ke baad

Un se jo kahane gaye the "Faiz" jaa.N sadaqaa kiye
Anakahii hii rah ga_ii vo bat sab baato.n ke baad

Hospitalities exchanged, yet we who strangers stay
With how many encounters, shall amiability display?

After how many rains, shall the blood stains fade,
And when, in our sight, shall unspotted fields sway?

All that the heart desired, its breaking permitted not,
No grievance did those contained praises betray.

Merciless were moments, that witnessed the end of pain,
Benevolent nights brought in a cruel break of day.

That which, on your life, you determined to convey
Unspoken on your lips, Faiz, the decided words lay


Anonymous said...

Waah ! Beautiful translation of one of my favourite poems. Thank you, Sadia. This more than made up for the wait. Kumail.

Mohib said...

Fine translation. I liked that quote by Ramanujan, very true.

I guess Faiz penned this poem after Bangladesh became independent.

It is also one of my faves, Nayyara Noor has done justice to it in her rendition.h

The Introvert said...

beautiful translation.

definitely u had to exchange the order of the lines on blood stains and unspotted fields, otherwise it would've looked odd. (I hope Faiz won't complain of this little unfaithfulness!)
Translation is different from wife, for here the beauty is definitely more important!

The Illusionist said...

Kumail: I'm glad you liked it :)

Mohib: thanks. nayyara noor's rendition is my favourite too. Had it on cassette once but the casette went bad :(

Introvert: not only the order of those lines but had to flip around a lot. I guess I will call it a transcreation.. it's not really a translation i think. I took the risk of doing this only because I'm sure even if Faiz desires to he cannot get me... :)

Siyaah said...

Having tried my hand at a few translations, I can imagine the agony this one must have caused...but the end result is truly worth it!!
"the Decided words" was a nice touch, as was "cruel break of day".

The Illusionist said...

Siyaah: When trying my hand at this one I was certain that you would be one of those who would know in the truest sense what has gone into this :).I'm glad you liked it.

Stray Visitor said...

The risk was worht taking. And I must say that it has paid handsomely :-)

All the best.

सर्जक said...

आपने फैज् की कविता का अनुवाद वाकई बेहद शानदार किया है, और मुझे लगता है सृजन की इस पीड़ा को सहने के बाद ही आप इस तरह का अनुवाद कर सकती थीं। खैर मैं इस ब्‍लॉग तक नय्यारा नूर के गानों की तलाश करते हुए पहुंचा था। और वाकई में आपका प्रयास शानदार लगा। दरअसल, मैंने भी कुछ इस तरह की कोशिशें की है, इसलिए मुझे इसका महत्‍व पता है। यदि आप आप फैज़ की नज्म सिपाही का मर्सिया का अनुवाद करेंगी तो शायद फैज के कई मुरीदों को वह पसंद आएगा।

The Illusionist said...

stray visitor: :)

Sarjak: Ek prayaas ne hi kaafi thaka diya hai. chaliye kisi din koshish zaroor karenge :)

Anonymous said...

awsome ,,, keep up the work ...

Anonymous said...

can someone get me a translation of "woh jo hum mein tum mien qaraar tha" written by Momin Khan Momin? Amongst other singers, Nayyar Noor has done beautiful justice to this. available on

sajjad shafi

huhmzah said...

Bahut khoobsoorat.
Ye unhon ne us zamane ke "East Pakistan" chhorne waqt likhi thee jab Bangladesh vujood mein aa raha thaa.
Bahut khoob.

Atif Shehzad said...

Faiz wrote this after he visited Bangladesh first time after seperated.
you can also imagine it by the last couplet.
Well done on translation.

Anonymous said...

excellent translation! it does full justice to the poems beauty!

Tasawwuf said...

Sadia, dil khush ho gaya pardh ke.
Thank you for the translation.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing Faiz. One of the greatest poet of Pakistan. I thinks Faiz sb write this poem after the tragedy of Bangladesh separation.

Antivirus said...

Very nice!!!
Translation was awesome. Stay blessed

Luthfulla Atheeq said...


I liked your translation. This is one of my favorite poems. I also dabble in translation. I however tend to translate more literally.

However, you have done a great job. You could see my translation at


shreyas said...

Good job, well done! I like how you try to maintain meter while translating - I have tried doing the same for some other ghazals and it is incredibly difficult. Thank you for sharing!