Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two poems by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

In celebration of the centenary of Faiz Ahmad Faiz' birth (February 13, 1911), I translated two of his best-known poems into English. I did these in February, the month of his birth and was very happy to get a chance to read them in public during this year's Kala Ghoda Festival in Mumbai (on the lawns of the Prince of Wales Museum). The events in Africa and the Arab world since the beginning of the year made made them so  prescient, it was uncanny.

The illustration was made using Harmony's Mr.Doob software.

Aa Jaao Afrika (1955)
Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Aa jaao,
maine sun li tere dhol ke tarang
Aa jaao,
mast ho gayi mere lahu ki taal
Aa jaao, Afrika!

Aa jaao,
maine dhool se maatha uthaa liyaa
Aa jaao,
maine chheel di aankhon se gham ki chhaal
Aa jaao,
maine dard se baazoo chhudaa liyaa
Aa jaao,
maine noch diyaa bekasi kaa jaal
Aa jaao, Afrika!

Panje mein hathkadi ki kadi ban gayi hai gurz
Gardan ka tauq todke dhaali hai maine dhaal
Aa jaao, Afrika!

Jaltein hai har kachhaar mein bhaalon ke mrig-nain
Dushman lahoo se raat ki kaalak hui hai laal
Aa jaao Afrika!

Dharti dhadak rahi hai mere saath, Afrika
Daryaa thirak rahaa hai,
to ban de rahaa hai taal

Main Afrika hoon,
dhaar liyaa maine teraa roop

Main tu hoon,
meri chaal hai tere babbar ki chaal

Aa jaao, Afrika!
Aao babbar ki chaal
Aa jaao, Afrika!

Africa, Come Forth!
Translated by
Mustansir Dalvi

Come on,
I have heard the throbbing of your drums.
Come on,
my blood surges in drunken rhythms.
Come on, Africa!

Come on,
I have lifted my forehead from the dust.
Come on,
I have scraped crusts of despair from my eyes.
Come on,
I have shrugged off the pain of ages.
Come on,
I have clawed off webs of despair.
Come on, Africa!

The manacles on my fists are now bludgeons,
the choker round my neck forged as a shield,
Come forth, Africa!

Doe-eyed spears glow in every river marsh,
the inky night, ruddy with enemy blood,
Come forth, Africa!

The earth beats with me as one, Africa!
The river swells and dances
to the backbeat of the jungle.

I am Africa,
I have fashioned myself in your shape.
I am you,
my gait, your leonine stride.

Come forth, Africa!
Come, stride out like a lion.
Africa, Come forth!


Hum Dekhenge (1979)
Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Laazim hai ki hum bhi dekhenge
Woh din jiskaa ke waada hai,
Jo lau-e-azl mein likha hai

Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-garaan
Rooi ki tarah udd jaayenge,

Hum mehkoomon ke paaon tale
jab dharti dhad dhad dhadkegi,

Aur ahl-e-hukam ke sar oopar
Jab bijli kad kad kadkegi,

Jab arz-e-khudaa ke kaabe se
Sab but uthwaaey jaayenge,

Hum ahl-e-safaa mardood-e-haram
Masnad pe bithaaey jaayenge.

Sab taaj uchaaley jaayenge.
Sab takht giraaey jayyenge.

Bas naam rahega Allah kaa,
Jo ghaayab bhi hai, haazir bhi,
Jo manzar bhi hai, naazir bhi.

Utthegaa ‘An-al-haq’ kaa naara
Jo main bhi hoon, aur tum bhi ho,

Aur raaj karegi Khalq-e-Khuda
Jo mai bhi hoon, aur tum bhi ho.

We Shall See
translated by
Mustansir Dalvi

Inevitably, we shall also see the day
that was promised to us, decreed
on the tablet of eternity.

When dark peaks of torment and tyranny
will be blown away like cotton fluff;

When the earth’s beating, beating  heart
will pulsate beneath our broken feet;

When crackling, crashing lightning
will smite the heads of our tormentors;

When, from the seat of the Almighty
every pedestal will lie displaced;

Then, the dispossessed we; we,
who kept the faith will be installed
to our inalienable legacy.
Every crown will be flung.
Each throne brought down.

Only His name will remain; He,
who is both unseen, and ubiquitous; He,
who is both the vision and the beholder.

When the clarion call of ‘I am Truth’
(the truth that is me and the truth that is you)
will ring out, all God’s creatures will rule,
those like me and those like you.


Translation and Transliteration © Mustansir Dalvi, 2011, All rights reserved.

1 comment:

Preeti said...

Simply Superb Sir :)