Thursday, July 19, 2012

Taj Mahal by Sahir Ludhianvi: a new translation

Taj Mahal 
Sahir Ludhianvi

Taaj tere liye ek mazaar-e-ulfat hi sahi
Tumko is vaadi-e-rangeen se aquidat hi sahi
Mere mehboob kahin aur milaa kar mujhse

Bazm-e-shaahi mein gareebon ka guzar kya maani
Sabt jis raah pe ho satwat-e-shaahi ke nishaan
Us pe ulfat bhari roohon ka safar kya maani

Mere mehboob paas-e-pardah-e-tasheer-e-wafaa
Tu ne satwat ke nishaanon ko to dekhaa hotaa
Murdaashaahon ke maqaabir se behelnewaali
Apne taareeq makaanon ko to dekhaa hotaa

Anginat logon ne duniyaa mein muhabbat ki hain
Kaun kehtaa hai ki saadiq na the jazbe unke
Lekin unke liye tasheer ka saamaan nahin
Kyonki who log bhi apni hi tarah muflis the

Yeh imaarat-o-maqaabir, yeh faseelein, yeh hisaar
Mutalqulhukm shahenshaahon ki azmat ke sutoon
Daaman-e-dehr pe us rang ki gulkaari hai
Jisme shaamil hain tere aur mere ajdaad ka khoon

Mere mehboob, unhe bhi to muhabbat hogi
Jinki sannaaee ne bakshi hai ise shakl-e-jameel
Unke pyaaron ke maqaabir rahe benaam-o-namood
Aaj tak un pe jalaayee na kisi ne qandeel

Yeh chamanzaar, ye jamunaa ka kinaaraa, yeh mahal
Yeh munaqqash dar-o-deewaar, yeh mehraab, yeh taaq
Ik shahenshaah ne daulat kaa sahaaraa lekar
Hum gareebon ki muhabbat kaa udaayaa hai mazaaq

Mere mehboob kahin aur milaa kar mujhse

Taj Mahal

translated by
Mustansir Dalvi

For you, my love, the Taj
may well be the quintessence
of ardour; while full well
may you regard
this exquisite vale. Even so,
dear one, let us meet
someplace else.

What worth, these lowly ones,
loitering in the halls of the lords,
where on every path lie etched
remains of pomp and glory?
What worth then, the passing
of lovelorn souls?

My love, behind the veils
of love’s proud proclamations,
did you see the signs
of imperious grandeur?
You, who revel
in mausoleums of dead kings,
did you not heed the dark hovels
that fostered us?

Beyond count are those, in this world
who have lived and loved.
Could anyone deny the truth
of their passions?
But they, like us, stay destitute,
without the means
to erect monuments to their love.

These edifices, these tombs,
these battlements, these forts,
haughty relics
of the conceit of emperors
are left behind like resilient creepers
on the face of the world,
seeped in the blood
of our forefathers.

My love, those artful hands
who created this beauty
would have lived
and loved too; but their lovers
are long gone, nameless,
without a trace.
To this day, no one has lit
a candle in their memory.

The lush gardens and palaces,
the Yamuna’s edge;
the exquisitely carved portals,
the arches and niches,
the handiwork of the one
emperor who, buttress’d
by infinite wealth
has mocked our very love,
our impoverish'd, destitute love.

Even so, my love,
let us meet
someplace else.

© 2012, translation and transliteration by Mustansir Dalvi, all rights reserved.