The Western Wine and the Eastern Drunk

It has been recommended to me that I should place translations of what I write in Urdu alongside the Urdu text. In fact, a transliteration is also a part of the suggestions I have got from some very experienced individuals in the field of writing. Strangely, while I like and can understand the need for a translation of a work (Aside: Heaven knows I’ve read my fair share of translated global literature!) A transliteration feels quite strange to my hands ears and eyes! I doubt I’ll be doing that but translations are a go. I’ll try my best to translate all the works I put on these pages and those that go into the book.

Obviously, it does take a lot of time to translate a thought. Particularly a poetic/creative one since a lot of meaning or shades of meanings are not easy to convey. While a simple translation and explanation of the words comes quite easily, setting them together to give them some coherence is quite difficult. Clearly then, a translation would be inherently flawed therefore please accept it in the spirit it is given. While it is ideal to read a creative work in the language it was written in without translations we’d probably have far fewer people who are familiar with Homeric epics or even major religious texts that were written in languages few can read/understand anymore such as Aramaic or Old Sanskrit.

The following is a rather philosophical rubaai that I believe loses a lot from translation. Nevertheless, I have tried to translate it as best as I could. Given my crude understanding of the English language and my poor knowledge of the English poetic tradition, It may not follow the rules exactly. But, here it is 🙂

کام  ایک  پر ہر جگہ دستورِ ساقی  عجب ہے

مےِ  غربی  عجب ہے،  رندِ شرقی  عجب  ہے

عجب انجام ہے اوفلیا اور سوہنی کے عشق کا

بے تکی  ظلماتِ عشق، دریا غرقی عجب ہے

Translation:

The task is the same

Yet the ways chosen by the cupbearer vary strangely

From place to place

The wine from the West is strange

The intoxicated lover from the East is strange

And what a strange end to the story of both Ophelia and Sohni

A useless overwhelming dark love

Followed by a strange drowning in a river

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1 Comment

Filed under Quatrains

One response to “The Western Wine and the Eastern Drunk

  1. beautifully translated 🙂

    Like

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