Tag Archives: Transliteration

Not in your house… گھر میں نہیں

Some time ago, I heard a couplet that has (like many others) stuck in my mind. It often comes back to mind when I consider what our parents do for us and what certain religions demand we do with regard to our ancestors. I believe there are some faiths that even accept/encourage the idea of ancestor worship. Nevertheless, the couplet follows as:

دنیا    بڑی     باوری،   پتھر    پوجنے    جائے

گھر کی چکی کوئی نا پوجے، جس کا پسا کھاے

Dunya bari bawri pathar poojnay jaye

ghar ki chaki koi na poojay jiss ka peesa khaye


Which in translation (in my opinion) means:

The world is quite mad, It goes to temples to worship stones

No one worships the grindstone at home, without which there would be no food


This simply brings to my mind our parents who treated us well and fed us well throughout our childhoods. Exceptions aside, for the most part our parents gave us the best they could and did all they had to for our benefit. Personally, I believe that I was raised in a manner where (perhaps just short off) whatever I blurted/barked out of my mouth was provided to me by my parents. For that, I am ever in their moral debt and feel quite sad that I have done little to pay them back even in a small measure. The return on investment for my parents, I must confess, has been limited due to my own shortcomings. Heck, even on my education a large fortune was spent and the return to be them (at best) has been marginal. If you’re reading this… Sorry Dad! 🙂

The indulgence in self deprecation aside, the verse did get me thinking towards what is present in the home and what is not and that eventually led to the sordid ghazal I present below:


اب صداِ حق  کسی  گھر  میں  نہیں

سوزِ آرزومندی کسی جگر میں نہیں

I do not find the voice of truth

In any house in my land

The desire for wish fulfillment

Is not found in any heart


دلِ شکستایم بے شک مسکنِ یزداں

بقولِ رومی وہ تیرے گھر میں نہیں

A broken heart is indeed

The house where god lives

As Rumi told us

Gods are not in temples


سنبھال کے رکھ، اپنے  آبا  کی  کتابیں

کے ایسے ہیرے  تو  بہر و بر  میں نہیں

Take good care of the books

Of your ancestors

Those jewels

Are not found in seas or sands.


شاہی سے بڑھ کے ہے ترابی فقیری

ویسا جلال تو کسی سکندر میں نہیں

The ways of a Turabi faqeer

Are better than kingly ways

Such majesty

Is not found in any Alexander


ضبطِ حال کر کر کےاس راز کو پایا

جزاِ اشک نوشی، چشمِ تر میں نہیں

With patience

I found a secret

Swallowing your tears

Can be more intoxicating than shedding them


کس ترا بھول  جاؤں اسے  کے وہ

نورِ نظر تھا جو اب نظر میں نہیں

How can I forget that friend

Who was once

The light of my eyes

But lost from sight today


آ پھر کچھ  دیر  ہم  تم  تنہا  ہو  لیں

کے لطفِ جدائی ترے برابر میں نہیں

Let us part for a while

Since the joys of separation

Can not be found

While I am beside you


اک مسکان سے توں بہل جائے گا

تیرا علاج اشکِ متواتر میں نہیں

All it will take is a smile

To cure your sorrows

Your cure

Will not come from crying continuously


چھوڑ  دے  بد زات  بوتل  کو  اب  استاد

رنج تو دل میں ہے تیرے ساغر میں نہیں

Let go of the bottle

It is of no use

The sorrow is in your heart

Not in your cup

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Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

The Call… پکار دے

While walking through a forest last night, a mosquito was buzzing in my ear. Soon after, I found two mosquito bites on me. One on my right forearm and the other on my right ring finger. It reminded me of a verse I had heard years ago to the effect of:


پشہ سے سیکھے کوئی شیواہِ مردانگی

جو  قصدِ  خوں  کو  آے،  تو   پکار  دے


Pishay say seekhay koi shewa-e-mardangi

Jo Qaasad-e-khoon ko aye, to pukaar day


Which for me means that one should learn bravery and ‘manliness’ from a mosquito for when it comes for blood, it will warn you first and not strike from the shadows. An interesting twist of idea and notion but it led me to tap out a ghazal on my phone in the forest in the same zameen which follows:


ساقی خیالِ مال توں دل سے اتار دے

نقدی نہیں ہے آج تو، تھوڑا ادھار دے

O cupbearer

Forget about the money

I do not have cash today

Let’s work on credit


نہ  جا اٹھ  کے اس بےرخی  سے  توں

زلف پریشان ہے میری، توں سنوار دے

Do not leave me

devoid of feeling

Can you run your fingers

through my tousled hair


دو آنسوں توں میری میت پے گرا دے

اشکوں سے آج میری، تربت سنوار دے

Weep a while

For my death

Your tears may

Make my grave beauteous


کچھ تو امید  باندھ  یا رب  کے اب

دل مایوس ہے میرا، خیالِ نگار دے

Give me some hope

For I feel sad

Give me a thought

Of the beloved


کیسے آدابِ شرافت سیکھے ہیں تم نے؟

آئیں ہیں در پے تیرے، توں دھتکار دے؟

What manners

Have you learnt?

I come to your door

And you push me away?


خزاں تو بے دل کرتی ہے استاد کو

کچھ  جوشِ جنوں دے،  تو بہار دے

Fall is depressing

If there is any madness

It comes to me

In spring


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Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

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


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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Filed under Quatrains