Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Anup Bhargav ( ) Hindi Poet


You are the shore.
I rise like
a thirsty wave
to kiss you.
You stand there
like a rock as usual.
Each time only I,
after touching you,
keep on going back.

Note: The original poem in Hindi titled as Yoon Hee is at

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Kanwar Narain ( ) Hindi Poet

Profile of the Missing One

Wheatish in looks,`
As if a peasant in his ways,
On his brow he bears a scar.
Not less than five feet in height,
He appears care-free,
And stammers as he talks.
Ask him his age and he’d tell you
He’s more than thousands of years old.
Seems like a mad man, but he is not.
Many times he has fallen off high places
And now he is in all pieces.
He might look all put together,
But he is like the map of Hindustan.


Everyday at about ten a.m.

Everyday at about ten in the morning,
The same thing happens over and again.
The same people as usual go out,
Leaving behind wives and children at homes.
Still the earthquake does not shake the ground.
As the evening nears, the same people
Head back to their homes,
All tired and defeated.

I know the earth will not shake this way,
Nothing will happen this way.
These people are afraid of some reason.
They, all over again,
Arrive at the foregone conclusion
That lying is an art,
And every man is an artist,
Not after the reality of the world
But after his own craziness
To give meaning to his world.

Sometime when I return
Home in the evening,
I feel terrifying shapes,
Like thunderbolts,
Crashing through my soul,
As if someone crushed together
All colorless men and things
And pasted them on some blank spot
Against the blood colored ground.
And now all the buried colors of men
Have sprung up by themselves.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Selected Ghazals - Various Poets

I Still Remember

Shedding tears in silence I still remember
Those days of falling in love I still remember

Seeing you how speechless I would become
Your finger in your teeth I still remember

When you had no lover besides me
Tell me those flirtations if you still remember

In hiding you'd come to see me at that place
It has been ages but that palce I still remember

Telling this tale of my heart's sorrows listlessly
Turning the bracelets on your wrists I still remember

~Hasrat Mohani
Original in Urdu


Without You

So many seasons' caravans passed by without you
But I feel no happiness without you

Every moment the beetles desire your coming
Every petal is blooming in red without you

Even the signs of memories were washed away in tears
Alas! The whole earth is now a desert without you

Till yesterday the ship rolled joyously on the sea
That ship has now fallen into ruins without you

I thought of you while dreaming at nights
The evenings of my life passed by without you

Perhaps 'Zafer' could not bear being away from you
He took his last breath weeping continuously without you

~ Gautam Dhar 'Zafar'
Original in Hindi at:


Khayyam's House Tonight

You’ll see how love’s force prevails tonight
You’ll see the damsel leaning on my shoulders tonight

I see all aura wherever I gaze tonight
There is beauty as far as I can see tonight

Not to say of revelry in verses and fierce spirit
My house has turned into Khayyam's house tonight


Original in Urdu by ?

Dekhna jazb-e-mohabbat ka asar aaj ki raat
Mere shaane pe us shaukh ka ser aaj ki raat

Noor hi noor hai kis simt uthaun aankhen
husn hi husn hai tahad ki nazar aaj ki raat

Nagma-0-mey ka ye toofan-e-talab kya kehna
mera ghar ban gaya Khayyam ka ghar aaj ki raat


Note: Thanks to Rahul Pandita for sending me
original ghazals in Urdu under Khayyam's House Tonight


As It Was

Only mad Qais could see his beloved’s face, as it was
The wildrness of love, a far cry to others, as it was

Lunacy healed the scars of my burnt heart
Revealing its essence in smoke-whorls, as it was

I talked to you in my dreams all love-things
When I opened my eyes, no gain or loss it was

A beginner learning the ways of broken hearts
I haven’t what I had, what I lost, all lost it was

Only a shroud will cover my nakedness in death
In other attires, existing in disgrace it was

Farhad could not kill himself without the axe, Asad
A prisoner of traditions and taboos all it was

Note:Original Ghazal by Ghalib in Persian


What Pleasures He Found

You say you’ll keep my heart, “if lying around I found.”
What heart now to lose? Our destiny, haven’t already I found?

The essence of life through love I found
Curing some pains, unending suffering I found

Enemy of my heart is my own beloved
Shrugs off my sighs, hears not the complaints I found

In her playful innocence and games
Her cunning challenges I found

The buds blossomed today, I looked into my heart
Past sufferings of wounds and bleedings I found

I don’t know the where-abouts of my heart
But whenever I lost it, by you it was found

The preachers admonitions threw salt on my wounds
Would some body ask him what pleasures he found?

Note: Original in Persian by Ghalib


Your Caring Beloved

A gift of a diamond and your burnt heart’s wound has arrived
Congratulations, Asad! your caring beloved has arrived

jirdhat tohfih, almas armughan, dagh-e-jiggar hadiyah
mub arkabad Asad, ghmamkahr-e jan-e dardmand aya

~Original in Persian by Ghalib


May It Never Happen

What a heart not praying for a meeting may ever happen
I forget you and be still alive, may it never happen

Your love will remain as my life with me
This thing of deception, in my life may it never happen

It’s true no one dies in separation
Separation from each another, may it never happen

It is said love gives blessing to those
Who suffer in heart but their complaints never happen

The world has seen him and has tested him
Katil sacrifices himself but his complaints never happen

~Katil Shifai

Original in Hindi at
posted by Gautam Dhar 'Zafar'

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Indian Movie Songs

My body is on the fires of passion

I am now burning in the fires of love,
Oh yes, in fires of love.
I’ve been thirsting for love,
Oh yes, thirsting for love,
Since early evening today.
Tell the romance to bring
From somewhere the months of rains.
I am now burning in fires of love.

I don’t know when the night will end,
I’ll be burning till morning in fires love.
I’m now writhing in convulsions of love,
Please come and embrace me tight
Holding me against your chest,
Oh yes, holding me against your chest,
Easing the fires behind my breasts.

You’ll see me burning--
I swear it by my smile--
In your arms I’ll die burning.
Place you hand upon my heart
To pacify the pulsations of love.

I’ve been thirsting for love
Since early evening today.
My body is now burning
In fires of love,
Oh, yes in fires of love.
Tell the romance to bring
From somewhere the months of rains.
I am now burning in fires of love.

Note: The singer is Razia Sultan


jalataa hai badan
ho ... hAy! jalataa hai badan
pyaas bha.Dakii hai
pyaas bha.Dakii hai sare shaam se jalataa hai badan - 2
ishq se kah do ki le aae kahii.n se saavan
pyaas bha.Dakii hai sare shaam se jalataa hai badan
jalataa hai badan - 2

jaane kab raat Dhale, subah tak kaun jale
daur par daur chale, aao lag jaao gale
aao lag jaao gale kam ho siine kI jalan
pyaas bha.Dakii hai sare shaam se jalataa hai badan
jalataa hai badan - 3
o aah! jalataa hai badan

dekh jal jaae.nge ham, is tabassum kii kasam
ab nikal jaayegaa dam, tere baaho.n me.n sanam
dil pe rakh haath ki tham jaaye dil kI dha.Dakan
pyaas bha.Dakii hai sare shaam se jalataa hai badan
jalataa hai badan
ishq se kah do ke le aaye kahii.n se saavan
pyaas bha.Dakii hai sare shaam se jalataa hai badan
jalataa hai badan - 2
o ... haay jalataa hai badan
jalataa hai badan ...

Kedarnath Singh ( ) Come/Even Without God


When you find time,
Come even when
You find no time.

Like the force
Comes in your hands,
Like the blood flows
In your veins,
Like the fire that
Slowly fires the stoves.

Like the tender thorns
That come on acacia trees
After the rains.

Tearing and shredding the days
And throwing promises to the winds,
Please come.

As Wednesdays come
After Tuesdays.
Please come.



Even Without God

How strange!
It is ten in the morning
And the world is going on its own,
Even without God.
The buses are full
Of crowded people as usual.
The postman with his bag
Hanging from his shoulder,
Is on his way as usual.

The banks open on time,
The grass grows as usual,
The accounts no matter how complex
Get added up in the end.
Those who want to live, live.
Those who want to die, die.
Even without God.

How strange!
The trains leave and arrive
Sooner or later at some
Station or the other.
The elections are held,
The air-planes fly in the air
Even without God.

The horses neigh,
The salt forms in the sea,
A sparrow wandering all day,
Comes back finally to its nest
Even without God.

Even without God,
My sorrows are heavy as ever.
The hair of the women I loved
Ten years ago, is still dark as ever.
When I get out of my home,
The force pulling me back,
Is still strong as ever.

How strange!
The water still flows,
And the bridge still stands
In the middle of the stream
Outstretching its arms,
Even without God.



Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Anonymous, Punjabi Poet

Saari raat tere takni a raah
taareyan to puch chanwe
kyon tere pichche hoi han tabaah
saareyan to puch chanwe

-A Punjabi folk lyric


Every night I wait
Seeing the way you’ll come,
Ask the stars, my love
They will tell you.

Why have I lost
Everything for you?
Ask others, my love
They will tell you.

Amir Khusrau ( ) Urdu, Punjabi and Persian Poet


The news came today my lover by night might come.
I sacrifice my head to road by which he would come.
The desert gazelles are holding their heads in their hands,
Hoping he would hunt the day he comes.

The pull of my love will not keep him still.
If to my funeral he couldn't make it, to my grave he'd surely come.
My soul has now come to my lips, come for me to be alive.
After I die, what purpose if you come?


Original in Persian

Khabaram raseed imshab ki nigaar khuahi aamad;
Sar-e man fidaa-e raah-e ki sawaar khuahi aamad.
Ham-e aahwan-e sehra sar-e khud nihada bar kaf;
Ba-umeed aanki rozi bashikaar khuahi aamad.

Kashishi ki ishq daarad naguzaradat badinsaa;
Ba-janazah gar nayai ba-mazaar khuahi aamad.
Balabam raseed jaanam fabiya ki zindah maanam;
Pas azan ki man na-maanam bacha kar khuahi aaamad.


Another version:

Tonight there came a news that you, oh beloved, would come –
Be my head sacrificed to the road along which you will come riding!
All the gazelles of the desert have put their heads on their hands
In the hope that one day you will come to hunt them….

The attraction of love won’t leave you unmoved;
Should you not come to my funeral,
you’ll definitely come to my grave.
My soul has come on my lips (e.g. I am on the point of expiring);
Come so that I may remain alive -
After I am no longer – for what purpose will you come?

Note: The alternate translation is by A. Schimmel


Color me in colors of love

Color me in colors of love,
You are my lover of lovers,
Color me in your love.
Color my scarf and my lover’s turban,
Color them both in the colors of spring.
Whatever you ask in return

I will give you.
I will pawn my youth
If you will.

You are my lover of lovers,
I have now come to your door,
Please guard my pride and dignity.

Color me in colors of love,
You are my lover of lovers,
Color me in your love.


Original in Hindi

Mohay apnay hi rung mein rung lay,
Tu to saaheb mera Mehboob-e-Ilaahi;
Mohay apnay hi rung mein……
Humri chundariya, piyaa ki pagariya,
Woh to donon basanti rung day;
Tu to saaheb mera …….
Jo kuch mangay rung ki rungaai,
Mora joban girvi rakhlay;
Tu to saaheb mera…….
Aan pari darbaar tehaaray,
Mori laaj saram sab rakh lay;
Tu to saaheb mera Mehboob-e-Ilaahi,
Mohay apnay hi rung mein rung lay


Just by casting a glance

You stole me just by casting a glance,
You made me drunk in love,
You made me loony in love,
Just by casting a glance.
You hold my fair arms,
You hold my green bangles,
You take my life,
Just by casting a glance.

O dyer of my clothes!
You have dyed me in your love,
Just by casting a glance.

I give myself to you, O Nijam,
You made me yours
Just by casting a glance.


Original in Hindi

Chhap tilak sab cheeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Chhap tilak sab cheeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Prem bhatee ka madhva pilaikay
Matvali kar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Gori gori bayyan, hari hari churiyan
Bayyan pakar dhar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Bal bal jaaon mein toray rang rajwa
Apni see kar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Khusrau Nijaam kay bal bal jayyiye
Mohay Suhaagan keeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Chhap tilak sab cheeni ray mosay naina milaikay


A Daughter-Mother Duet

Mother, send me my daddy,
The rains have come.
Daughter, your daddy is now old,
How can he come?

Mother, send me my brother,
The rains have come.

Daughter, you brother is too young,
He cannot come.

Mother, send me my uncle,
The rains have come.

Daughter, your uncle is a loony in love,
He will not come.


Original in Hindi

Amman meray baba ko bhaijo ri - Ke saavan ayaa
Beti tera baba to boodha ri - Ke saavan ayaa

Amman meray bhai ko bhaijo ri - Ke saavan ayaa
Beti tera bhai to baala ri - Ke saavan ayaa

Amman meray mamu ko bhaijo ri - Ke saavan ayaa
Beti tera mamu to baanka ri - Ke saavan ayaa


Enjoy the spring, beautiful bride

Enjoy the spring, beautiful bride,
Enjoy the spring today.
Put on the make-up
On you face and lashes
And comb your long hair.
You're still deep in sleep,
Get up, beautiful bride.
Destiny is knocking on your door,
Enjoy this spring, O bride.

A snobbish lady with arrogant looks,
That’s what you are.
King Amir, on seeing you,
Will cast love-glances on you.

The spring is here again,
Enjoy the spring today.


Original in Hindi

Aaj basant manaalay suhaagun,
Aaj basant manaalay;
Anjan manjan kar piya mori,
Lambay neher lagaaye;
Tu kya sovay neend ki maasi,
So jaagay teray bhaag, suhaagun,
Aaj basant manalay…..;
Oonchi naar kay oonchay chitvan,
Ayso diyo hai banaaye;
Shaah-e Amir tohay dekhan ko,
Nainon say naina milaaye,
Suhaagun, aaj basant manaalay.


Couplets of Amir Khusrau
The original 'doahs' are in Hindi and the translations are mine.

On the night of honey moon,
The bride is awake all night,
Lying in bed with her groom.
She says: “My body is mine,
But my heart is yours,
We are now one in love.”

Khusrau raen suhaag ki, jaagi pi ke sung,
Tun mero mun pi-u ko, dovu bhaye ek rung.

My beloved left me,
He left me and crossed the river,
All on his own.
I am now standing here,
All alone.

Bae gaye baalam, bae gaye nadia kinaar,
Aapay paar utar gaye, hum to rahay ehi paar


O brother! O oarsman!
Please take me across the river.
I will give you in return,
Bangles of gold on my wrists
And the necklace around my neck

Bhai ray malla jo hum kon paar utaar,
Haath ka devongi mandra, gal ka devun haar.


Before I went to see my beloved,
I put all make-up
To look beautiful in my face.
When I saw how handsome he was,
I forget all my make-up,
I even forgot my face.

Apni chhab banaikay, jo main pi kay paas gayi
Chhab dekhi jab piyu ki so apni bhool gayi.


With my beloved I play
The game of love.
If I win, he is mine,
If I lose, I am his.

Khusrau baazi prem ki main khelun pi ke sung,
Jeet gayi to piya moray, haari, pi kay sung.


My beautiful lady is
Waiting for me,
Sitting on a bed of flowers.
Let me hurry,
The night is falling fast,
Let me hurry back home.

Gori sovay sej par, mukh par daaray kes,
Chal Khusrau ghar aapnay, saanjh bhayee chahu des.


What you need to do is this:
Put you soul and heart to work,
As Hindus always do.
In their Karma, they even burn
Themselves as offerings to their gods.

Khusrau aesee peet kar, jaisay hindu joye,
Poot karaye kaarnay, jal jal koyla hoye.


The river of love goes
Strangely against its flow.
Those who jump into it,
They drown.
And those who drown,
Find love.

Khusrau darya prem ka, ulti wa ki dhaar,
Jo utra so doob gaya, jo dooba so paar.


Sej wo sooni dekh ke rovun main din raen,
Piya piya main karat hoon pehron, pal bhar sukh na chaen.

Seeing an empty bed
I cry day and night,
I go here and there
Saying, O darling! O sweetheart!
Every moment I feel restless.


Khusrau baazi prem ki main khelun pi ke sung,
Jeet gayi to piya moray, haari, pi kay sung.

With my lover I am playing
The game of love,
If I win, he is mine
If I lose, I am his.


Khusrau darya prem ka, ulti wa ki dhaar,
Jo utra so doob gaya, jo dooba so paar.

Strange are the ways
Where the river of love flows,
Those who jump into it, are drown
Those who are drown, get across.

Kabir ( ) Hindi Poet

Jaise til mein tael hai, Jyon chakmak mein aag
Tera saayee tujh mein hai, Tu jaag sakey to jaag

Like the oil in the sesame seed,
Like the fire in flames,
Your Lord is within you.
Find him if you can.

Dheere dheere rey manah, dheere sub kuch hoye
Maali seenche sau ghara, ritu aaye phal hoye

Be patience, O my mind!
With patience you get everything.
A gardener may use
A hundred vessels of water,
The plants will bear fruits,
Only when the season comes.


Darling, come home

I am suffering without you,
Everyone says I am your woman,
But I am beginning to doubt it now.

You do not embrace me to your heart,
How can you say you love me?
I do not feel like eating,
Nor do I feel like sleeping.

I am restless at my home,
I long for you, my dear
Like thirsty long for the water.
Could someone who wishes well

Go and tell this to my lover:
Kabir is not doing well,
He’s going to die
Not seeing his lover.


Original in Bhijpuri/Punjabi

Baalam Avo Humre Geh Re,
Tum Bin Dukhiya Deh Re
Sab Koi Kahet Tumhari Nari,
Mo Ko Eehe Andeh Re
Dil Se Nahin Dil Lagayo,
Tub Laga Kaisa Sneh Re
Ek mek Ve Sej Na Soyo,
Tub Lug Kaisa Neh Re
Anna Na Bhave Neend Na Aave,
Ghar Bar Dhare Na Dheer Re
Kamin Hai Balam Pyara,
Jyon Pyase Ko Neer Re
Hai Koi Aisa Upkari,
Piv Se Kahun Sunaye Re
Ab To Behal Kabir Bhayo Hai,
Bin Dekhe Jiya Jaye Re

Jayadeva ( ) Sanskrit Poet

Opening Verses of Gita Govinda

“Hey Radha!
Thick clouds are gathering in the sky
Over the woodlands of tamaala-trees,
It is getting dark fast
And he is feeling fearful.
Please take him home.”
Nanada thus asked Radha.

She leads Mahdva home.
But soon begins her passion-plays
On the way back home,
Under each tree,
In the groves on the banks
Where Yamuna river flows.
They are going to be amorous
In their passion-plays.



I, the kingly poet Jayadeva,
Am going to scribe Gita Govinda,
The love story of passions played
By Radha and Krishna in the following way.
Saraswati, the deity of speech,
Is now coloring my soul with stories,
Like the murals on house-walls.
I’ve become the king of poets
Worshipping at goddess-Lakshmi’s feet
And loving my wife, Padamavati,
Who put my lyrics to rhythms
By dancing on her feet.

O people of grace!
If you hearts are
Seeking Krishna’s love
And if you desire to know
How women flirt with men,
Then listen to Jayadeva’s song,
Singing praises of Krishna
In pleasing words.

Note: The rendering is from a literal English translation.

Mirabai ( ) Hindi Poet

I sing for him joyfully

Rain drops are falling from clouds
In the month of monsoon,
How pleasant to the heart!
But in the month of monsoon,
My heart begins longing for him.
I hear the sounds of his coming,
The clouds go on gathering
In every direction I see,
The lightening strikes the skies,
The rain falls in small drops
And a cool breeze begins flowing.
How pleasant to the heart!
My Lord is the Dark One,
I sing for him joyfully.

Balmukund Dave ( ) Gujrati Poet

While Vacating the Old Home

Several times I looked and found many things:
An old broom, a toothbrush, a piece of unused soap,
A cap-less bottle, an old tin waste-bin, a leaking-bucket,
A pair of broken glasses, clips, buttons, pins, a needle and thread.
I took the name-plate off my door and put it in the waiting truck.

I stood there to see fully the grounds
Where we spent the first ten years of happily married life.
My son, now like a king of gods, came here to our life.
Here too we sadly gave to the holy fires our other son.
He is calling now from a corner and saying:
“ Mommy, daddy, you forgot nothing to take with you,
Have you forgotten me?”
While taking my final steps, a sharp piece of broken glass
Pierces my bare foot and I see pearls
Of blood on the footprints l leave behind.

Note: The literal version of the original poem Junu Ghar Khali Karta was kindly sent to me by Maansi Mehta.

Prathibha Nandakumar ( ) Kannada Poet

A strange thing happened this morning,
The mirror stared at me,
Telling me to go and pack everything.
Ignoring it I went to the kitchen
Where on the gas-stove oil was boiling,
A mouse trap and roach killer
Were there among other things.
Look, learn from Hoshiang they retorted.
But that’s all I do, nothing new
Nothing else is there that makes sense.
So scolding them back I finished
All the work I had to do.
Coming out it so happened
I knocked down the mirror.
It shattered.
I could not see my face.

Note: Literal translation by Geeta Jayaram.
Final free verse version is mine.

Bhai Veer Singh ( ) Punjabi Poet

You came to me in dreams,
I leapt to embrace you.
But you were pure light,
I could not hold you.
My arms kept trembling.

Basaveshwara ( 12th century A.D. ) Kannada Poet

Let your words be like a strand of pearls
Let your words be like a lamp of gems
Let your words be like a crystal weapon
At your words may God say, “yes, yes”
Should your deeds not match your words
No favors from Kudala Sangama Deva would come

Note: Submitted by Geeta Jayaram with literal
translation in English.The final version here is mine.

Avtaar Singh Pash ( ) Punjabi Poet

I seek farewell
My beloved, I seek farewell
I had wanted to write a poem
Which you could have read till you lived

In that poem, there would have been mention of -
The fragrance of corriander
The rustle of sugarcane
also, of the dew seeping from the trees
and the froth of milk in the bucket
And everyhting else-
That I saw in your body, would have found a mention

In that poem-
The stiffness of my hands had to smile
The fish plates of my thighs had to swim
And the soft shawl of my chest hair
would have reeked of love
In that poem for you
for me
and for life's every relation
There would have been a lot

But it is too tasteless-
to struggle with the contours of thw world map
And even If I wrote that poem, full of good omen
It would have died,
Leaving me and you wailing over its chest

My love, the poem has become very immaterial
As the weapons continue growing their nails
And before every poem
It has become necessary
to fight with these weapons

In a war
Everything is easily understood
as easily as the enemy's and one's own name
and in this situation -
Comparing the roundness of my lips, ready to kiss
With the roundness of Earth
Or comapring the bend in your back
to the breath of Ocean
would have felt like like a joke
And that is why I did not...

I could not make it possible - keeping in one line
Your desire to feed my child in our courtyard
and the totality of war

And now i seek farewell
and now I seek farewell

You will have to forhet everyhting, my love
Except this, that I had an unsatiating desire to live
That I wanted to drown, till my neck, in life
You live my part of life as well, my love
You live my part of life as well

Translated by Rahul Pandita

Ghalib ( ) Urdu and Persian Poet


Who could stop the maddening love of Laila?
The house of wandering Majnun in the desert had no doors.

maana((-e va;hshat-;xaraamiihaa-e lail;aa kaun hai
;xaanah-e majnuun-e .sa;hraa-gard be-darvaazah thaa

How little is the world of crushed ones!
Even an ant’s egg appears to be a sky.

kyaa tang ham sitam-zadagaa;N kaa jahaan hai
jis me;N kih ek bai.zah-e mor aasmaan hai

Though we reveled in crushing stone idols,
On our way there still stands another heavy stone.

har-chand subuk-dast hu))e but-shikanii me;N
ham hai;N to abhii raah me;N hai sang-e giraa;N aur

They say people go on living on hope,
But I have no hope even of living.

kahte hai;N jiite hai;N ummiid pah log
ham ko jiine kii bhii ummiid nahii;N


Your mystic words

Your mystic words,
Your ways of telling them,
Could have made you a saint;
But your drunkenness was so quaint!


Original in Urdu:

yih masail-e tasavvuf yih tera bayan Ghalib
tujhe ham vali samajhte jo na bada khar hota.


My Longings

Hazaron khvahishen aisi kih har khvahish pe dam nikle
Bahut nikle mere arman lekin phir bhi kam nikle


My longings were in thousands,
To fulfill each I could die.
Though many were fulfilled,
Others were a far cry.

Harivanshrai Bachchan ( ) Hindi Poet

Sun, kalkal, chhalchhal, madhu-
ghat se girti, pyaalon mein haalaa,
Sun runjhun, runjhun, chal
Vitaran karti madhu saakibaalaa;
Bas aa pohonche, door nahin kuch,
Chaar kadam ab chalna hai;
Chehek rahe, sun, peene waale,
Mehak rahi, le, madhushala.

Listen to the bubbles crackling,
The goblets are being filled with drinks.
Listen to the sounds of tinkling bells
Tied around the barmaid’s feet.
We are now near, not far,
Only four steps away.
Lisen to the laughter of the drunkards,
See, how fragrant the tavern smells!

Dharm granth sab jalaa chuki hai
Jiske antar ki jwalaa,
Mandir, masjid, girje -- sab ko
Tod chuka jo matwaalaa,
Pandit, momin, paadriyon ke
Phandon ko jo kaat chuka,
Kar sakti hai aaj ussi ka
Swaagat meri madhushala.

He whose inner flames
Have burnt down all holy texts,
He who in desertion has tore down
All temples, churches and mosques,
He who has gotten loose
Of pundit’s, mullah’s and priest’s bonds,
My tavern today would welcome only him.

Ek baras mein ek baar hi
Jalti holi ki jwaalaa,
Ek bar hi lagti baazi,
Jagti deepon ki maalaa;
Duniya waalo, kintu, kisi din
Aa madiraalay mein dekho,
Din ko holi, raat diwali,
Roz manati madhushala.

Only once in a year,
The fires of Holi go up in flames
And the garlands of lit
Lamps are displayed like chains.
But folks, come to the tavern any day,
To see Holi celebrations all day
And Diwali jubilations all night.

Do din hi madhu mujhe pilaa kar
Oob uthi saaqi baalaa,
Bhar kar ab khiska deti hai
Voh mere aage pyaalaa,
Naaz, adaa, andaazon se ab,
Hai, pilaanaa door hua,
Ab to kar deti hai keval
Farz-adaayee madhushala.

Serving me drinks for just two days,
The bar maid has grown sullen of me,
After filling the goblet now
She slides it in front of me.
All that toying, charm and dalliance
In serving me, alas! all has gone.
Now she only fulfills
Her duties while serving me.

Pranpriye, gar shrradh kro to,
Tum mera eysa karna,
Pinewalon to bulwa kar,
Khulwa dena Madhushala.

O dear! if you are kind,
Would you do this for me:
Invite all the lovers of liquors
And open to them the tavern for me.

from Madushala

Sahir Ludhyanavi ( ) Urdu Poet and Lyricist

O Gentlemen

It is your blood or theirs,
It is the human blood after all.
War may go on in the East or the West,
It will bleed the peace of world, after all.

Bombs may fall on homes or on outskirts,
They wound the spirit of life after all.
Our crops may burn or theirs,
The famine will kill humans, after all.

Tanks may move forward or recede
They tear open the Earth after all.
Be it the victory of war or the mourning of defeat,
Life sheds tears on death after all.

So, O gentlemen!
It is better to end the war.
In the courtyards, yours and ours,
It is better to keep the candles burning.


Khoon apna ho ya paraya ho
Nasl-e-aadam ka khoon hai aakhir
Jung Maghrib mein ho ke Mashriq mein
Amn-e-aalam ka khoon hai aakhir.

Bam gharon par girey ke sarhad par
Rooh-e-taameer zakhm khaati hai
Kheit apney jalein ke auron ke
Zeest faaqon mein tilmilaati hai.

Tank aage barhen ke peeche hatein
Kokh dharti ki baanjh hoti hai
Fateh ka jashn ho ke haar ka soq
Zindgi mayyaton pe roti hai.

Is liye aye shareef insaano
Jung chalti rahe to behtar hai
Aap aur hum, sabhi ke aangan mein
Shama jalti rahe to behtar hai.


You keep on running away from the world

You keep on running away from the world,
How can you realize the higher one?
You could not make peace with this world,
You are going to regret in the next world.

What are the sins, what are the virtues?
All rituals seem to be stamped with religions.
How will you make the evolving religions
Ideal with the changing times?

Sensual pleasures are there too to test for,
You don’t know them by abandoning the world.
You will insult the higher one
If you keep on kicking this world.

I say this world is all ours,
You say this world is a dream.
I will pass away living full life,
You will die wasting your life.


Sansar se bhaage phirte ho
Bhagwaan ko tum kya paoge
Is lok ko bhi apna na sakye
Ush lok mein bhi pachtaaoge

Yeh Paap hein kyaa Ye punya hein kya
Reeton par dharam ki muharyen hein
Harr yug mein badalte dharmo ko
Kaise aadarsha banaoge

Ye bhog bhi ek tapasya hai
Tum tyag ke maarye kya jaano
Apmaan racheta ka hoga
Rachana ko agar thukraaoge

Hum kahete hein ye jag apna hein
Tum kehete ho jhootha sapna hein
Hum janam bitakar jaayenge
Tum janam gawaan kar jaaoge


Sometime, Sometime

Sometime I go on wondering:
If I had lived in the shadows of your curls,
My life would have been full of delights.
This darkness, the fate of my life,
Could have been lost in your eyes-lights.

It was not possible for me being a stranger
To lose myself in your elegance---
Your soft body, your hawk-like half-opened eyes—
And to live in a beautiful setting.

If bitterness of the world had called on me,
I would have taken from your lips a sip of sweetness.
If life had screamed to pull my head away from you,
I would have quietly lived in dark shadows of your hair.

But it could not happen.
It could not happen and now such are the things:
You are not with me, your sorrows and desires are not with me.
My life is now passing in ways
I desire no assurance from anyone.

I have been through all worries in the world,
I am walking now on roads unknown.
Dreadful shadows now surround me,
Wishing thorns—pains—to me.

Free, without a goal or a guiding light,
My life is now wandering through emptiness.
I will be lost in this emptiness one day,
I know this, my friend, but still

Sometime I go on wondering.

Note: S5L3,4 need revision.


Kabhi Kabhi

'kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai
ke zindagi teri zulfon ki narm chaon mein
guzarne pati to SHADAB ho bhi sakti thi
ye TIRAGI jo mere ZIST ka muqaddar hai
teri nazar ki SHUAON mein kho bhi sakti thi

ajab na tha ke main BEGANA-ILM hokar
tere JAMAL ki RANAION mein kho rahta
tera GADAZ badan teri NEEM BAAZ aankhen
inheen haseen FAZAOON mein main hoh rahta

pukarteen mujhe jab TALKHIYAN zamane ki
tere labon se HALAWAT ke ghoont pe leta
HAYAT cheekhti phirti BAREHNA-SAR aur mein
GHANERI zulfon ke saaye mein chup ke jee leta

magar yeh ho na saka,
magar yeh ho na saka aur ab yeh aalam hai
ke tu nahin tera gham teri JUSTJOO bhi nahin
guzar rahi hai kuch is tarah zindagi jaise
ise kisi ke sahare ki aarzoo bhi nahin

zamaane bhar ke dukhon ko laga chuka hoon gale
guzar raha hoon kuch anjani RAHGUZARON se
MUHIB SAAYE meri SIMAT bharte aate hain

na koi JADAH na manzil na roshni ka suragh
bhatak rahi hai KHALON mein zindagi meri
inheen KHALON mein rah jaaonga kabhi kho kar
main jaanta hoon meri HUMNAFAS magar yunhi

kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai'


A Beautiful Turn

Let’s, you and I,
Become strangers once again.

Let me not expect any solace
For love from you,
Nor you cast untoward
Glances at me.

Let my heart not show its beats
In the words I speak,
Nor your eyes reveal
The secrets you keep.

Something stops you
To come to me,
They tell me these splendors
Are not for me.

My friends are
The failures of my past
And you have the shadows
Of nights you spent with me.

If friendship gets sour,
It is better to forget it,
If a bond becomes a burden,
It is better to break it.

If a tale does not come
To its desired end,
It is better to leave it
With a beautiful bend.

Let’s, you and I,
Become strangers once again.


chalo ik baar phir se, ajanabii ban jaae.n ham dono
chalo ik baar phir se . .

na mai.n tumase koI ummiid rakhuu.n dilanavaazii kii
na tum merii taraf dekho galat a.ndaaz nazaro.n se
na mere dil kii dha.Dakan la.Dakha.Daaye merii baato.n se
na zaahir ho tumhaarii kashm\-kash kaa raaz nazaro.n se
chalo ik baar phir se . . .

tumhe.n bhii koI ulajhan rokatii hai peshakadamii se
mujhe bhii log kahate hai.n ki ye jalave paraae hai.n
mere hamaraah bhii rusavaaiyaa.n hai.n mere maazi kii
tumhaare saath bhii guzarii huii raato.n ke saaye hai.n
chalo ik baar phir se ...

taarruf rog ho jaaye to usako bhuulanaa behatar
taalluk bojh ban jaaye to usako to.Danaa achchhaa
vo afasaanaa jise a.njaam tak laanaa naa ho mumakin
use ek khuubasuurat mo.D dekar chho.Danaa achchhaa
chalo ik baar phir se ...

Sometimes at Myself

Sometimes at myself,
Sometimes at things around me,
I began shedding my tears.
A soon as the words came out,
They brought tears to my eyes.
I thought I had forgotten her.
But what happened today?
What words made me cry?

What for do I live?
What for do I live?
Asking these questions,
Brought tears to my eyes.


Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Haalaat Pe Rona Aaya
Baat Nikli To Har Ik Baat Pe Rona Aaya

Hum To Samjhe The Ki Hum Bhool Gaye Hain Unko
Kya Hua Aaj Yeh Kis Baat Pe Rona Aaya
Kabhi Khud Pe...

Kis Liye Jeete Hain Hum Kiske Liye Jeete Hain
Baarha Aise Sawalat Pe Rona Aaya
Kabhi Khud Pe...

Shiv Kumar Batalvi ( ) Punjabi Poet

This Song of Mine

Do not sing
this song of mine,
I’ll sing this myself
before I die!

This song of mine
is darker than the earth,
it’s as old as the sun.
Since many births
I’ve been carrying
the burden of its words.
No one can sing
this song of mine,
it was born with me
with me it will die.

Do not sing
this song of mine,
I’ll sing this myself
before I die!
This song has strange sounds,
It’s full of unbearable pains,
It has sounds of crying cranes
in the distant mountains in the autumn,
it has the clamor of sparrows
in the forest at vestal dawn,
it has the whirr of passing winds
in the darkness of nights in the grass.

Do not sing
this song of mine,
I’ll sing this myself
before I die!

Both my song and I
when we pass away,
those who live behind
will go finding my grave,
in one voice they will say:
“Very few unfortunate
can bear so much pain.”

Do not sing
this song of mine,
I’ll sing this myself
before I die.


Those Who Die Young

I will die young
I will pass away full of life
He who dies young
Becomes a flower or a star

Tarannum Riyaz ( ) Urdu Poet


Serpents will hang
curled around her hair strands,
her beautiful eyes will be pierced
and her tender body placed
on burning hot coal.
What mercy could she expect
after her crime.
Though Allah rules every heart
and there’s some rightful master for everyone,
She still loves the man they forbid.


Roses of Love

If you go away and leave me behind,
the world will not come to an end,
I’ll not in pinning pass my time.
Get lost if you are unfaithful.
I shall share my pain with some else
in the beautiful garden of life.
I too shall pick the roses of love.

Amrita Pritam ( ) Punjabi Poet

Ode to Waris Shah

Today I ask Waris Shah to speak up from his grave,
And in his book of love add another page.

Once a daughter of Punjab wept and he wrote tirelessly for her
Today thousands of daughters weep all calling Waris Shah.

O soother of the stricken, arise and see your Punjab!
Corpses are everywhere, the blood is flowing in Chenab!

Someone put poison in the waters of five rivers,
The rivers in turn fed the fields there.

Where once they heard love songs, the flute is lost,
To all Ranjha’s brothers, the art of playing flute is lost.

Rains of blood came, the blood seeped from graves,
The princesses of love cried out from graves.

Today they’re all like Qaidoo now, thieves of beauty and love,
Where can we find another Waris Shah once more?

Today I ask Waris Shah to speak up from his grave,
And in his book of love add another page.

Gagan Gill ( ) Hindi Poet

She Will Come Back In Her Body

She will return in her body
She will need him
Like sins, like virtues.

At some unknown place,
In some unknown room,
She will love him in her heart.

As if walking in a dream,
She will go there,
Uninvited without a reason.

All within herself,
For centuries she’ll sit there
Where the dreams wait
To go crazy in desires.

She will need him
Like a dream
That she saw
Only with her open eyes,

As if he were a shoulder
To lean on to cry.
As if wanting someone is a curse,
An unending wailing
Or a dialogue with self,
She will need him.

As if needing someone is preserving happiness
And keeping sorrow at a distance,
She will need him.

As if it is an incurable malady,
As if it is to get out of a sorcerer’s spell,
She will need him.

She will need him
Like a sin,
Like a virtue
And will return in her body

Like a hidden wound.



Here she will hide in her skeleton
Escaping the assaults
On her youthful beauty.

Here she will bury herself
Under her grief,
Hiding from her soul.

Here she will go through
The ordeals of her body and dreams.

She will look for a corner
In the poetry of others.

This is the stone
That she will lick.

The one that is a fish
And the other, a fish without fins,
Both will drown here.
Right here.

Note: Gagan Gill is telling here the plight
of a married Indian woman. "Here" stands for the
home where she lives in a joint family. The poem is
full of metaphors, hard to put into English free verse.



Chepegi weh
Kankal main apne
Yuva chawi se baachkar

Yahan dhansegi weh
Santap main apney
Atma se chip kar

Noch dalegi
Yahan vipikhsta
Deh aur swapan

Dundeghi weh
Tinka bhar jagah
Dusron ki kavita main

Yahi weh pathar hai
Jisey chantegi weh

Ek jo machli hai
Ek jo a-machli hai

Dono hi

Yahin par



It is the first night.
The flour is spread
Everywhere on the floor.

She will come,
Perhaps, and go back,
Leaving her foot imprint.

We will sleep,
Perhaps, all morning,
We will sleep.

She will see us,
Perhaps, but later
She will not see us.

We will pluck,
Perhaps, in the morning
We will pluck our hair.

She will rest,
Perhaps, midway
She will rest.

We will forget,
Perhaps, this grief
We will forget.


A desire in bangles

A desire runs in the bangles of a girl
First they will break on his bed
then on the threshold of his house

Why on the threshold?

Because in the girl
there’s a mourning woman
The woman who is a widow
Not yet
But she will be

The girl’s fear throbbing in her veins
runs to her bangles
Her desire throbs in them
Her mourning throbs in them


Where is the girls’ man
the man for whom mourning runs in her veins
and for whom desire is in her bangles?

Her man is trapped
in some other body
in some other dream
other sorrow, other tear
His each suffering, dream, tear
is beyond the reach of the girl’s mourning…

But the girl is just a girl
She is filled with the same primal
innocence, madness, deadness
whose punishment
she will give that man
one day
when she breaks her bangles…