Saturday, December 08, 2012

Interpreting My Poem - IV

Here is the fourth installment of interpretation of my poems by Archana Gupta. The Urdu verses are of course mine, but the English verses and the interpretation are Archana’s


क्यूँ बादा-ए-गुनाह से मख़्मूर होते हैं

क़त्ल-ए-ख़ुलूस कर के भी मशहूर होते हैं
Why on the wine of crime, are people intoxicated
Despite smothering all sincerity and purity, celebrated?

बादा = wine; गुनाह = crime; मख़्मूर = intoxicated; ख़ुलूस = purity, sincerity;
मशहूर = famous

Why are people so very drunk on their success via a life of crime or wrong-doing?   They completely kill all the goodness and sincerity in them and around them, yet rejoice in the success they achieve by wrong means.  Definite social comment on today's state of affairs and absolutely unabashed culture of success at any cost.


जो हों न उनकी बज़्म में मौजूद हम कभी

क़िस्से हमारे मौज़ू-ए-मज़्कूर होते हैं
Even when I am not present in her gathering
Tales of my exploits set the tongues wagging

बज़्म = gathering; मौज़ू = topic, theme; मज़्कूर = what is mentioned

I am so much a part of her/his life that even when I am not there, my deeds and I are talked about.   Now part of life could be interpreted as positive or negative -  could be so dear or could be the worst enemy / so hated -  in either case, the speaker is not ignored.  Another slightly different way to express the same meaning is that I am well talked about by both friends and foes alike.


रन्जीदगी थी उनको जो मैं पास था नहीं

आया हूँ अब क़रीब तो वो दूर होते हैं
When I stayed away, she always complained of my absence
Now that I try to bridge the gap, she maintains the distance

रन्जीदगी = displeasure

First look suggests that it the poet's lament that the lover used to object that he/she makes no effort to come close (likely emotionally or even simply time wise, he is just not spending enough time with her) but now that he is making an effort, there is not enough reciprocation.  A second thought reveals that it is not clear why is the partner no longer responsive - could be on account of the partner having given up or could be on account of familiarity breeding contempt. And this last thought actually diverges into two -  second one leading to viewing the second line of the she’r as a paradox. 
 
View it as a statement that as the speaker bridges the distance by being present more often physically, some keeps getting created simultaneously, perhaps at the emotional level -  more in the nature of "more time I spend with her, the more I realize we have so little in common and thus the physical decrease of the distance is increasing the emotional divide and taking her further away from me".  So here, they come close to drift apart -  a paradox as good as any....


क्या पत्थरों से होगा मेरे सर पे कोई ज़ख़्म

फूलों से खाई चोट तो मख़्सूर होते हैं
Stones hurled at my head cause it no laceration
But the flowers thrown my way bring most destruction

मख़्सूर = wounded, injured

Obvious slights or perhaps physical attack will cause me no harm (I am immune to that or I consider it insignificant), its the harshness of attitude, perhaps verbal slights or reprimands that cause me most damage (damage to the spirit, wound to heart that is harder to heal).


क्यूँ साकिनान-ए-क़स्र की तारीफ़ करते हो

हक़दार इत्तिसाफ़ के मज़दूर होते हैं
Why are the residents of the palaces showered with ovation
While the men who toil to build them are the ones worthy of recognition?

साकिनान = residents; क़स्र = palace; हक़दार = worthy; इत्तिसाफ़ = praise

Why do the residents of beautiful palaces get the praise?  It truly belongs to the masons that build it.  for example, Taj Mahal is credited to Shah Jahan (& Mumtaz)  with not much thought spared to those who toiled to build it.   Generically and universally applied, its the poet's comment on the world associating credit of a task with the face or the task without assigning due credit to forces behind the actual effort.


है ऐतिमाद जिनको न ताले’अ शिनास पर

जेहाद-ए-ज़िन्दगी में वो मन्सूर होते हैं
Those who less on luck and fortune-tellers lean
More in battles of life they succeed and glean

ऐतिमाद = dependence; ताले’अ शिनास = fortune teller, astrologer; जेहाद = war;
मन्सूर = victorious

I would chalk this one up to a "Karam Pradhan" attitude on the part of the poet. His claim is that those who do not believe in luck or fortune-tellers (but believe in their effort perhaps) are the ones that prevail in the battle of life and become successful. 


अख़्लाक़ का न इल्म किसी काम आयेगा

मिट जाते हैं जो नेकी से मजबूर होते हैं
Sincerity and virtue serve no purpose in this world today
Those who practice these are quickly obliterated away

अख़्लाक़ = virtues; इल्म = knowledge

The knowledge or practice of sincere, virtuous, righteous behavior is of no use in today's world.   Those who are bound by these "virtues" are overcome, defeated, and annihilated.  Yet another comment on the current state of our society.


साये जो हैं लिखे मेरी क़िस्मत में वो कहाँ

फ़ज़्ल-ए-शुआ-ए-शम्स से काफ़ूर होते हैं
The shadows and dark that are to my destiny bound
Are not overcome even by the bright sunshine around

फ़ज़्ल = grace; शुआ = ray; शम्स = sun; काफ़ूर = disappear

Now this is an interesting one based on how you interpret "साये".   If you mean darkness by it, the meaning is straightforward, the darkness that is associated with my life (in form of bad luck), does not get removed even by virtue of bright rays of sun shining upon me.  However if you consider "साये" to be shadows, the shadows are actually only formed when there is light.  Then the nuance is just a little different, the brightness of the world or happiness around me, accentuates or makes more visible, the shadows cast on my own life, rather my unhappiness.


उम्र-ए-शब-ए-फ़िराक़ अगर इतनी हो दराज़

उश्शाक़ वक़्त-ए-वस्ल भी रन्जूर होते हैं
When so long is each night of separation

The days of togetherness are also filled with apprehension

शब = night; फ़िराक़ = separation; दराज़ = long; उश्शाक़ = lovers; वस्ल = union;
रन्जूर = distressed

Literal meaning is that if the duration of the night of separation is so long, the lovers are sad even when they are together (with the thought of impending long separation).  It has a parallel universal application.  When the troubled periods in a life are so intense and long, even when the untroubled times come, a person is so used to staying sad that he/she is unable to enjoy the good times.


मग़रिब को देखता हूँ कि इशराक़ हो वहाँ

क्यूँ काम इस जहाँ के ब-दस्तूर होते हैं
After sunset, I search for light in the west but in vain
Why are the ways of this world so rigid again?

मग़रिब = west; इशराक़ = dawn, day break; ब-दस्तूर = as per norms

Literally speaking, the meaning is, I look at the point where sun has set so find a ray of light, knowing its against the law of nature and expectedly, find none.  I think the under the surface comment is on the inflexibility of the "systems" in this world and the way the world works and how its not willing to change even when the little changes would lead to much betterment.  Sounds like a socio-political comment.