Another Translation of Faiz
Professor Dr. Saadat Saeed Urdu Department
is a difficult art. It requires excellent command of both the languages.
Translating poetry is even more difficult. Yaqub Mirza is one of competent
translators. He recently translated Faiz Ahmad Faiz's 30 poems. The collection
"Poems by Faiz" has been published by Jacob Publishers, Nothingham.
Mirza is elder brother of well-known leftist intellectual Ayub Mirza. Yaqub
himself is a poet. He is fully aware of the socio-political contexts of the
poems he has translated. He knows that Faiz's poetry is a blend of modernism and
classicism. He is anti-imperialist and wants his countrymen to struggle for
their real liberation. Faiz has pointed out the contradictions of exploiters and
the exploited, oppressors and the oppressed in his famous couplets. Faiz
creatively combines the philosophy of progression with his poetic imagination.
His sensibility indicates his deep sense of contemporary history and politics.
Readers can visulise the manifestation of this awareness in his verses. He has
given to his allegories, symbols, epithets, similes and metaphors
Mirza has also rendered some of Ghalib's ghazals and Iqbal's poems. This was not
an easy task. However through the skill of the translator, these translations
have become original in essence. Yaqub Mirza successfully embraces the passions
of the poets. Mrs Alys Faiz, Mulk Raj Anand, Professor V. G Kiernan. Naomi
Lazard, Aftab Iqbal Shamim, Masud A Shaikh and Lynne Hapgood have greatly
appreciated his translations.
the collection of translations, under discussion, poems and ghazals from Faiz's
poetic collections entitled Ghubar-e-Ayyam, Merey Dil Merey Musafir, Sham-e-Shehryaran,
Sar-e-Wadi-e-Seena, Dast-e-Teh-e-Sang, Zindan Nama, Dast-e-Saba, and
changed the traditional diction of ghazal, the sweetest form of Persian and Urdu
poetry. Using even traditional vocabulary he projected amazingly the complex
contemporary realities. Yaqub Mirza is a man of refined sensibility and has kept
intact his flair for poetry despite his long association with army.
is a stranger to the crowd of his contemporary writers. He does not believe in
the publicity gimmicks that bring a person quickly into limelight. He rightly
believes that Faiz's poetry deals with the backwardness of the third world in
general and the
can distribute my smiles, sorrows, imagination and dreams like most of us can.
We are all poets so far as we express our own feelings in some way or other. But
lyrical expression of another person's mind is altogether a different matter.
Having placed myself in that situation I found it an extremely difficult
decision to make, which poems to translate and which to omit. I solved this
problem by picking them at random. It is merely a coincidence that pattern has
come off to be a blend of some revolutionary, a few love lyrics, plus a couple
of elegies, covering the poetic contributions of Faiz, spread over half a
book also contains a bibliographical sketch of Faiz and contextual notes on
poems. Aftab Iqbal Shamim, who himself is an Urdu poet of great merit, rightly
points out: "Rendering such a poet of multiple dimensions into translation,
is a hard task. It cannot be performed unless the translator established a kind
of spiritual communion with the poet. It is really a hard task.
classicism determines the form and value of his poetry. Deeply rooted in the
classical tradition of Urdu poetry, he draws his symbolism, imagery, form and
diction from the ancients. He invests them with freshness to his purpose,
thereby modernizing the entire vocabulary of Urdu metaphor."
fully conscious of these facts Yaqub Mirza has translated Faiz's poems
a specimen we present here the translation of Faiz's famous poem "Tanhai"
my poor heart,
no, no one.
a way fairer,
his own way
dawn is spreading silver
from the scattering stars.
candles in chambers
shadows on walls
of their downfall
track on watch,
the drowsing deep,
of waiting now
down into sleep
traces of footprints are confused
the alien wind, dust and storm
empty your glass
your vision and
away the flask
down your shutters
lock out your dreams
one will be coming here,
now, so it seems