I don’t know what attracts me to Urdu…but something does. It is a language close to my heart, a language in which I think…a language I deeply admire…for its beauty and charm!
Here are a few of my attempts with Shayeri (scroll to the end to know what that is)! Along with the Shayeri is its translation in English, with some poetic license of course! Eager to know what you think of some Urdu Shayeri!
Log kehte hain ke duniya se acchai ka janaza nikal gaya,
Magar humne dekha ke khuda ne tumhare zariye use rokne ka bahana dhund liya!
They say the good in the hearts of men so wistfully, briskly wanes
But I have seen the will of God, through you the goodness remains!
Log hume manzilon ke khaab dikhakar bole, “Ye manzil sabse unchi hai!”
Hum bole “Janaab, hum to yahan khushiyan dhundne aaye hain!”
They talked to me about goals and ambitions and told me of one, “That’s the biggest of all!”
I turned to politely say to them, “I come here looking for happiness, know you not?”
Tum apni saanson se hum me jaan phoonkte raho
Taki hum apni saanson me tumhari khushboo kaid kar rakh saken!
Will you keep breathing into me new life, with each breath of yours,
So I can take in how you smell, and never breathe out once more!
Unke pyaar ka junoon kuch yun tha jaanab,
Ki ghanton ke intezaar ka lutf bhi hum sadiyon tak uthate rahe!
An hour of wait, this heart of mine aches, have centuries passed me as I missed thee?
Such is the love, the fire thou stroked, even anticipation I taketh with a pinch of glee!
Use pane ke liye har maidan par fateh pane ki koshish ki
Ki hath maangne se pehle nazar milane ke kabil ho jaun
Jeetkar uski taraf mudkar dekha toh uski sirf parchhai zameen par padi
Aur uski awaz kanon me goonjti rahi… “Shaheenon ko aasman par fateh karne ka shauk hota hai, zameen par raj karne ka nahin!”
I defeated all men and went on to rule all lands
So she would see me fit for her love, and let me hold her hand
I turned to find a mere shadow of hers, sprawled on the turf
And her voice reverberated into my ear, “Falcons like to soar high and conquer the skies, not rule the lands of mortal men!”
Shayeri… many say it translates directly to ‘poetry’ in Urdu. It is a form of poetry that found its structure in Arabic and/or Persian origins. A complex language, Urdu borrows elements from Persian, Arabic and Hindi primarily. Shayeri is a form of Urdu poetry that is usually written in couplets or at the most has 4 lines. Shayeri is usually written to express feelings that arise in the depth of a person’s heart and it’s beauty lies in the fact that such meaning and sentiment is encompassed in but a few words. The reason I am attracted to Shayeri, is for its profound implications, lingering thought and no bars on the word/character limit. It’s a free form of poetry that follows a rhyme but no strict rules for how it is written.
Click here to read more about the origins of Shayeri… You can also find more information on Wikipedia and in the online version of a book by T. Grahame Bailey called A History of Urdu Literature (click here).