Discussion:
English Translation of Some Verses By Ghalib
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Afzal A. Khan
2012-07-13 17:49:15 UTC
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I think we have spent a good deal of time in discussing
Rendition/Translation and the inherent difficulties.


To sort of round off the discussion, here are some verses
of Ghalib, with their English translation. In each case,
more than one translation is available.

I have omitted the translators' names, as these will not
serve any useful purpose.


1. Dil-e-naadaaN tujhe huwa kya hai
AaKHir is dard ki dawa kya hai

O simple heart, what has befallen thee ?
What remedy can there be for thy pain ?

What is ailing thee, my simpleton heart ?
What is the remedy for your pain, eventually ?

My foolish heart ! What has become of you ?
No cure for this pain ? What can I do ?

What ails you, you silly heart ?
What could ease, this disease ?
And oh ! this pain
What could be its medicine ?


2. Sab kahaaN kuchh lala-o-gul men numaayaaN ho gayeeN
KHaak men kya soor'teN hoNgi jo pinhaaN ho gayeeN


Not all the forms of beauty
In the lovely flowers appear
O, hidden in the dust what a number
Of beauteous forms may be there.

Not all, but some have appeared as tulip and roses
Much beauty must there be concealed in the earth !

The tulip and the rose reveal the faces of a few
How many lie beneath the dust! those beauties that I knew ?

Of the multitude sliding into the dust below
Only a few could sprout as poppy and rose;
But the loveliness of those faces
That were laid in eternal rest, who knows !

What novel graces and beauties strange
Lie mouldering in the dust, who knows ?
In roses and in tulips, not all,
But only a few of them, it shows !


3. 'Ishrat-e-qatra hai dar'ya men fana ho jaana
Dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jaana

Glory it is for the drop
To merge with the ocean
Pain ceases to be
Once beyond redemption

Water-bead ecstasy : dying in the stream;
Too strong a pain brings its own balm

The ecstasy of a drop is to annihilate itself into ocean
The pain going beyond bounds turns into its own panacea

To be annihilated in the sea
Is the delight of every drop
When pain exceeds the limit
It becomes its own remedy

Blessed is the drop
That loses itself in the sea;
Pain untold
Doth prove its own remedy


4. Jab mai'kada chhuTa to phir ab kya jagah ki qaid
Masjid ho, madrasa ho, koi KHaan'qaah ho


Once the tavern is renounced
Then for place what grouse ?
A mosque, a house of learning,
Or just any other house

On leaving the tavern, what restriction is there ?
It may be a mosque or a school, or a KHaan'qaah

When I have to leave the tavern
Why is there any need to go
To another place -- no matter
Whether mosque or school or monastery ?



Although one should not doubt the translators' honest or sincere
intentions, but the original beauty and grace of Ghalib's verses
are simply impossible to replicate.

While it may not be necessary to ponder over the inappropriate
words or expressions, it must be mentioned that, in the case of the
third sher above, all translators seem to have missed (perhaps
deliberately ?) the metaphysical sense of Ghalib's sher :

'Ishrat-e-qatra hai dar'ya men fana ho jaana
Dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jaana

Maulana Altaf Husain Haali has explained it thus in his well-known
book "Yaadgaar-e-Ghalib" :

"Jab dard had se guzar jaayega to mar jaayeNge, ya'ni fana ho
jaayeNge (ya'ni waasil~billah ho jaayeNge). Goya qatra dar'ya
men khap jaayega aur yehi is ka (qatre ka) maqsood hai. Y'ani
dard ka had se guzar jaana, yehi is ka dawa ho jaana hai."




Afzal
Vijay Kumar
2012-07-13 21:50:39 UTC
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      I think we have spent a good deal of time in discussing
      Rendition/Translation and the inherent difficulties.
      To sort of round off the discussion, here are some verses
      of Ghalib, with their English translation. In each case,
      more than one translation is available.
      I have omitted the translators' names, as these will not
      serve any useful purpose.
      1.   Dil-e-naadaaN tujhe huwa kya hai
           AaKHir is dard ki dawa kya hai
                O simple heart, what has befallen thee ?
                What remedy can there be for thy pain ?
                  What is ailing thee, my simpleton heart ?
                  What is the remedy for your pain, eventually ?
                My foolish heart ! What has become of you ?
                No cure for this pain ? What can I do ?
                  What ails you, you silly heart ?
                  What could ease, this disease ?
                  And oh ! this pain
                  What could be its medicine ?
      2.   Sab kahaaN kuchh lala-o-gul men numaayaaN ho gayeeN
           KHaak men kya soor'teN hoNgi jo pinhaaN ho gayeeN
                Not all the forms of beauty
                In the lovely flowers appear
                O, hidden in the dust what a number
                Of beauteous forms may be there.
                    Not all, but some have appeared as tulip and roses
                    Much beauty must there be concealed in the earth !
              The tulip and the rose reveal the faces of a few
              How many lie beneath the dust! those beauties that I knew ?
                    Of the multitude sliding into the dust below
                    Only a few could sprout as poppy and rose;
                    But the loveliness of those faces
                    That were laid in eternal rest, who knows !
               What novel graces and beauties strange
               Lie mouldering in the dust, who knows ?
               In roses and in tulips, not all,
               But only a few of them, it shows !
      3.   'Ishrat-e-qatra hai dar'ya men fana ho jaana
           Dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jaana
                      Glory it is for the drop
                      To merge with the ocean
                      Pain ceases to be
                      Once beyond redemption
                 Water-bead ecstasy : dying in the stream;
                 Too strong a pain brings its own balm
              The ecstasy of a drop is to annihilate itself into ocean
              The pain going beyond bounds turns into its own panacea
                  To be annihilated in the sea
                  Is the delight of every drop
                  When pain exceeds the limit
                  It becomes its own remedy
                         Blessed is the drop
                         That loses itself in the sea;
                         Pain untold
                         Doth prove its own remedy
     4.    Jab mai'kada chhuTa to phir ab kya jagah ki qaid
           Masjid ho, madrasa ho, koi KHaan'qaah ho
                   Once the tavern is renounced
                   Then for place what grouse ?
                   A mosque, a house of learning,
                   Or just any other house
              On leaving the tavern, what restriction is there ?
              It may be a mosque or a school, or a KHaan'qaah
                      When I have to leave the tavern
                      Why is there any need to go
                      To another place -- no matter
                      Whether mosque or school or monastery ?
     Although one should not doubt the translators' honest or sincere
     intentions, but the original beauty and grace of Ghalib's verses
     are simply impossible to replicate.
     While it may not be necessary to ponder over the inappropriate
     words or expressions, it must be mentioned that, in the case of the
     third sher above, all translators seem to have missed (perhaps
             'Ishrat-e-qatra hai dar'ya men fana ho jaana
             Dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jaana
     Maulana Altaf Husain Haali has explained it thus in his well-known
         "Jab dard had se guzar jaayega to mar jaayeNge, ya'ni fana ho
          jaayeNge (ya'ni waasil~billah ho jaayeNge).  Goya qatra dar'ya
          men khap jaayega aur yehi is ka (qatre ka) maqsood hai.  Y'ani
          dard ka had se guzar jaana, yehi is ka dawa ho jaana hai."
     Afzal
Here is one attempt by UVR sahib of 'dil-e-naddaN....'. I must say it
is more poetic than most posted here. But the point remains that
translating poetry one from language to another is a hopeless
endeavour:

Is there a cure for thy malady
What, oh piteous heart, ails thee?

Vijay Kumar
Afzal A. Khan
2012-07-13 22:53:16 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Vijay Kumar
Post by Afzal A. Khan
I think we have spent a good deal of time in discussing
Rendition/Translation and the inherent difficulties.
To sort of round off the discussion, here are some verses
of Ghalib, with their English translation. In each case,
more than one translation is available.
I have omitted the translators' names, as these will not
serve any useful purpose.
1. Dil-e-naadaaN tujhe huwa kya hai
AaKHir is dard ki dawa kya hai
O simple heart, what has befallen thee ?
What remedy can there be for thy pain ?
What is ailing thee, my simpleton heart ?
What is the remedy for your pain, eventually ?
My foolish heart ! What has become of you ?
No cure for this pain ? What can I do ?
What ails you, you silly heart ?
What could ease, this disease ?
And oh ! this pain
What could be its medicine ?
2. Sab kahaaN kuchh lala-o-gul men numaayaaN ho gayeeN
KHaak men kya soor'teN hoNgi jo pinhaaN ho gayeeN
Not all the forms of beauty
In the lovely flowers appear
O, hidden in the dust what a number
Of beauteous forms may be there.
Not all, but some have appeared as tulip and roses
Much beauty must there be concealed in the earth !
The tulip and the rose reveal the faces of a few
How many lie beneath the dust! those beauties that I knew ?
Of the multitude sliding into the dust below
Only a few could sprout as poppy and rose;
But the loveliness of those faces
That were laid in eternal rest, who knows !
What novel graces and beauties strange
Lie mouldering in the dust, who knows ?
In roses and in tulips, not all,
But only a few of them, it shows !
3. 'Ishrat-e-qatra hai dar'ya men fana ho jaana
Dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jaana
Glory it is for the drop
To merge with the ocean
Pain ceases to be
Once beyond redemption
Water-bead ecstasy : dying in the stream;
Too strong a pain brings its own balm
The ecstasy of a drop is to annihilate itself into ocean
The pain going beyond bounds turns into its own panacea
To be annihilated in the sea
Is the delight of every drop
When pain exceeds the limit
It becomes its own remedy
Blessed is the drop
That loses itself in the sea;
Pain untold
Doth prove its own remedy
4. Jab mai'kada chhuTa to phir ab kya jagah ki qaid
Masjid ho, madrasa ho, koi KHaan'qaah ho
Once the tavern is renounced
Then for place what grouse ?
A mosque, a house of learning,
Or just any other house
On leaving the tavern, what restriction is there ?
It may be a mosque or a school, or a KHaan'qaah
When I have to leave the tavern
Why is there any need to go
To another place -- no matter
Whether mosque or school or monastery ?
Although one should not doubt the translators' honest or sincere
intentions, but the original beauty and grace of Ghalib's verses
are simply impossible to replicate.
While it may not be necessary to ponder over the inappropriate
words or expressions, it must be mentioned that, in the case of the
third sher above, all translators seem to have missed (perhaps
'Ishrat-e-qatra hai dar'ya men fana ho jaana
Dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jaana
Maulana Altaf Husain Haali has explained it thus in his well-known
"Jab dard had se guzar jaayega to mar jaayeNge, ya'ni fana ho
jaayeNge (ya'ni waasil~billah ho jaayeNge). Goya qatra dar'ya
men khap jaayega aur yehi is ka (qatre ka) maqsood hai. Y'ani
dard ka had se guzar jaana, yehi is ka dawa ho jaana hai."
Afzal
Here is one attempt by UVR sahib of 'dil-e-naddaN....'. I must say it
is more poetic than most posted here. But the point remains that
translating poetry one from language to another is a hopeless
Is there a cure for thy malady
What, oh piteous heart, ails thee?
Vijay Kumar
Yes, I agree, it does seem the best effort amongst all that have
been cited above. BTW, where exactly is Janaab UVR Saheb ? He
seems to have disappeared completely from ALUP (and other NGs
too). I do hope he and his family are in good health.

Afzal
Anil Kala
2012-07-18 04:48:36 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
'Ishrat-e-qatra hai dar'ya men fana ho jaana
Dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jaana
Maulana Altaf Husain Haali has explained it thus in his well-known
"Jab dard had se guzar jaayega to mar jaayeNge, ya'ni fana ho
jaayeNge (ya'ni waasil~billah ho jaayeNge). Goya qatra dar'ya
men khap jaayega aur yehi is ka (qatre ka) maqsood hai. Y'ani
dard ka had se guzar jaana, yehi is ka dawa ho jaana hai."
Afzal
I always thought 'dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jaana' meant reaching a state where one becomes immune to pain therefore 'dawa' ho jaana. In the book 'The Myth of Sisyphus' Albert Camus also conjectures that Sisyphus who was cursed to roll up a boulder uphill ceaselessly, eventually reaches a state of equilibrium where he is resigned to his fate and accepts it. Once he accepts the situation he is in state of peace.
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