Thursday 23 August 2007

"Destiny" - A Transcreation

Here is a transcreation based on Faiz A Faiz's revolutionary Urdu nazm 'Hum dekhenge', and written to the metre of another revolutionary song, the Marseillaise.


Fear no more my fellow countrymen
The day we dreamed of has now come!
Oh! See the vile ziggurats crumble
Reduced to ignominous dust!
Reduced to ignominous dust!
Can you hear the revolution
Rumble in the angry streets
It thunders fire and lightning
To strike the oppressors' nemesis!

Our destiny is come
The day given to us
Arise! Arise!
For the cast-iron pledge
Must now be redeemed!

Fear no more my fellow countrymen
The day we dreamed of has now come!
Look! From the temple of our faith
The evil is now exorcised!
The evil is now exorcised!
The good are now restored to their
High exaltations again!
See the generals' stars stripped away
And their thrones, their baubles destroyed!

Our destiny is come
The day given to us
Arise! Arise!
For the cast-iron pledge
Must now be redeemed!

Fear no more my fellow countrymen
The day we dreamed of has now come!
Only His name shall prevail:
Who's Nobody, yet Everybody!
Who's Nobody, yet Everybody!
He Oversees, is the Overseen
His reign shall persist forever!
For He is I and He is You
He is I and He is You!

Our destiny is come
The day given to us
Arise! Arise!
For the cast-iron pledge
Must now be redeemed!

The original by Faiz"-

Hum dekhenge
Lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhenge
Wo din ke jis ka wada hai
Jo looh-e-azl pe likha hai
Hum bhi dekhenge

Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-garan
Rooi ki tarah ud jayenge
Hum mehkoomon ke paaon tale
Ye dharti dhad dhad dhadakegi
Aur ahl-e-hukum ke sar oopar
Jab bijli kad kad kadakegi
Hum bhi dekhenge

Jab arz-e-Khuda ke kaabe se
Sab but uthwae jayenge
Hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-haram
Masnad pe bithaye jayenge
Sab taaj uchhaale jayenge
Sab takht giraaye jayenge
Hum bhi dekhenge

Bas naam rahega Allah ka
Jo ghayab bhi hai hazir bhi
Jo manzar hai naazir bhi
Uthega an-al-Haq ka nara
Jo mai bhi hoon aur tum bhi ho
Aur raaj karegi Khalq-e-Khuda
Jo mai bhi hoon aur tum bhi ho
Hum dekhenge
Lazim hai hum bhi dekhenge
Hum dekhenge

Thursday 16 August 2007

A Gift

If I were to give something to you,
What would you like to have?

Shall I give you gold?
You can make – bangles, rings, anklets.
You may then win over your beloved
And make her yours.
You shall enjoy bliss, perhaps.
But gold is robbed.

Shall I give you iron?
You can forge – hammers, axes, chains.
You may then resist the conquistadores
And interrupt their designs.
You shall be free, perhaps.
But iron rusts.

Shall I give you stones?
You can build – temples, forts, palaces.
You may fear not rain or summer heat.
And be secure in their shelter.
You shall have peace, perhaps.
But edifices ruin.

Shall I give you friends?
We can form – alliances, parties, relations.
We shall have wine and dance and songs
And be mirthful.
You shall have joy, perhaps.
But friends die.

I shall not give you any of these.
I shall give you the one gift I have.

I shall give you words.
You can tell - stories, poems, truths.
You can tell me what you think
About love and peace and freedom and joy.
Your songs will be sung forever.
Your words will never perish.

Saturday 11 August 2007



"Darling", said my truest love,
"Tell me that you love me."
So I told my truest love
That she was loved by me.

"Don't give me words, you cheeky man,
You're good at them I say.
Show by action how you can
Your love for me display."

"I knew it coming, dearest dear,
So do not twist to rhyme.
Tell me what you want to hear.
What do you want this time?"

"I don't want any diamonds. No,
I already have many.
Nor to any foreign country go;
You haven't that much money."

"I'll take you once to Pretoria,
China and The Rhine
And at the Waldorf-Astoria
In splendour we shall dine."

"You can take me to Washington
All in the course of time.
But lets get to the Sheraton
And have French food and wine."

"I love you dear, I really do.
I swear it love of mine!
But one month's pay, and next month's too
For fancy cheese and wine!"

"I knew you'd say this all this while;
My wishes you never heed.
Please me with flowers and a smile,
You think that's all I need."

"You're allergic to flowers, love.
I dare not give you any.
But for you my precious dove,
I shall not spare a penny.">/span>

So at the Sheraton we dine
With my heart in my hands.
Oh! This lovely fool of mine,
She never understands!


"I shall have some Beaujolais
And truffe aux champignons.
And he will have the Chardonnay
With légumes Parisiennes."

"You must have everything you wish,
O verse from the Rubai'at!
But to want the most expensive dish,
Is what is called 'Qayamat'."

"I am the reason why you live
Or do you disagree?
It is not very expensive,
Just one month's salary!"

"I'll have to live on cabbages,
Sandwiches and weak tea.
Your wild fancy ravages
My tenuous solvency."

"I make capital cabbage stew,
I brew very good tea.
I'll make you some sandwiches too.
Enjoy your bankruptcy!"

The dishes come and I begin
To eat my final meal.
But my love for her is put again
To yet one more ordeal.

She eats so very daintily;
Her style is prettier still.
She also eats to scantily;
She has soon had her fill.

"The truffle's good, but not my taste,
I should have had Swiss cheese.
I'm sad to see such food go waste
But it's too rich in Calories!

My friends had been raving why
I must try out this food.
But I'm annoyed that it's priced so high;
It's not at all that good!

Three morsels are all I can eat,
So you can have the rest.
It has been such a lovely treat.
You really are the best."

"You are my pretty ocean-pearl,
My soul's one destiny.
But do not inflict on me, girl,
Such heartless tyranny."

"I'm sorry, dear, I really am.
But I can eat no more.
Cheer up, my manly ram
And do not be so sore.

My hero, I am happy now
That I am loved by you.
I must repay the favour now,
What do I do for you?"

"You are all I ever need,
I care not for the rest.
But do me one little deed
And put my heart at rest."

"I know what you're hinting at;
It is always the same.
It is not tough to predict that;
Love is an easy game!"

"I am not keen on love-display;
I'm too tired for that.
Love me in a better way:

Please that!"


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