This is my translation (or at least the linguistic conversion) of a song from the movie “Haider”, written by Gulzaar. Now that this has been read, the title of the post is explained in itself. I claim no willingness or acquiescence to a comparison, but I suppose there is something to be said about the coruscating, visceral brilliance of his poetry—weaving through the barriers of language eloquently, and yet remaining simple,almost chastely so, transporting the soul, yet settling somewhere close, really close to the skin, soft enough to loll about in, like warm evenings spent soaked in summer leisure,and sharp enough, like bayonets thrust forward in maddening, strife-filled afternoon battlefields, drawing blood and, often, pieces of the soul, that both scares off any stray wishes of tampering with it, and at the same time, inspires one to pick up something, anything, and simply write. 

There are a few feeble nods to the source material for the film in my translation that are not a patch on Gulzaar’s craftsmanship. Now that the job is done, I almost feel like I should delete this. But then a slight feeling of loss snakes through my mind. The loss of something one has created, hideous though it may be, is always a twist in the heart. Should a translation be assessed on the basis of the questionable merits and talents of the translator, which may attract a more sympathetic eye, or should faithfulness to the original be held above all such plebeian considerations, and any attempts to vitiate it’s purity be put down with unforgiving hand?  Aye, That is the question to be dealt with. There’s the rub.


P.S : The song can be heard here, with the original words.




Life burns like a lamp

Flicker, flare and flash

Like a lamp, life shines

It does not fade away, you see,

Your  life does not give up with the wind….


But see now miyaan, a gentle ‘poof’

and all the smoke scatters

that noose made of breath, that mortal coil

that worrying scar melts away

the insistent prickling, the anxieties, the afflictions,

they all melt away..


So come now, won’t you

My beloved?

Come and sleep…


Come now, for life has left

and so has the world, come and sleep.

Come now, is survival not tiresome?

come and sleep….


No dusk, no dawn

there is naught but darkness

No dusk, no dawn,

and inside this hollow darkness,

lies the realm of spirits and wandering souls,

so come and sleep!


ashes to ashes, dust to dust,

scattered to welcoming winds,

the rest is silence…


ashes to ashes, dust to dust,

scattered, like forgotten sins,

the rest is silence…


Now we were, and then, suddenly we weren’t

To be or not to be is the question,may-hap,

The rest is all His doing…


Listen, they say

” He had to die once,

that he was living was merely the Lord’s grace”

“He had many cares on this earth,

but what use, when all of them were just lines drawn onto his forehead?”

There is no cause,no care holding you back here, Miyaan

there is no need to stay

Come, let us leave

hold on to patience

hold on to the grave

and come home….


Come now, life leaves you, and so does the world, sleep…

Come now, life wearies of you, come and sleep.


Come, won’ t you?







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