Friday, 23 January 2015

The Other Side

I don’t know for how long the barrage will stand,
But I love the sound of the waves crashing,
I even love the withering they instigate inside it,
I also love the moisture they leave before dying out,
As if placing a heir,
In a land that is unknown and even hostile,
Yet they believe till the point of dying,
That it was meant to be theirs,
I envy that spirit,
The cement of barrage dam envies it, 
to the point of respecting it,
And as the waves come, relentlessly
Like tears come with out shame, amidst long companionship
I stagger at the trust they have,
On the other side of the barrage,
I wish, Oh I wish,
That there was someone else on the other side, instead of  me
I trust the dam, the waves trust me more,
And they know that hitting the wall is just an excuse,
The dam always breaks from the other side.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

English translation of some excerpts from 'Aag ka Darya'

'Sixty two different ideologies...and one life...and man is alone.'

1.'All of us are eternal strangers for each other.'

2.'If your search is over, then why do you use words?'

3.'Brother Gotham, in every epoch, at every turn, you'll find some Nand Bala, some Sajata. And she'll want to come near you to worship you. There is still time.  Open you eyes.'

4.'The vocalist is knowledge, which is the purpose of life. Knowledge entails freedom. Knowledge is the ground of all self. Salvation is in meditation. The self identifies itself with the mind and thus becomes a victim of sorrow and sin and mental and moral weakness. Someone has to do the experiment with nature.

This experiment is done by pure soul.

I too am doing this experiment, he thought. 

And I know not, where I'll end up doing this experiment. 

But no worries.

It is not a question of realism or idealism. The right action is the main thing.'

The silver waves of water kept disrupting themselves at the shore. Gotham removed his eyes from the fire and saw the the waterway which was flowing very peacefully. 

5.'I want to bear pain. I want to be rendered weak. I'll witness my follies myself, I shall bear difficulties.'

6.'The sorrows and trials of mind and heart. I don't want salvation. I really don't want it. Enlightenment is a great thing Shakyamuni, but it is possible that I might pity it. This is the question, O' sacred prince, that who'll question whom?'

7.'He had traveled for ages to see that girl again and now that she was in front of him, he was having a row with her. For he suddenly realized that she is something that is him. A part of his own existence, mind and heart. There was no question of duality here. There was no space or need for any nuisance or strangeness or reservedness; he had known her from the beginning of time.'

8.'Every expression has a purpose which is beyond that expression.'

9.'What is the purpose of freedom? What is its meaning? Who'll decide if you are free or not?', Gotham questioned himself. 'Harri Shankar, what did you find in the quest for freedom? The mysteries that were revealed upon you, who'll know them except you? We can't share our mysteries with anyone.''

10.'Whoever stays awake will fall asleep one day and whoever is sleeping will wake up. Look at those people who stay awake all the time'

11.'Humans don't survive the war, only names do'

12.As an artist, the hand of a human is a significant symbol. Fingers, which represent all the mysteries of the cosmos and the meaning of life through the currency of dance. Fingers, which make abodes,which irrigate the gardens,which play the flute,which lull the child back to sleep and which collect orange flowers for A'rati. And the other reality was that the same fingers practice archery. They shape the spears. They strangle the throats of other human beings.

13.He closed his eyes and another reality faced him. There is a melody in the system of the Universe. There is a melody in the horizons. and Chadbaram, the human heart, the center of the Universe, Shoo dances in it. Shoo is not a name of any imaginative God who lives in the mountains. He is inside my heart, He is a creation as well as a deception. He creates and destroys. He is the complete law of existence, non-existence, death and life.

14.Then he realized that co-incidences, accidents, the unique plays of time are a big reality.

15.Heart gives birth to God.

16.'The silence echoed in such a way that he felt that his ear drums would burst apart. He stood up. ‘ The world is immense,' The Jogi was saying, ‘ You can’t find her, and she won’t be able to find you as well. In life, two humans come together only once. If they split after that, then the re-union is impossible. Do you know the meaning of meeting and splitting? ‘

17.‘Thought…Thought can’t know itself, it can’t transcend itself. There is no God outside this Universe and no Universe outside God. There is no difference between truth and falsehood, however an Absolute is above all, which is silence.’

‘The Nightingale’s song pains the travellers,
 The pain of those joys never experienced,
The pain of those travels never made,
The pain of those toils that had no result,
And despite the joys,
There is an agony in joys,
Because agony is continuous.'

18.'Sultan Hussain Shirqi who gave a new dimension to the world of music, fought in battles, wandered in forests and perished.'

19.'The wars are never between two religions but two political powers.'

20.'Because he had an old friendship with merciless conditions, danger and death.'

21.'Sirril Eshley, who saw the world for the first time through the lens of poetry, was now a successful man instead of a poet. The torment of his soul was that he had not love anyone.'

22.'Don’t forget that death is hidden in every beauty.'

23.'The middle class is intensely moralist.'

24.Note; I loved the preceding song so much that I posted the Urdu version as well. Translation is given after the Udru verses.

Muhabbat aur roshni aur naghme ku tmhari talash hai,
Roshni qarmazi aasmaan mien moujoud hai.
Naghme Lark ga rahe hain,
Muhabbat mere dil mien,
Aik dosre se juda,
Hum fitrat k maqsad ku kho rahe hain,
Apni qismat ku dhoka dene k liye hum kiyon koshaan hain,
Meri muhabut tmhari rooh k liye takhleeq ki gayi hai,
Tmhara husn meri ankhun k lye,
Ab jaag utho,
Mien muntazir hn aur rooti hn,
Tum kahan hu,
Iss dharti per aik be-asra,
Beemar, bad sorat aur haqeer,
Bache ki trah mien paida hui,
Paidaishi bad qismat larki,
Har aik ne mje thukra diya hai,
Phir mere honton se aik naala buland hua,
Aur Khuda ne jawab diya:
Gaye ja…bechari larki… Gaye ja…

'Love and light and the song are finding you.
The light is there in the red skies.
The larks are singing the song.
Love is in my heart.
Separate from eachother,
We are losing the purpose of nature,
Why are we so willing to deceive our own fate,
My love has been created for your soul.
Your beauty for my eyes.
Now wake up.
I am waiting and I cry.
Where are you?
On this Earth, I came
As a helpless,sick,ugly
Worthless child.
Unlucky from the start,
Then a painful song arose from my lips,
And God replied,
Keep on singing..Dear Child…Keep on singing

25.‘We try to find peace by repeating our story,’ Hari Shankar said, ‘Because we are very afraid.’

26.Whoever thinks of the life of other people as a story is himself a story which is being read by other human beings.

27.‘Surrounded by all of them, she was standing alone. Because our final experience tells us that man is utterly alone. But despite that, we try to make different equations with human beings surrounding us.
When those equations begin to falsify themselves, then we realize that we  are very ordinary.’

28.‘Then she realized for the first time  that she had major flaws within herself. Principles and higher thought and philosophy are different things and in our real life, we are different from our thoughts. Pure philosophy and moral principles have no equation with emotions and impulses. We really are very weak.’

29.A wave of different historic events and names and personalities flooded Kamal’s mind but the center of the world at this time were those two dead bodies. The chains of the traditions of all the ideologies and events broke at this centre. Amna Bibi and Abu-Almonshoor…Two dead bodies.

30.There was a world separate from the world of feudal lords,bourgeois leaders, mentalists and enthusiastic university students; that was the real India.

31.The company of the group is futile. Solitude has the real existence.

32.‘The modern grand building of Tagore Library was appearing still and graceful. ‘There is a lot of power in words,’…said the building,'Come inside me, I’ll make you forget your sorrows.’

‘Words don’t make you forget your sorrows. They deepen them even further.’ Gotham replied.

‘Silence is most sacred. That is why people become pious. They stay silent’ Hari Shanker replied.

33.I don’t personally hate you but the stereotype of the community is making me hate you.

34.‘Gotham,’ She siad, ‘Forgive me for using this cliched sentence but all of us are open books. There is no mystery in any one of us. You know me a lot. Every human being is intensely exposed. He is in a bright light; you won’t find that half-darkness and mist where you can finally hide yourself. Whenever I see you, I feel as if I am also standing in that bright light and you are watching through me but I am also watching through you. That is why I know that you are…’ ‘Watching through you. Champ'a please stop the words. They’ll eat us.’
‘You can stop the words but the meaning of the meaning will still exist. Please tell, what can we do?’ Champ’a replied helplessly. ‘  

35.Love in fact, is separation.

36.Happiness is something very relative.

37.‘All of us are hidden fascists. We all have  meta-physical machine-guns in our hands that are pointed towards other people. Machine guns of thought.’

38.‘I have seen that you don’t want yourself to identify with the crowd but you have a lust for it as well. A strange kind of loyalty. That is because both of you have shared a common past. You are a strange pile of contradictions,’ Sirril said in a melancholic voice, ‘I become sad whenever I see you.’

‘Don’t speak like the Portuguese,’ Champ'a said.

‘That is another problem with you. You shut the doors till the time we reach at a personal level.  Coward. Are you even aware of your cowardice and weakness?’

39.Both sides of Kashmir are occupied and free for each other.

40.There are many people of whom nothing becomes. They stay suspended, never reaching anywhere, always flowing.

41.‘It is a divided world. Everything,country, man, ideologies,souls, faith,conscience has been divided by cutting it with swords. There are borders everywhere. In this divided world, we can only meet at the borders. Roshan,’ said Gotham, ‘ We’ll meet you at the border of East and West Berlin.’

42.‘You would never understand me, Kamal,’ She said, ‘You have always accused me of worshiping things.. But the smell coming from hay piles in summer afternoons and horses neighing and bull-carts passing on silent roads…I am not that wise… But I still want to feel these things and keep them with me. Had I been too wise, I would have read you philosophy and would have been content. ‘

43.‘Kamal, the real problem,’ he said pessimistically in his beautiful style, ‘ is that you are a poet. Every young man is a poet. An idealist. Truthful. Sacrificing everything for the ideals.He does not want to see the reality. .But unfortunately, the system of this world is being run by politicians, rather than poets, who are not interested in your vision. The real question is that to what extent are you willing to compromise with reality. Your real greatness or meanness will be measured by the extent to which you will compromise with reality, with falsehood, deceit, hypocrisy and moral theft.’

44.‘Champa glanced at the canvas. The sketch was terrible but she remained seated with great composure and decency. ‘I guess this is my real face,’ she said in her heart,. ‘This unsuccessful painter has in fact, really captured me on canvas.’

45.‘The reality is that I am being afraid of myself. I don’t know what should I talk to you about.  What do you want me to say and what do I want you to listen. Such a long time has passed and apparently we have nothing common to talk about, apart from the profanities we have been repeating since the last two hours. ‘

46.‘I am an average girl,’ She kept saying, ‘ Had I been among the chosen ones of God like St. Sofia or Makta Bae, then there would have been marks of wounds all over my body. My clothes would have been red with sacred blood and nails would have been hammered in my hands. I would have had a hallow of light around me but I am only Champ’a Ahmad. No one can see my wounds because my onlookers are also wounded. They are weak and mortal men. They don’t have hindsight. It is possible that people even laugh at me while St. Sofia is worshipped.'
‘Kamal,’ ,she said, thinking,' Do you remember that Lanka artist? For years, she painted canvas after canvas. She wandered in art galleries all over the world. Her exhibitions were held in London and Paris where house wives used to come, wearing new sarees and frocks, honorable guests used to deliver speeches, photographs were taken, Press representatives interviewed her and she used to stand in a corner and talk with everyone, smiling. At the end, when everyone departed, she was left alone in the company of her paintings. She used to  silently walk away from the gallery, catch a bus and leave for home. Three times, I saw that happening.

I have spent time with a lot of genius individuals. Everyone among them would sometimes be happy and sometimes be sad. Why are you so happy, I would ask all of them. You are happy,despite being so intelligent? But in the final experience, I realized that there are many people who have absorbed their agony in the agony of the world. How easy was that. When we reached the base of the mountain, we realized the insignificance of our selves and our pain.'

47. He saw abyss everywhere around him and he was alone as always. The eternally lonely man of the world. Tired, defeated, happy, hopeful man who is in God and who himself is God. He smiled and transcended down and opened his eyes.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Meaning

Ae dil e betab thehr!

Teer'gi hai keh umend'ti hi chali ati hai, 
                                      Shab ki rug rug se lahu phoot raha hu jese

Chal rahi hai kuch iss andaz se nabz e hasti
                                           Donon alam ka nasha tout raha hu jese

                              raat ka garam lahu abhi aur beh jane du

                              yehi tareeki tu hai ghaza rukhsar e sehr

                              subah hune hi ku hai ae dil e betab thehr

Abhi zanjeer chanakti hai pas e parda saz
                                        Mutliq ul hukm hai sheraza e asbab abhi

Saghir e naab mien ansu bhi dhul jaate hain,
                                 Laghzish e paa mien hai pabandi e adab abhi

                       Apne deewanon ku dewaana tu ban lene du

                       Apne meekhanon ku meekhana tu ban lene du

                      Jald ye satoot e asbab bhi uth jaye gi
                          Khwah ye zanjeer chanakti hi, chanakti hi rahe

For reasons unknown to even himself, he loved this poem by Faiz. Thus following an unknown whim, he decided to translate this poem in English.

'Estrangement over floods my whole being,
              As if every vessel of the night is bleeding vehemently

The pulse of (my) existence is beating in such a way,
               As if both the worlds are sobering up (after being drunk)

Let the plasma of night drift even more

this darkness is the rosy color of the cheeks of the dawn

It's almost morning, wait, O' restless heart!

The chains still rattle behind the curtains of music
My scattered means still dictate my life

My tears do trickle down in the cup of wine
My trembling tread still obeys an ethic.

And then he stopped, staring at the the line that followed. He tried to search for the right phrase or word but none seemed to convey what the poet really wanted to say. He felt paralyzed, unable to proceed the translation further. It was as if, you understood something, really felt it to your core, but when the time came to symbolize it to convey it to another human being, you found your voice chained with a profound ignorance. But that profound ignorance was not something new.

He smiled then, for the experience of the failure to translate this poem found connection with a similar experience in the past; the failure to translate the hollowness inside on to the hollowness outside. 

The endeavor  to symbolize, to name or to even metaphorize the thing that is thorning you at your very existence. He remembered all those endeavors. The start. The climax. The end. While the former two varied, the latter was always the same. A scintillating failure. That was all he remembered, for that was what he was experiencing now. Though he realized that the failure was not complete. He always got around certain words or phrases that did represent workings of the inside, he did got something to put on the diary he used to keep. But with every word he found to represent himself, a little essence of the inside was lost every time, in his own hands stretching the pen or hitting the key board. 

There should be a language for that lost essence, he thought. 

Yes, there is, the answer came as soon as the sort of a question was put. 

Emotions. Lack of them. Misidentified, Scattered. 

Language. Grammar. Literature. 

The grammar sure is tough, he thought. He remembered what he used to tell people who wanted to be fluent in a certain language. 'You need not to bother about the grammar,' he used to say, 'if you are reading and practicing that language enough.'

Don't bother having no emotions then, he thought, if you are believing in enough wrong identifications. Don't bother not feeling anything when a lot of feeling-like things are hitting the surface. Watch the ripples they make, going nowhere, shining in the sunlight brilliantly, being admired by the onlookers. Let the ocean way beneath be dark and passive, for it is near the ground, containing the majority of things and the minority of light. 

The more meaningful and plentiful the things, the darker the place. 

The darkness that is supposed to enhance the rosiness of the cheeks of dawn, in Faiz's words. 

Is this why human beings wear so many layers of mask, he thought. That they are afraid that when someone sees the meaning beneath the mask, the meaning accompanied by the dark and in the dark, they might become scared and run away. Is it why human beings are afraid of the dark, for it contains meanings? 

that ultimately, we are afraid of the meaning,

the meaning we sought so hard,

and is this the reason that we don't find it,

for we are afraid of it,

As Moses might have been afraid of God,

Yet he wanted to see Him,

His wish was granted on the mountain of Sinai,

They say that a flash of unseen light

made him lost his consciousness for a while, the mountain burned

Such was the might of that flash, of that meaning,

Funny, he thought,

The brightest and the most embracing meanings are to be found,

in the darkest and the secluded places. 

On top of the mountain, alone with God,

Or whoever happens to be there.