Tagore in Urdu sounds as sweet
Agar mere gham ke ghanere andhere
Teri rehmaton ke ujalon se chamkein
Chamakne de unko,
Chamakne de maula
Tumhari muhabbat bhari ye nigahein
Agar chashm-e-tar par meri tik rahi hain
To ankhon mein aansu hi rehne de maula
(If the darkness of my sorrow/Glows with your blessings/Let it glow…oh lord/Let it glow…oh lord/Your love-filled eyes/If my eyes are getting moist/Let them remain filled with tears…oh lord).
The above is the Urdu version of a song by Rabindranath Tagore, Amar Sakal Dukher Pradip. As people across the country celebrated the poet’s 150th birth centenary, one man across the border decided to pay his own tribute. Pakistani pop singer Najam Sheraz has lent his voice to a recently relea
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Tagore’s work has always been understood as a sacred space that most non-Bengalis fear to tread. Sheraz, who has been working on this for a year, took it on as a formidable challenge. The album is part of a compilation of over 100 of Tagore’s poems in Urdu, launched in March this year. Tagore has been translated into Urdu before, notably Urdu poet Firaq Gorakhpuri who picked up poems from Gitanjali. Niaz Fatehpuri also translated fragments from Gitanjali.
Apne qadmon tale
Mujh ko bijh jaane do
Ik mukammal khushi ke liye
Apne paon ki dhool se
Surkh ho jaane do
Meri poshak ko.
(Allow me to spread myself/For happiness in full/With the dust of your feet/Let my being glow in it/Under your footsteps)
In the original song, Oi Ason Tawley/ Matir parey/ Lutiye rabo/ Tomar charan dhulay dhulay dhoosar habo, was sung to a folk tune.
Rakshananda Jalil, who wrote a review of the album in the Lahore weekly The Friday Times, wrote to me about the power of these lyrics. “Listening to these translated poems helps you enjoy the sheer joy of poetry. The translations are as pleasing as the poetry. The music composer has set it to a tune similar to Rabindrasangeet and it hasn’t been sung like a conventional Urdu ghazal.”
Like poets Iqbal and Faiz, Tagore belonged to all three countries. Jalil adds that a Tagore song in Urdu or a Faiz lyric in Bengali strengthens the forces of camaraderie between people of these countries.
A well-versed and true-blue connoisseur of Rabindrasangeet will remember the rendition of the original by Debabrata Biswas — Tumi Rabe Neerabe Hridaye Mawmo (You will remain in silence in my heart).
(Translation of poems into English by Gautam Dutt, New Delhi)
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