Tum kya gaye ke rooth gaye din bahar ke
Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Dono jahaan teri muhabbat main haar ke
Voh jaa rahaa hai koi shab-e-gam guzaar ke
Veeran hai maykada, khum-o-saagar udaas hai
Tum kyaa gaye ke rooth gaye din bahaar ke
Ek phursat-e-gunah milee, voh bhi chaar din
Dekhe hain humne housle parvardigaar ke
Duniya ne teri yaad se begaana kar diyaa
Tujshe bhi dil-fareb hai, gam rozgaar ke
Bhoole se muskara to diye the voh aaj “faiz”
Mat poocho valvale dil-e-nakardaa kaar ke
Translation (by Agha Shahid Ali):
He bet both this life and the next
and gambled all night for your love
he first lost earth then eternity
Now he departs from his night of grief
defeat visible in his eyes
Oh what a desolation
the taverns deserted each glass disconsolate
Love when you left
even springtime forsook me
you left and that season disowned this world
You made it so brief our time on earth
its exquisite sins this sensation Oh Almighty
of forgetting you
We know how vulnerable you are
we know you are a coward God
This rapture of simple routines life’s common struggles
have surpassed my memory of your love
It’s proved more enticing just to survive
even more than you
Today she forgot herself her usual ways
her face broke as if by chance
into a smile
Don’t ask what happened to the defeated heart
Oh Faiz how it broke once again
into hopeless longing.
Craving your love, he gambled away
both this world and the next.
Look – he is leaving now –
having spent the night in grief.
And the taverns are deserted,
and the wine glasses are upset;
hurt by your departure
even the Spring has turned away.
Forgetting you was a reprieve,
but it did not last.
Now we have seen how far
even God can be trusted.
The world seduced us,
made us exiles from your memory;
day by day, the business of living
proved more deceptive than your love.
And then, today, she smiled,
and the heart, so long unused,
began to beat with a new urgency.
One of my favourite Faiz ghazals. Such a wonderful and passionate description of the utter abandonment of unrequited love. Such an overwhelming sense of despair, of defeat, of resignation. And then, just when the world seems ruined beyond measure, that one casual smile of a line that revives everything, sets the pulse racing again.
Tennyson writes: “The world were not so bitter / But a smile could make it sweet” (Maud, I. VI). Faiz’s ghazal shows us how desperate a redemption this is. How desperately the heart must long to hope, must long to believe, that it will stake all its happiness on something as fickle as a smile. “Dono jahan teri mohabbat mein har ke” indeed – the game of love is played on precisely so fragile a wager.