Rang pairahan ka, khushboo zulf lehrane kaa naam

October 9, 2007 at 6:14 pm 6 comments

Faiz Ahmed Faiz


Rang pairahan ka, khushboo zulf lehrane kaa naam
Mousam-e-gul hai tumhare baam par aane ka naam

Doston us chasm-o-lab ki kuch kaho, jiske bagair
Gulistaan ki baat rangeen hai, na mehkhane ka naam

Phir nazar mein phool mehke, dil mein phir shamayen jali
Phir tasavvur ne liya us bazm mein jane ka naam

Dilbari thehra zabaan-e-khalk khulwane ka naam
Ab nahin lete pari-roo zulf bikhrane ka naam

Ab kisi laila ko bhi ikraar-e-mehboobi nahin
In dinon badnaam hai har ek deewane ka naam

Muhatsib ki khair, uncha hai usi ke faiz se
Rind ka, saaki ka,may ka, khum ka, paimane ka naam.

Hum se kehte hain chaman vale, gareebane chaman
Tum koi accha sa rakh lo apne veerane ka naam

Faiz unko hai takazaa-e-vafa humse jinhe
Aashna ke naam se pyaara hai begaane ka naam.

English Translation (mine):

Colour is a dress, fragrance is a name for your flowing tresses.
Your appearance at the window gives the Spring its name.

Say something about this sight, my friends, without which
neither the garden would have colour, nor the tavern have a name.

Again the eye fills with the scent of flowers, again the heart is lit with a leaping flame;
Imagination exults, and hesitating no longer, rejoins this happy company again.

Romance is a trick to set the tongues of the world wagging,
now even those with angel faces must keep their tresses tamed.

No beloved will now declare her desire openly
for where is the lover who is not defamed?

Praise to the naysayers! for by their grace
the drunkard, bartender, wine, cask and shotglass have their fame.

Those with the gardens say to us, “You, out there,
why don’t you give your wilderness a pretty name?”

Faiz, they demand faith from us now, who
would rather be outsiders than bear a lover’s name.

Not Faiz’s greatest ghazal, perhaps, but one I’m fond of, if only for those two glorious couplets at the end. I’ve tried to emulate the pattern of end rhymes (though without a refrain), though obviously this has meant taking some luxuries with the text.



Entry filed under: English, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Falstaff, Urdu.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Equivocal  |  October 10, 2007 at 3:42 am

    Hey, interesting translation. Thanks very much for this. I like the last couplet best– something strong and pulling there.

    If you had the time, it would be useful to append this translation with a word by word ‘trot” that would show the meaning and order of the words, or perhaps a detailed prose translation, so those like me who don’t have urdu could get a bit closer to the original. That way one could also get a sense of what “luxuries” (I love that word–I take you use it as a deliberate replacement for “liberties”) you have taken with the text. “Luxurious” would be a good way to describe this translation; I don’t know if that’s good yet, but it certainly is interesting. Different from the Faiz I’m more used to seeing in translation.

    Shouldn’t it be, “neither would the garden have a colour…”? And, “have their fame”, while being technically correct, seems a little awkward and unclear. Perhaps “find their fame”, or some such solution?

    Just a thought.

  • 2. Falstaff  |  October 10, 2007 at 4:43 am

    Equivocal: I’m not the world’s greatest Urdu scholar myself, but here’s the closest I can get to a literal translation. I’m sure there are people who could do a better job of this though.

    Color of cloth, fragrance is the name of your flowing hair
    Season of blossoms is the name for your coming to the window.

    Friends, say something about this sight, without which
    Neither talk of the garden is colorful, nor the tavern’s name.

    Again flowers grow fragrant in sight, again flames light in the heart
    Again fancy has taken the name of entering that gathering.

    Romance is the name of having the tongue of the world opened
    Now those who resemble angels will not take the name of scattering their hair.

    Now also, no beloved will speak of her passion
    These days each and every lover has a bad name.

    Praise to those who stop us, for high with their grace
    is the name of the drinker, the server, the wine, the cask and the shotglass.

    Those with the gardens say to us, you without gardens
    Keep some nice name for your wilderness.

    Faiz, they have an expectation of faith from us, to whom
    the name of lover is more beloved than the name of stranger.

    “Have their fame” is awkward, but I don’t think “find their fame” works either – it’s too active. Maybe something like “are given fame”? I don’t know.

    And yes, “neither would the garden have color, nor the tavern a name” works well – though I would stick with color and not “a color”

    Part of the trouble I had was that unlike a lot of the Faiz poems we’re run before on this site, I don’t actually know of an existing English translation for this one. That’s a deliberate choice – I’d like to see more Faiz in translation – and it does mean that I’m not being influenced by someone else’s take on the poem. But it also means that my own understanding of the poem is poorer, so there may be meanings or nuances that I’m totally missing.

  • 3. Equivocal  |  October 10, 2007 at 11:23 am

    ah yes, i meant “neither would the garden have colour”,absolutely, my slip.

    Doesnt Faiz talk elsewhere about the state of deep depression where “even emotion no longer has colour”?

    Thanks for the literal translation– it does help a lot. And thanks for the verse translation too!

  • 4. Deewan  |  November 25, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Hi! nice translation… and what a lovely site!! Was led here by a tip from Shweta [http://shwetavyas.blogspot.com], and must say, it is quite a find!

    I would venture that, in purely literal terms, what the second sher is saying (in the second line) is “neither would talk about the garden be colourful, nor would the tavern’s name (be colourful)”… namely, that even discussions about the garden derive their ‘colour’ from the Beloved’s ‘lips and eyes’…as does the fame of the tavern!

    And in the very first line, it isn’t so much “colour is a dress” as “colour is the name of your dress”… the ‘naam’ at the end of the line qualifies TWO identities – that between ‘colour’ and the Beloved’s dress, and that between ‘fragrance’ and (the waving of) her tresses…

    In your ‘literal’ translation, the sense of the final line seems to have been reversed… probably just mistyped…?

  • 5. swasti rao chandel  |  April 15, 2012 at 8:32 am

    nice comments..

  • 6. Zia Hasham  |  July 12, 2013 at 4:53 am

    I am sorry the above translation is incorrect. You cannot translate Urdu poetry by putting an equal English word. Often a poet uses one word but its meanings apply to two connecting phrases. Also, sometime a poet uses words meaning of which are hidden elsewhere and one has to use his or her imagination to connect it. Therefore, it is better to explain meaning of Urdu Poetry in text.

    Rang pairahan ka (colors of flowery dress) khushboo (fragrance) zulf (long hairs) lehrane (waving by breeze) kaa naam (another name)

    Mousam-e-gul hai (it is a season of blossoming flowers), tumhare baam par aane (when you come out) ka naam (another name)

    Meaning; Your long hairs wave and produce breeze that spreads fragrance of colorful flowers off your dress. So when you come out, season of blossoming flowers, its fragrance instantly arrives.


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