A people’s poet who speaks in metaphors of prophecy and vision that transcend rhetroric and narrow nationalist. He is truly an international poet a pan humanist of the rarest sort Rare because his poems are all love poems even when they decry, denounce lament or accuse. He uses the sword to cut through the crap the flag to rally the people the horn to proclaim a new order.
This collection of the poet is being presented with text in Urdu, Hindi and Roman script as also the lyrical translation into English.
In this translation of Faraz’s poetry an attempt has been made to preserve the spirit of the original. No effort was made to interpret. The translation is a literal and faithful rendering and it has avoided the temptation to use better and more lucid alternative expressions especially where the original images and metaphors were derived from the religion. The rhythmic patterns of the original have also not been disturbed. The aim has been not just to translate a poet’s phrasing but also to retain the flavor of the original diction and phrasing.
Unlike some other oriental literatures both classical and modern Urdu Language and literature are very little known to western readers. Perhaps the only major poet in this language known in the West at least in the learned circles is the Pakistani poet Muhammad Iqbal, Allama (The Great Scholar) as his countrymen reverently call him. But even Iqbal first attracted attention for his Persian rather than his Urdu verse and for its ideological content rather than aesthetic appeal.
One reason for this indifference is obvious enough compared to Sanskrit, Arabic or Persian Urdu is a much younger language. It matured only during the last two or three centuries and it cannot therefore boast of their opulence of tradition. Another reason is that by the time Urdu particularly its poetry attained a fully developed school of its own its homeland was over run by factors of the British East India Company. They sought to assert their cultural over lordship in the field of their subjects language and literature by stamping these was their familiar Victorian patterns and familiarity naturally bred contempt.
This however is past history and it is time that this communication gap is bridged. Firstly, Urdu today is a fully developed language and its literary idion is familiar to millions in almost all parts of Pakistan and India. What is more its contemporary literature poetry in particular is also the favorite and much loved reading of indo Pakistani communities settled in many western developed literatures that nurtured its growth and it has produces in the last four or five decades a whole crop of very gifted writers in both prose and verse. Among them a highly celebrated name these days is that of the poet Ahmad Faraz.
Faraz began his poetic career as a lyricist in the classical style and chose for his formal medium the age old and very elusive form the Ghazal at once the most facile and the most exacting. The most facile because it provides the poet with a lavish store of ready made images symbols metaphors and other imaginative paraphernalia perfected by the great masters in Urdu and Persian to choose from and to pass as his own. And it is most exacting for the same reason because it demands from the poet an unusual degree of intensity of feeling combined with ingenuity of expression to establish his own distinctive identity. Faraz’s Ghazals and related love poems were and are distinguished for both these qualities. This brought him almost immediate popular acclaim particularly among the youth who felt in this part of his writings the pulse of their own heart beat. However Faraz was too sensitive a poet to be oblivious to the demands of the more urgent social realities around him the heart break and suffering the threats and blandishments the anger and frustration the hopes and despairs that a tyrannical social order inflicts on its victims. For a perceptive subjective experience. And this is the stuff that Faraz’s later poetry is made of as represented in this volume. He pretests against injustice as passionately as he professes his love although the voice at times becomes little too strident and the expression a little to rhetorical Nevertheless it is genuine poetry.
The classical poetic idiom that Faraz employs laden with symbols peculiar to our eastern feudal tradition and multi layered meanings of apparently simple words peculiar to our poetic usage present the translator into another language with almost insuperable difficulties particularly if the language happens to be as far removed form oriental poetic tradition as English is. The translator of this volume has wrestled bravely and assiduously English translation from Urdu.
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