LOST in Translation



Sahir Ludhianvi

Pen Name(s)


Translation in Rhyme

Haunted by the specter of my bygone days,
Each moment a regret, a weary maze.
Shame lingers over desires unmet,
Regret over hopes that failed to set.

Let my past rest in shadows deep,
A source of naught but shame, I keep.
Hopes birthed dreams, desires did fire,
Yet nameless misery is their entire.

With myriad hopes, I built for one,
Places adorned for someone undone.
Obscure notes of disjointed dreams,
Woven threads in aimless streams.

Speak not of love’s tales to me,
I’ll declare, her love I did not see.
Those dreamy eyes that now forget,
I never fell for their captivating set.

Let me say, I can still thrive,
Love faltered, yet life is alive.
The quest for her, aspiration to attain,
A futile chase, but not in vain.

Those tresses, eyes, and cheeks aglow,
Another’s gaze, elsewhere they’ll show.
Those flowers, meant for her alone,
Can flourish anew for a heart unknown.

Translation in Prose

I am terrified at the thought of my past
I despise the days I have spent
I am ashamed at my unfilled desires
I am regretful of my futile hopes

Let my past remain buried in darkness
My past brings me nothing but disgrace
The result of my hopes and the cause of my desires
Is nothing other than nameless misery

With the aid of many useless hopes 
I had decorated palaces for someone
How many obscure notes of disjointed desires
I had woven in my dreams for someone

Don’t recount the tales of my love to me
Let me just say that I never loved her
Those dreamy eyes that have forgotten me
I never did approve of those captivating eyes

Let me just say that I can still live
Love defeated but life has not failed
That aspiration of attaining her, the quest of having her
A useless pursuit, but not a defeated effort

Those tresses, those eyes, those rosy cheeks, that countenance
If I seek, I can find elsewhere
Those flowers that were meant to bloom for her
Can bloom for someone else as well


apne māzī ke tasavvur se hirāsāṇ huṇ maiṇ 
apne guzre hue ayyām se nafrat hai mujhe 
apnī be-kār tamannāoṇ pe sharmindā hūṇ 
apnī be-sūd umīdoṇ pe nadāmat hai mujhe 

mere māzī ko andhere meṇ dabā rahne do 
merā māzī merī zillat ke sivā kuch bhī nahīṇ 
merī ummīdoṇ kā hāsil merī kāvish kā silā 
ek be-nām aziyyat ke sivā kuch bhī nahīṇ 

kitnī be-kār umīdoṇ kā sahārā le kar 
maiṇ ne aivān sajāe the kisī kī khātir 
kitnī be-rabt tamannāoṇ ke mubham khāke 
apne khwāboṇ meṇ basāe the kisī kī khātir 

mujh se ab merī mohabbat ke fasāne na kaho 
mujh ko kehne do ke maiṇ ne unheṇ chāhā hī nahīṇ 
aur vo mast nigāheṇ jo mujhe bhūl gaīṇ 
maiṇ ne un mast nigāhoṇ ko sarāhā hī nahīṇ 

mujh ko kehne do ke maiṇ aaj bhī jī saktā hūṇ 
ishq nākām sahī zindagī nākām nahīṇ 
un ko apnāne kī khwāhish unheṇ pāne kī talab 
shauq be-kār sahī sai-e-gham-e-anjām nahīṇ 

vohī gesū vohī nazreṇ vohī āriz vohī jism 
maiṇ jo chāhūṇ tho mujhe aur bhī mil sakte haiṇ 
vo kaṇval jin ko kabhī un ke liye khilnā thā 
un kī nazroṇ se bahut dūr bhī khil sakte haiṇ

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