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

Disciplines of love


Ahmad Faraz

Pen Name(s)


Translation in Rhyme

In lament you dwell, heart heavy with strife,
Faraz, love’s disciplines elude your grasp, a rife.
What proximity, plans for parting already in sight,
What cruel twist in fate, what cosmic slight.
God or idol, our devotion won’t sway,
A lifetime of worship, come what may.
Awaiting encounters, reasons are diverse,
Gratitude, complaint, emotions immerse.
Compelled by our heart, we are in tether,
Others raise havoc on issues petty, nether.
Tongue-tied, I am, when meeting her grace,
Post-encounter explanations, in solitude I trace.
In hatred’s storm, they persist, relentless and cold,
Yet etiquettes of love, we struggle to uphold.
Faraz, let tears fall with each season’s rhyme,
Seek lost love’s echo, in the heart’s sweet time.

Translation in Prose

Alas, you go on lamenting the condition of your heart,
Faraz you fail to comprehend the disciplines of love.1
What proximity is this that you are here in front of me,
And already we have to consider plans for our separation.
Whether it be God or be it an idol, whomsoever we seek,
We will worship for a lifetime, without question.2 
Everyone has their own reason for awaiting the encounter,
Some to express gratitude, some to register complaint.
We here are compelled by our own heart and yet others,
Continue to raise havoc on petty insignificant issues.
Tongue-tied I am when I finally meet her,
Afterwards I offer myself hundreds of explanations.
How are these people able to carry on in their hatred,
While we remain busy maintaining the etiquettes of love.
Faraz, do cry a little in the changing seasons sometimes,
Do search for lost love every now and then.


ye kya ke sab se bayaṇ dil kī hālateṇ karnī
Faraz tujh ko na āyīṇ mohabbateṇ karnī

ye qurb kya hai ki tū sāmne hai aur hameṇ
shumār abhī se judaī ki sā’ateṇ karnī

koī Khudā ho ke patthar jise bhī hum chāheṇ
tamām umr usī kī ibādateṇ karnī

sab apne apne qarīne se muntazir us ke
kisī ko shukr kisī ko shikāyateṇ karnī

hum apne dil se hī majbūr aur logoṇ ko
zarā sī bāt pe barpā qayāmateṇ karnī

mileṇ jab un se tho mubham sī guftugū karnā
phir apne āp se sau sau wazāhateṇ karnī

ye log kaise magar dushmanī nibhāthe haiṇ
hameṇ tho rās nā āiṇ mohabbateṇ karnī

kabhī Faraz nae mausamoṇ meiṇ ro denā
kabhī talāsh purānī rifaqateṇ karnī

To the rival (in love)


Faiz Ahmad Faiz

Pen Name


Translation in Rhyme

Entwined with you are that beauty’s memory
Which turned this heart into a realm of glee
In affection of whom, this world ceased to be
Time itself was stopped, set free

Familiar to your steps are paths that remain
Her enchanting beauty therein once reigned
Caravans of grace, on those roads they invite
Our eyes, once adoring, now hold memories tight

Through the blowing winds, you have known her grace
A lingering fragrance of her, in tender embrace
You’ve also gazed the moon’s radiant lights,
Through that doorway, memories of past nights 

Those cherished features, in our gaze they reside,
In their memory, our lifetimes are tied
Dreamy eyes that have met ours in kind,
The reason we waited, a love undefined

In love’s cruel favors, we’re partners, it’s true,
Countless favors, too many to view
What have we lost, what have we gained, my friend,
To explain to another, they won’t comprehend

Translation in Prose

Come, for entwined with you are the memories of that beauty
Who had turned this heart into a fairy house
In whose affection, we had forgotten the world
We had turned time into a tale of times

Acquainted with you are the pathways
That were once bestowed her enchanting beauty
Caravans of grace have traversed the roads
That these eyes have worshiped without benefit

Those beloved winds have played with you
In which the sad fragrant of her dress remains
You have also experienced radiance of the moon through that doorway
Wherein lingers the memory of the nights spent

You have seen that forehead, those cheeks, the lips
In memory of whom we lost a lifetime
Those dreamy eyes have looked upon you too
You know why we spent an era waiting

We are equal partners in favors of love’s misery
So many favors that I can’t count, even if I try
What have we lost in love, what have we gained
If I try to explain to anyone except you, I can’t


aa ke vābasta haiṇ us husn kī yādeṇ tujh se
jis ne is dil ko parī-khānā banā rakkhā thā
jis kī ulfat meṇ bhulā rakkhī thī duniyā ham ne
dehr ko dehr kā afsānā banā rakkhā thā

āshnā haiṇ tere qadmoṇ se vo rāheṇ jin par
us kī maḍhosh javānī ne ināyat kī hai
kārvāṇ guzre haiṇ jin se usī rānāī ke
jis kī in ākhon ne be-sūd ibādat kī hai

tujh se khelī haiṇ vo mahbūb havāeṇ jin meṇ
us ke malbūs kī afsurdā mehek bāqī hai
tujh pe bhī barsā hai us bām se mahtāb kā nūr
jis meṇ bītī huī rātoṇ kī kasak bāqī hai

tū ne dekhī hai vo peshānī vo rukhsār vo hoṇt
zindagī jin ke tasavvur meiṇ lutā dī ham ne
tujh pe utthī haiṇ vo khoī huī sāhir āṇkheṇ
tujh ko mālūm hai kyūṇ umr gaṇvā dī ham ne

ham pe mushtarkā haiṇ ehsān gham-e-ulfat ke
itne ehsān ki ginvāūṇ to ginvā na sakūṇ
ham ne is ishq meṇ kyā khoyā hai kyā sīkhā hai
juz tere aur ko samjhāūṇ to samjhā na sakūṇ

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