Friday, 23 April 2010

Khwaja Mir Dard's 'madrasa ta ya dair ta ya Ka'ba ya but-khana ta'

For a scholarly article on the difficulties of translating Dard click here.
An interesting idea in an essay found here concerns the distinction between izafat and i'tibar- both of which have no real existence in themselves but with the former having a partial empirical existence through the One Reality's self revelation and the latter being wholly fictional and of the character of negation and non being. 
This enriches our reading of Dard, for the use of izafat will now suggests a variant ontology such that what it links exists only in a manner derivative  from that to which it grammatically enchains. 
Here is my version of the first ghazal in Dard's Divan.

Whether at the Ka'ba or Jaba the Hutt's Holy fane
Thy Guests, Lord, we at thy pleasure remain

Death's dawn revealed all Revelation was vain
Existence a dream and the Logos insane

 Does Autumn's feverish colour the wind's chill explain?
 Does the delivery boy, for its coquetry coy, my cock disdain?

My Pop's station is higher than Popes attain
'I'm a great mystic', is this ghazal's refrain

Oh yes and add in some shite about tears flowing like rain
And the Saqi and the Tavern & Love's torment & pain

& once you are done, start over and do it again
For 'I'm a great mystic' is every ghazals' refrain

My translation is not literal because I'm assuming Dard wasn't utterly stupid or concerned merely with coining sonorous cliches. But there is a more serious point- one I might refer to as the holographic nature of mystic poetry whereby the whole is contained in every part for by the principle of  lâ takrâr fi’l-tajallî, no synergy of the whole is not contained in the uncoiling haecceity of  the part, echo as it is of the primordial 'kun' ('Be').

1 comment:

Sanjay K said...

My favorite couplet from Dard is the one translated by Prof. Choudhry as follows-
I am the wave of the magnificence of the eternity of the prospect of sodomisation of the Inland Revenue clerk of the imagination of the transcendental aspect of the theophany of the lava of the volcano of the effulgence of the nightingale in the garden of hyperbole, yet I am so humble and nice and the beloved is very cruel and shits in my heart while twisting her fingernails in the eyes of my godliness of the ecstacy of desertion in the rose of the bee of the splendour and the moth of the lamp of the desolation of the sword cutting off the hand that tore the collar of moderation while pinching the arse of the Saqi of metaphysical wisdom alloyed only by the coquetry of the rent boy of the Imagination and the imagination of the rent boy of Prespiration.

The use of izafat and iham enabled Dard to commence so much meaning (only a fraction of which the Professor is able to capture) into not just this couplet but every other ever written by people of his mystic station.
I really think you have a natural talent for translating Urdu. Please don't spoil it by learning the language.