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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

lekin yaqiin sabko dilaata rahaa huu.n mai.n

shaayad mujhe kisii se mohabbat nahii.n huii
lekin yaqiin sabko dilaata rahaa huu.n mai.n

शायद मुझे किसी से मोहब्बत नहीं हुई 
लेकिन यक़ीन सबको दिलाता रहा हूँ मैं 

It's possible that I never really loved anybody 
But I did manage to convince everybody (that I did)

Jaun Elia
जौन एलिया 

gaii vo baat to ho guftaguu to kyo.nkar ho

gayii vo baat to ho guftaguu to kyo.nkar ho
kahe se kuchh na huaa, to kaho to kyo.nkar ho

गई वो बात तो हो गुफ़्तगू तो क्योंकर हो 
कहे से कुछ न हुआ, तो कहो तो क्योंकर हो 

We have moved on now, so there is not much to talk about
Even if I urge you to do something, you won't - so what's the point?

Mirza Ghalib
मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

mere qatl pe aap bhii chup hai.n, aglaa nambar aapkaa hai

जलते घर को देखने वालो फूस का छप्पर आपका है 
आग के पीछे तेज़ हवा है, आगे मुक़द्दर आपका है 
उसके क़त्ल पर मैं भी चुप था, मेरा नंबर अब आया 
मेरे क़त्ल पे आप भी चुप हैं, अगला नंबर आपका है 

Jalte ghar ko dekhne vaalo phoos ka chhappar aapkaa hai
aag ke peechhe tez hawaa hai, aage muqaddar aapkaa hai
uske qatl par main bhi chup thaa, meraa nambar ab aayaa
mere qatl pe aap bhi chup hain, aglaa nambar aapkaa hai
नवाज़ देवबंदी 
Nawaaz deobandi

Thursday, June 9, 2016

The Orchestra have sufficiently tuned their instruments, the baton has given the signal

Yesterday, PM Modi became the 6th Indian Prime Minister to address a joint session of Congress. Poor Pandit Nehru had to repeat the same speech twice in 1949, as the main hall was under renovation then! But back to Modi.

The one quote that caught my attention was the Walt Whitman one. I have read a lot of Walt Whitman and did not remember the source of this line. A little while of diligent search has yielded this poem. It is quite good. It is the 7th poem of Book 29 of Walt Whitman's classic Leaves of Grass. It is entitled "To Think of Time". Whitman's greatest legacy is his style of free verse. So here goes:

It is not to diffuse you that you were born of your mother and
      father, it is to identify you,
  It is not that you should be undecided, but that you should be decided,
  Something long preparing and formless is arrived and form'd in you,
  You are henceforth secure, whatever comes or goes.

  The threads that were spun are gather'd, the wet crosses the warp,
      the pattern is systematic.

  The preparations have every one been justified,
  The orchestra have sufficiently tuned their instruments, the baton
      has given the signal.

  The guest that was coming, he waited long, he is now housed,
  He is one of those who are beautiful and happy, he is one of those
      that to look upon and be with is enough.

  The law of the past cannot be eluded,
  The law of the present and future cannot be eluded,
  The law of the living cannot be eluded, it is eternal,
  The law of promotion and transformation cannot be eluded,
  The law of heroes and good-doers cannot be eluded,
  The law of drunkards, informers, mean persons, not one iota thereof
      can be eluded.

Walt Whitman

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

अजापुत्रं बलिं दद्यात् देवो दुर्बलघातकः

All these scams and enquiry committees reminded me of this shloka that I studied as a kid. 

अश्वं नैव गजं नैव व्याघ्रं नैव च नैव च ।

अजापुत्रं बलिं दद्यात् देवो दुर्बलघातकः

ashwam naiva gajam naiva vyaaghram naiva cha naiva cha

ajaaputram balim dadyaat devo durbalaghaatakaha.

Never the horse, never the elephant, never ever the tiger

It's the little goat that's sacrificed, even the god's fear the powerful (literally 'gods are killers of the weak')

N Vittal had once in an article given an interesting twist to this shloka. He said 


Secretary naiva, Chairman naiva, Minister naiva cha naiva cha

LDC balim dadyaat, CVC durbala ghaatakaha. 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

सांचे से तो जग नहीं, झूठे मिलै न राम


अब रहीम मुसकिल परी, गाढ़े दोऊ काम 
सांचे से तो जग नहीं, झूठे मिलैं न राम 

ab rahiim muskil parii, gaaRhe douu kaam
saanche se to jag nahii.n, jhooThe milai.n na raam 

The poet Rahiim says, there is a dichotomy which presents the greatest difficulty
The truth prevents your material success, lies will prevent your spiritual success

रहीम (अब्दुर्रहीम ख़ानख़ाना)

Javed Akhtar has started a channel on Tata Sky, where he will present Urdu couplets and Hindi dohas. The promos included this couplet which I had studied as a kid. I was shocked that someone like Javed Akhtar had made such a basic error. Whenever you quote, you quote verbatim. Of course sometimes there are versions which differ. But you cannot make the text easier, just because you think the audience is stupid. The version that Javed Akhtar is mouthing is 

रहिमन मुश्किल आ पड़ी, टेढ़े दोहू काम 

सीधे से जग ना मिले, उलटे मिले ना राम

While he is at it, he might rewrite all the Ghalib and Meer couplets as well. Since their language is also a couple of centuries old. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

हम जो कुछ हैं, हम जैसे हैं, वैसे ही दिखाई देते हैं

हम जो कुछ हैं, हम जैसे हैं, वैसे ही दिखाई देते हैं 
चेहरे पे भभूत नहीं मलते, कभी काले बाल नहीं करते 

ham jo kuchh hai.n, ham jaise hai.n, vaise hii dikhaaii dete hai.n
chehre pe bhabhoot nahii.n malte, kabhi kaale baal nahii.n karte

The way we are, whatever be it, is exactly what you see
We do not smear ash to whiten our faces, nor do we colour our grey hair. 
मुनव्वर राना 
munavvar rana

Monday, September 15, 2014

मोहब्बत में बुरी नीयत से कुछ सोचा नहीं जाता

मोहब्बत में बुरी नीयत से कुछ सोचा नहीं जाता
कहा जाता है उसको बेवफा, समझा नहीं जाता

mohabbat me.n buri neeyat se kuchh sochaa nahii.n jaataa
kahaa jaataa hai usko bewafaa, samjhaa nahii.n jaataa


Love does not entail any kind of negative thinking or bad intention.
While the beloved is alluded to as unfaithful, she is not believed to be so.

वसीम बरेलवी
Waseem Barelvi

Friday, September 12, 2014

हम क़लन्दर हैं हमारी मेज़बानी और है

बोरिये पे बैठिये कुल्हड़ में पानी पीजिये 
हम क़लन्दर हैं हमारी मेज़बानी और है 
boriye pe baiThiye kulhaR me.n paanii piijiye
ham qalandar hai.n hamaarii mezbaanii aur hai

Sit on gunny sacks, drink water in earthen cups
I am a monk, the way I host guests is different

राहत इन्दौरी 
Raahat Indori 


Friday, July 18, 2014

लोग यों ही हैं झिझकते, सोचते; जबकि उनको छोड़ना पड़ता है घर

एक बूँद

ज्यों निकल कर बादलों की गोद से
थी अभी एक बूँद कुछ आगे बढ़ी
सोचने फिर-फिर यही जी में लगी,
आह ! क्यों घर छोड़कर मैं यों बढ़ी ?

दैव  मेरे भाग्य में क्या है बढ़ा,
मैं बचूँगी या मिलूँगी धूल में ?
या जलूँगी गिर अंगारे  पर किसी,
चू पडूँगी या कमल के फूल में ?

बह गयी उस काल एक ऐसी हवा
वह समुन्दर ओर आई अनमनी
एक सुन्दर सीप का मुँह था खुला
वह उसी में जा पड़ी मोती बनी ।

लोग यों ही हैं झिझकते, सोचते
जबकि उनको छोड़ना पड़ता है घर
किन्तु घर का छोड़ना अक्सर उन्हें
बूँद लौं कुछ और ही देता है कर ।

अयोध्या सिंह उपाध्याय 'हरिऔध'

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Mankutimma Kannada quotation by Sadananda Gowda in the Railway Budget

ಸಂದೇಹವೀ ಕೃತಿಯೊಳಿನ್ನಿಲ್ಲವೆಂದಲ್ಲ ।
ಇಂದು ನಂಬಿಹುದೆ ಮುಂದೆಂದುಮೆಂದಲ್ಲ ॥
ಕುಂದು ತೋರ್ದಂದದನು ತಿದ್ದಿಕೊಳೆ ಮನಸುಂಟು । 
ಇಂದಿಗೀ ಮತವುಚಿತ – ಮಂಕುತಿಮ್ಮ

sandeehavii kritiyoLinnillavendalla
indu nambihude mundendum endalla
kundu toordandadanu tiddikooLe manasunTu
indigii matavuchita - Mankutimma


संदेहवी कृतियोळ इन्निल्लवेंदल्ल
इंदु नम्बिहुदे मुंदेंदुम एंदल्ल
कुंदु तोर्दंदु तिद्दिकोळे मनसुंटु
इंदिगी मतवुचितअ - मंकुतिम्मअ

“It is not that after reading this book, there will be no more doubts.
It is not that what we believe today will hold up forever.
If someone points at some shortcoming,
I have an open mind to correct.
But for now, I believe this is right.”

– Mankutimma






sandEhavii kRutiyoL innillavendu alla । indu nambihude mundendum endalla ॥ kundu tOrdandu adanu tiddikoLe manasunTu । indige ii matavu uchita – Mankutimma ॥ 939 ॥ 

यत्तदग्रे विषमिव परिणामे अमृतोपमम्

I love the BJP guys. They keep reminding me of some great shlokas which I had learnt as a kid. We used to have something called Geeta class during the lunch break. Our Sanskrit teacher used to organise it for students proficient in Sanskrit. I always tried to give it a miss. But like a wrongly placed gutter on a Delhi road, some rain did fall into me at times. 

So Sadaananda GowDa quoted the Bhagavad Giitaa. Chapter 18 verse 37. I am reproducing both 37 and 38. You will know why.

Krishna is about to expound upon the three types of happiness - Raajasik, Saattvik and Taamasik in verses 37, 38 and 39. The one quoted by the minister is the first line of verse 37 which talks of the Saattvik happiness. 

यत्तदग्रे विषमिव परिणामे अमृतोपमम् 
तत्सुखम् सात्त्विकं प्रोक्तम् आत्मबुद्धि प्रसादजम् 

yat tadagre vishamiva pariNaame amritopamam
tatsukham saattvikam proktam aatmabuddhi praadajam

(yat=which, tat=that, agre=at first, visham=poison, iva=like, parinaame=at the end, amrita=life giving nectar, upamam=compared to; tatsukham=that happiness, saattvikam=saattvik (virtuous, endowed with goodness), proktam=declared, aatmabuddhi=self realisation; prasaadajam=clarity, transparency)

That which at first seems like poison, at the end is like nectar.
such happiness is said to be saattvika, which comes from the intellect due to self realisation

विषयेंद्रिय संयोगात् यत्तदग्रे अमृतोपमम् 
परिणामे विषमिव तत्सुखं राजसं स्मृतम् 

From the contact of object with the sense, that which seems at first like nectar
At the end is like poison, such happiness is declared to be raajasika. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

तुम जैसे गए ऐसे भी जाता नहीं कोई

रहने को सदा दहर में आता नहीं कोई 
तुम जैसे गए ऐसे भी जाता नहीं कोई 

rahne ko sadaa dahr me.n aataa nahii.n koii
tum jaise gaye aise bhii jaataa nahii.n koii

No one comes to this world to live forever
But their existential link they don't so abruptly sever 

इक बार तो ख़ुद मौत भी घबरा गई होगी 
यूं मौत को सीने से लगाता नहीं कोई 

ik baar to Khud maut bhii ghabraa gaii hogii
yoo.n maut ko siine se lagaataa nahii.n koii

For a second, even the grim Reaper would have stopped in his tracks
In the face of such willing and cheerful acceptance of death

Kaifi Azmi
कैफ़ी आज़मी 


Thursday, June 12, 2014

जानामि धर्मम् न च मे प्रवृत्ति:

The Parliament is becoming a happy hunting ground for quotes. Narendra Modi aptly quoted from Prapanna Giitaa or PaanDava Giitaa, the famous shlok by Duryodhan

जानामि धर्मम् न च मे प्रवृत्ति:, जानाम्यधर्मम् न च मे निवृत्ति:
त्वया हृषीकेश  हृदिस्थितेन यथा नियुक्तोस्मि तथा करोमि

keenaapi deveena hridisthitena

jaanaami dharmam na cha me pravrittihi, jaanaami adharmam na cha me nivrittihi
tvayaa hrishiikesha hridisthitena yathaa niyuktosmi tathaa karomi
There is an alternate version that gives the second line as 
kenaapi devena hridisthitena yathaa niyuktosmi tathaa karomi

I prefer the first version, so am sticking with it.

I know what is right but I am not inclined towards doing the right thing
I know what is wrong, but I cannot abstain from doing the wrong thing
Oh Lord of the senses, you reside in my heart and I act as per the impulses of my heart

(Hrishiikam is sense organ, iishaha is lord - this is an epithet for Vishnu and hence the reference is to Krishna himself). Hence I absolve myself of the blame of my actions. You are responsible. :)

The first lines remind me of Ghaalib when he says 

jaantaa huu.n savaab e taa'at o zuhad 
par tabiiyat idhar nahii.n aatii

I know the reward of obedience and abstinence
But it is not in my nature to be so

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

चलो तो सारे ज़माने को साथ ले के चलो

I have started becoming a fan of Mallikarjun Kharge. He is a good speaker. He quoted this couplet by MaKhdoom while congratulating Sumitra Mahajan on her appointment. Great couplet. 

हयात ले के चलो, कायनात ले के चलो
चलो तो सारे ज़माने को साथ ले के चलो 

hayaat le ke chalo, kaayanaat le ke chalo
chalo to saare zamaane ko saath le ke chalo

Take your life along, take the entire world along,
When you progress, ensure that you carry everyone along

MaKhdoom Mohiuddiin
मख़दूम मोहिउद्दीन 



Sunday, May 11, 2014

என்னித் துணிக கருமம்

Was watching the CEC's interview with Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN IBN. Mr Sampath was asked if he had made any mistakes. He responded with a tirukkuraL. It reminded me of something that I had learnt in school. So the kuraL goes like this;

eNNi tuNiga karumam; tuNindapin
eNNuvam enbadu izhukku

एण्णि तुणिगअ करुमम; तुणिंदपिन 
एण्णुवम एन्बदु इळुक्कु 

(सारे 'ए' का उच्चारण अंग्रेज़ी के शब्द bell के  'e' की तरह करें) 

என்னித் துணிக கருமம்; துணிந்தபின் 
எண்ணுவம் என்பது இழுக்கு 

It means carefully analyse and choose your course of action, but once you have done so
Do not dither, do not look back, do not intellectualise. Go ahead on that course with conviction.

Thank you Mr Sampath for reminding me of this one. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

शरीफ़ लोग उठे दूर जाके बैठ गये

लहू लुहान नज़ारों का ज़िक्र आया तो
शरीफ़ लोग उठे दूर जाके बैठ गये

lahuu luhaan nazaaro.n kaa zikr aayaa to
shariif log uThe duur jaa ke baiTh gaye

When discussions of blood-stained sights were started
The exalted honourable men got up and departed

दुश्यंत कुमार 
Dushyant Kumaar

मेरी पसंदीदा फ़िल्म है "अ फ़्यू गुड मेन". उसमें जॅक निकल्सन का एक मुकालमा है

"You can't handle the truth...You don't want the truth because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code, loyalty. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending something. You use them as a punchline."

इस शेर में भी कुछ ऐसे ही जज़्बात का इज़हार किया गया है, अलबत्ता बिल्कुल अलग तरीक़े से. 

इसी ग़ज़ल के दो और शेर मुझे पसंद हैं 

दुकानदार तो मेले में लुट गये यारो
तमाशबीन दुकानें लगा के बैठ गये

dukaandaar to mele me.n luT gaye yaaro
tamaashbeen dukaane.n lagaa ke baiTh gaye

ये सोच कर के दरख़्तों में छांव होती है
यहां बबूल के साये में आके बैठ गये 

ye soch kar ke daraKhto.n me.n chhaa.nv hotii hai
yahaa.n babuul ke saaye me.n aake baiTh gaye

Friday, April 25, 2014

स्वप्न वही जो नींद उडा दे वरना उसमे धार नहीं है; लक्ष्य ढूंढ़ते हैं वे जिनको वर्तमान से प्यार नहीं है

लक्ष्य ढूंढ़ते हैं वे जिनको
वर्तमान से प्यार नहीं है
इस पल की गरिमा पर जिनका
थोड़ा भी अधिकार नहीं है
इस क्षण की गोलाई देखो
आसमान पर लुढ़क रही है
नारंगी तरुणाई देखो
दूर क्षितिज पर बिखर रही है
पक्ष ढूंढते हैं वे जिनको
जीवन ये स्वीकार नहीं हैं
लक्ष्य ढूंढ़ते हैं वे जिनको
वर्तमान से प्यार नहीं है।
नाप नाप के पीने वालों
जीवन का अपमान न करना
पल पल लेखा जोखा वालों
गणित पे यूँ अभिमान न करना
नपे तुले वे ही हैं जिनकी
बाहों में संसार नहीं है
लक्ष्य ढूंढ़ते हैं वे जिनको
वर्तमान से प्यार नहीं है
ज़िंदा डूबे डूबे रहते
मृत शरीर तैरा करते हैं
उथले उथले छप छप करते
गोताखोर सुखी रहते हैं
स्वप्न वही जो नींद उडा दे
वरना उसमे धार नहीं है
लक्ष्य ढूंढ़ते हैं वे जिनको
वर्तमान से प्यार नहीं है
कहाँ पहुँचने की जल्दी है
नृत्य भरो इस खालीपन में
किसे दिखाना तुम ही हो बस
गीत रचो इस घायल मन में
पी लो बरस रहा है अमृत
ये सावन लाचार नहीं है
लक्ष्य ढूंढ़ते हैं वे जिनको
वर्तमान से प्यार नहीं है
कहीं तुम्हारी चिंताओं की
गठरी पूँजी ना बन जाए
कहीं तुम्हारे माथे का बल
शकल का हिस्सा न बन जाए
जिस मन में उत्सव होता है
वहाँ कभी भी हार नहीं है
लक्ष्य ढूंढ़ते हैं वे जिनको
वर्तमान से प्यार नहीं है
 Prasoon Joshi
प्रसून जोशी 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

मैं आ गया हूँ बता इंतिज़ाम क्या क्या है

गुलाब ख़्वाब दवा ज़हर जाम क्या क्या है
मैं आ गया हूँ बता इंतिज़ाम क्या क्या है

gulaab Khwaab dawaa zahar jaam kyaa kyaa hai 
mai.n aa gayaa hoo.n bataa intizaam kyaa kyaa hai 

Roses, dreams, medicine, poison, wine let them all be laid
I've arrived now, tell me what arrangements have you made

Rahat Indori
राहत इंदौरी

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

मुसलसल हादिसों से बस मुझे इतनी शिकायत है

मुसलसल हादिसों से बस मुझे इतनी शिकायत है
कि ये आंसू बहाने की भी तो मोहलत नहीं देते 

musalsal haadiso.n se bas mujhe itnii shikaayat hai
ki ye aansoo bahaane kii bhi to muhlat nahii.n dete
I've just one plaint against each successive accident
That they don't even allow you time to grieve or lament
Waseem Barelvi
वसीम बरेलवी

Saturday, April 5, 2014

घर के धंधे हैं कि निबटते ही नहीं 'नाहीद'

घर के धंधे हैं कि निबटते ही नहीं 'नाहीद'
मैं निकलना भी अगर घर से शाम को चाहूँ 

ghar ke dhandhe hai.n ki nibaTte hii nahii.n naahiid 
main nikalnaa bhii agar ghar se shaam ko chaahoo.n 

The chores and affairs of hearth and home are never-ending
Even if I want to, I'm unable to go out in the evening
Kishwar Naheed
किश्वर नाहीद

Sunday, March 30, 2014

कुछ फूल भी काँटों की हिमायत में खड़े हैं

ये बात तो इस बाग़ के हक़ में नहीं जाती
कुछ फूल भी काँटों की हिमायत में खड़े हैं

ye baat to is baaG ke haq me.n nahee.n jaatii
kuchh phool bhii kaanTon kii himaayat me.n khaDe hain

It doesn't speak very highly of this garden (this place)
Even some flowers have come forward to defend the thorns

Waseem Barelvii
वसीम बरेलवी

Thursday, March 20, 2014

जो जुर्म करते हैं इतने बुरे नहीं होते

जो जुर्म करते हैं इतने बुरे नहीं होते
सज़ा ना देकर अदालत बिगाड़ देती है

jo jurm karte hai.n itne bure nahii.n hote
sazaa naa dekar adaalat bigaaR detii hai

Those who commit crimes are not all that bad
The courts spoil them by not punishing them

Rahat Indauri
राहत इन्दौरी

Saturday, March 15, 2014

यही जाना की कुछ न जाना है

यही जाना की कुछ न जाना है
सो भी इक उम्र में हुआ मालूम

yahii jaanaa ki kuchh na jaanaa hai
so bhii ik umr me.n huaa maaloom

All I have learnt is that I have learnt nothing
And that too I have learnt after such a long time

Meer Taqi 'Meer'
मीर तक़ी 'मीर' 

Monday, March 10, 2014

नशा शराब में होता तो नाचती बोतल

ये अपनी मस्ती है जिसने मचाई है हलचल 
नशा शराब में होता तो नाचती बोतल 

ye apnii mastii hai jis ne machaaii hai halchal

nashaa sharaab me.N hotaa to naachtii bootal

All the tumult and commotion is entirely due to my own intoxication

If wine was intoxicating, then the bottle too would have swayed

आरिफ़ जलाली  Arif Jalaali