Junaid has sent another translation of Faiz rendered by a Toronto based poet – Anis Zuberi. This is a timeless ghazal, Na Ganvao Navak-e-Neem Kash has not only been translated but also explained in detail by Mr Zuberi.

Na ganvao navak-e-neem kash, dil-e-reza reza ganva dia
Jo bachay hain sang samet lo, tan-e-dagh dagh luta dia

Mere charagar ko naveed ho, saf-e-dushmana ko khabar karo
Woh jo qarz rakhtay thay jaan par, woh hisab aaj chuka dia

Karo kaj jabeen pe sar-e-kafan, mere qatilon ko guman na ho
Ke ghuroor-e-ishq ka baankpan, pas-e-marg hum ne bhula dia

Udhar aik harf ki kushtni, yahan laakh uzr thaa guftni
Jo kaha toh sun ke ura dia, jo likha toh parh ke mita dia

Jo rukay toh koh-e-garan thay hum, jo chalay toh jan se guzar gaye
Rah-e-yaar hum ne qadam qadam, tujhay yadgaar bana dia

Translation and explanation:

Na ganvao navak-e-neem kash, dil-e-reza reza ganva dia
Jo bachay hain sang samet lo, tan-e-dagh dagh luta dia

Do not waste (your) half drawn arrow, (I have already) lost (broken pieces of my) heart.
Collect and save the left-over stones, (my) injured or wounded body is (already) wasted

There is a clear sense of despondency as he realizes that his opponents are mighty and he had no physical strength to challenge them. The establishment that is perpetrating injustice on society is much more powerful (think of police, military intelligence and even judiciary in addition to the wealth and political power they have against a wronged man who with nothing except his bare hands; in case of a poet, a hand with a harmless pen). In such a situation he does not see any hope. In a state of despondency he asks his tormentors not to waste their arrows and save the left-over stones —Symbols of the power of the establishment to drown and quiet dissent— as they have already achieved their purpose; the resistance is no more, he has already lost his soul and body.

Mere charagar ko naveed ho, saf-e-dushmana ko khabar karo
Woh jo qarz rakhtay thay jaan par, woh hisab aaj chuka dia

Let my health giver know, let the procession of foes know
He whose soul was indebted, has settled his dues today

In a sense he is repeating what he said in the first two lines. Addressing his well wishers as well as his adversaries, he says “I have paid my dues by sacrificing my life”. Here the most important word is “qarz” (dues). What kind of dues is he talking about? Again in the face of injustice and oppression he does not want to be a bystander. He feels that that it is his obligation to fight on behalf of the weak and downtrodden (that is the qarz he is referring to). For him fight for justice is not a choice but a duty. By equating his supreme sacrifice with repayment of qarz he is reminding that he did what he was supposed to do. For that he does not need to be praised.

Let us not confine his struggle within a geographical boundary. Faiz who writes against exploitation is a citizen of the world. Does it make a difference if the victims are Lebanese, Argentineans, Haitians or Pakistanis?

Karo kaj jabeen pe sar-e-kafan, mere qatilon ko guman na ho
Ke ghuroor-e-ishq ka baankpan, pas-e-marg hum ne bhula dia

Keep the burial shroud atilt on (my) forehead, lest my assassin may have misgivings
(that) Pride of self-importance or arrogance of love, I forgot after death.

This is typical of Faiz’s style. After expressing despondency and defeat he shows defiance. A bent cap or as in Urdu poetry called “kaj kulahi” is a sign of self-importance or in case of a figure of authority a symbol of arrogance (like the kulah of Nawab of Kalabagh). So he asks that his burial shroud be placed atilt on his forehead so that his assassins may not have the comfort or satisfaction of knowing that they have made him humble in death. No, he does not want to surrender even in death. He is as defiant in death as he was in life. They killed his body not his soul.

Udhar aik harf ki kushtni, yahan laakh uzr thaa guftni
Jo kaha toh sun ke ura dia, jo likha toh parh ke mita dia

On that side there was one word ‘kill’, on my side there were hundred thousand reasons (to explain why I behaved the way I did)
What (I) said (you) heard, not paid attention ; what (I) wrote (you) you read and erased

The word ‘udher’ he is referring to the oppressors or the privileged class that uses violence to maintain the status quo and “yahan’ signifies the person who is leading the struggle against injustice and tyranny. People who are blinded by their self interest are not willing to heed any word of logic or reason, whether it is spoken or written. The indirect conclusion is that people can not get justice through dialogue because the other side is bent on using brute force to continue exploitation.

(Is not true today? West is not prepared to listen to any reasoning though on my side there are hundred thousand reasons to explain why I behaved the way I did )

Jo rukay toh koh-e-garan thay hum, jo chalay toh jan se guzar gaye
Rah-e-yaar hum ne qadam qadam, tujhay yadgaar bana dia

(I am) mountain when I stop; (I am) beyond life when I walk
I have, (turned) every step on the path of the beloved into a memorial

In his usual style in the last two lines the person who fights for the rights of the underprivileged now assumes the mantel of a lover. When he stops his strength and determination is that of a mountain and when he walks (that signifies movement in life as against the stationery position when a person is standing), he is larger then life. While walking he turned every step on the path of his beloved into a memorial or a testament through his determination and sacrifice. Here he is not a traditional lover and the path is not an alleyway leading to the beloved. It is a powerful poetic symbol.

He is fighting for the right of downtrodden with a lover’s determination and the difficult path he is treading on (to get to his objective, the beloved) has become a monument of his strength (standing) and struggle (walking).
(One can listen to the echoes of these lines in the mountains of Afghanistan)