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Tau kiya yeh tay haye… (Gulbahar Bano singing)

A piece of Urdu poetry that has remained with me through seasons, years and all the vicissitudes…
This is an extraordinary ghazal (rhymed poem in Urdu composed in classical style). The poet is perhaps Saleem Kausar whose expression is subtle yet brutal. There is a sense of finality in the lyrics – a denouement that is being challenged and hence a dynamic is created that allows the tragedy of two people parting their ways to turn into a moment of absolute beauty. The sadness of the verse is augmented by Gulbahar Bano’s unique voice that brings out the depth of meaning in the lines.

I can only translate the first couplet:
Tau kiya ye tay haye ke ab umr bhar nahee milna
Tau phir ye umr bhi kiyon, tum se gar nahee milna

Is it now agreed that we shall not meet for life
But what good would be living if I will not be with you

As I rendered this literal translation, I wanted to curse myself for being so inadequate with words.. Those who can understand Urdu or Hindi would know what exactly I am complaining about. I dedicate this to someone special who remains as close as time itself. In fact, I am grateful to this muse who sent it the other day bringing back the smell of summer heat, the shades of white and all the flowers that bloomed and were tucked into thick books.

Here is the ghazal

another version found on youtube: […]

February 18th, 2010|Culture, Music, Pakistan, Pakistani Art, Pakistani Literature, Personal, Poetry, video|Comments Off on Tau kiya yeh tay haye… (Gulbahar Bano singing)

A sufi in Budapest

Cross-posted from here

Legend has it that a Bektashi dervish who was also a companion of the Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent introduced roses to the city of Budapest. This man was thus named Gul Baba – Gul meaning ‘flower’ in Persian and Urdu. I am not sure if the legend is true but I was surely surprised to find the tomb of a 16th century sufi saint in Budapest. Of all places in the world, I didn’t expect to come across a sufi shrine there. But perhaps it’s not that unusual since the Ottomans ruled Hungary for 150 years and some traces of their occupation still linger in the form of architecture. Budapest still has a couple of original Turkish baths that are still open and functioning. […]

March 24th, 2009|Personal|0 Comments