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:

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