Translating Hosh Walon Ko Khabar Kya

by apoorvmat

Translating literature from one language to another is such a tough ask! My father, Sh Shyam Mathur, is an award-winning translator and he speaks a lot about a core dilemma that translators face: stay faithful to metaphors / similies (which are so rooted in language and culture, and thus might sound totally weird in the other language) or take the translator’s license and play around with the words a bit to keep the emotion intact.

With Dr Amrita Das gaining her PhD last week (in great style, I might add), I have been in a ghazal zone. So here I have tried to translate Nida Fazli’s ghazal “hosh walon ko KHabar kya” as featured in the movie Sarfarosh. An interesting challenge – mainly stemming from the need to keep the Ghazal’s syntax in place. I try to stay faithful to the words but sometimes I take the liberty to play with the words a bit to preserve the emotion.

You’re sober. You don’t know what this dance is all about.
Be in love, my friend, to feel what this trance is all about.

We locked eyes once and my whole world lit up
Oh what wizardry their glance is all about!

This life is a poem when they wear their hair loose
Their eyes – so shy! – tell us what romance is all about

Couldn’t bring to my lips what was in my heart, “Nida”
And they couldn’t figure …what silence is all about