“Love never remains the same, nor does the beloved.”

What does one do when someone requests the translation of a poem (a nazm* really) written by a poet you have admired all your life? You are afraid, but you decide to try something you wouldn’t otherwise. Thank you so much anonymous, I owe you!

Meaning of ‘Mujh Se Pehli Si Mohabbat Mere Mehboob Na Maang’ by legendary poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz that appeared as a song in a wonderful Pakistani film Qaidi (1962) is deep and has lived in the hearts of Faiz’s fans as a stand- alone poem for a long time. As the story goes, well-known singer Noor Jehan (also known as Malika-E-Taranum or Queen of Melody) composed the tune for the nazm, spontaneously in a gathering that was celebrating his release from prison (he was imprisoned for having communist views in Pakistan). Everyone including Faiz, loved her rendition so much that he started crediting her as a co-author. Since then, Noor Jahan has made this nazm her own, performing it in several concerts and of course, for the film by Najam Naqvi. Seven years later, Majrooh Sultanpuri, a well-known lyricist wrote a beautiful song  for Raj Khosla’s Bollywood film Chirag (1969), starting with a line borrowed from the nazm, i.e. ‘Teri aankhon ke siva duniya mein rakha kya hai’.

Like most of Faiz’s work, this nazm is a combination of personal and political. It asks uncomfortable questions about the very charm and existence of love, lust, passion and even pain of separation. It oscillates between the fond remembrances of a beloved’s charm and the grim realities of the world all around. How does one shut oneself away from the suffering around us while being immersed in the beauty or even melancholy of love? It takes a courageous poet like Faiz to ask such a piercing question from his own conscience.

Song Credits
Lyrics: Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Singers: Noor Jehan
Music: Rashid Attre

Movie Credits
Directed by: Najam Naqvi
Starring: Shamim Ara, Darpan, Nazar
Produced by: Agha G.A. Gul
Release: 1962

Original Lyrics-Mujh Se Pehli Si Mohabbat

Mujh se pehli si muhabbat mere mehboob na maang
Maine samjhaa tha ke tu hai to darakhshaan hai hayaat
Tera gham hai to gham-e-dehar ka jhagdaa kyaa hai
Teri surat se hai aalam mein bahaaron ko sabaat
Teri aankhon ke siwaa duniyaa mein rakhkhaa kya hai

Tu jo mil jaaye to taqdir nigoon ho jaaye
Yoon na thaa maine faqat chaahaa thaa yoon ho jaaye
Aur bhi dukh hai zamaane mein muhabbat ke siwaa
Raahatein aur bhi hain vasl ki raahat ke siwaa

Anginat sadiyon ki taareeq bahemaanaa tilism
Resham-o-atlas-o-kamkhwaab mein bunvaaye hue
Ja-ba-ja bikte hue koochaa-o-baazaar mein jism
Khaak mein lithade hue, khoon mein nehlaaye hue
Jism nikle hue amraaz ke tannooron se
Peep behti hui galte hue naasooron se
Laut jaati hai udhar ko bhi nazar, kya keeje?
Ab bhi dilkash hai tera husn, magar kya keeje?

Aur bhi dukh hai zamaane mein muhabbat ke siwaa
Raahatein aur bhi hain vasl ki raahat ke siwaa
Mujh se pehli si muhabbat mere mehboob na maang

Translation of Mujh Se Pehli Si Mohabbat by bollywoodtarjuma

My love, my dear,
Please don’t demand our love from the yesteryear.

With you I thought, life is perennially luminous,
now, with your melancholy around,
pain of the world doesn’t make a sound.
Your face ushers in an everlasting spring.
Not much is left to see in this world,
without the joy your eyes used to bring.

Fate would salute me, if you were by my side,
That, it should unfold like this,
was never for me to decide.
Other suffering lives in this world, aside from the love-spun.
Other respites exist, apart from a passionate union.

My love, my dear,
Please don’t demand our love from the yesteryear

The spells of black magic, running through a millennium,
Weaved into brocade of life like silken delusions.
Dragged in grime, soaked in blood,
bodies on sale brim each lane like a flood.
Bodies dragged off a kiln of maladies,
decaying with sores, those discharge-filled causalities.
My eyes cannot look away from them,
though your beauty is still enchanting, my gem.

Other suffering lives in this world, aside from the love-spun.
Other respites exist, apart from a passionate union.

My love, my dear,
Please don’t demand our love from the yesteryear

*Nazm is a well organized, logically evolving poem where each individual verse serves the need of the central concept or theme of the poem. Though a nazm is traditionally written in a rhyming verse, there are many examples of nazms written in a free verse.

 

Audio quality is much better in this clip:

 

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