Night and Your Memory

Night, and your absent memory crept into my heart
As in a wasteland, spring blossoms quietly
As in a desert, the zephyr sways gently
As to a dying man, relief comes, unexpectedly.




Raat yuuñ dil meñ tirī khoī huī yaad aa.ī
Jaise vīrāne meñ chupke se bahār aa jaa.e
Jaise sahrāoñ meñ haule se chale bād-e-nasīm
Jaise bīmār ko be-vaj.h qarār aa jaa.e


Translator’s Note:

Translating poetry is not just about fidelity to the words but to the essence of the words. In my approach to translations, I look beyond the words for the meaning, the central play in the original poet’s mind. Where possible, and especially in Urdu ghazals, where there is a strict rhyming and syllabic count sequence, I try to recreate a rhyme.


Ajit S. Dutta

Ajit S. Dutta is a Sikh-American author and published poet with an MFA from UC Riverside. In his professional career, Dutta managed a management consulting business with several offices in Africa, Haiti, and India, which brought him in touch with several cultures and countries. Mr. Dutta published a book, A Father’s Poems, in 2000. His poems are also part of an anthology of published poetry in India. In addition to his poetry, Mr. Dutta translates poems from Urdu and Braj Bhasha into English. Dutta currently lives in Oakton, VA.

Photo by: Ajit S. Dutta

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911-1984), one of Urdu poetry’s most read poets, started off his poetic career writing light-hearted poems about love and beauty. Soon, though, his poems became more political, assumed more revolutionary themes reflecting his belief in communism; in several poems, he rues the fact that beauty’s attraction cannot hide the ugliness of poverty and social ills. His bold writing got him thrown in Pakistani prisons and, after the death of his benefactor, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he went into self-exile in Beirut. Faiz has been nominated several times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Photo by Daily Pakistan