Raqib Se!

-Nazm by Faiz Ahmad Faiz

-TO THE ONE WHO LOVED HER AS WELL-

Raqib Se is a one-of-its-kind poem written by Faiz Ahmed Faiz which is addressed by a man to another, who was in love with the same woman.

When Faiz was residing in Sialkot, in a house opposite to that of his, there lived a girl Faiz was in love with. One unfortunate day, on his return from college, Faiz discovered that the girl had left the city. Aagha Naasir (Pakistani Film Director) writes that years later when Faiz, having risen to popular fame and appeal, revisited Sialkot, he had a serendipitous meeting with the same girl who happened to be visiting the city at the same time. Her husband was keen to meet Faiz. She urged Faiz to take note of her  husband. This became an inspiration for ‘Raqib Se!’.

aa ki vābasta haiñ us husn kī yādeñ tujh se
jis ne is dil ko parī-ḳhāna banā rakkhā thā
jis kī ulfat meñ bhulā rakkhī thī duniyā ham ne
dahr ko dahr kā afsāna banā rakkhā thā

Wabasta: associated
Deher: world
Come! For the memories of that beauty affiliate with you
That sprouted in my heart the joyous abodes of faeries
Oblivious to the world in love: I strode besotted like you
And ridiculed the world in a blend of naïve fantasies
 
āshnā haiñ tire qadmoñ se vo rāheñ jin par
us kī mad.hosh javānī ne ināyat kī hai
kārvāñ guzre haiñ jin se usī rānā.ī ke
jis kī in āñkhoñ ne be-sūd ibādat kī hai

Rana’i: beauty
Bay-sood: in vain
Traversed by your footsteps those thoroughfares too
That her alluring youth bestowed with a tread,
As the caravans of sublimity traversed too,
That these eyes worshipped in vain: as past us they sped
 
tujh se khelī haiñ vo mahbūb havā.eñ jin meñ
us ke malbūs kī afsurda mahak baaqī hai
tujh pe barsā hai usī baam se mahtāb kā nuur
jis meñ biitī huī rātoñ kī kasak baaqī hai
 
Malboos: dress
Afsurda: ancient/antiquated/aged
You too have been teased by those darling breezes,
By the hushed traces of her fragranced attires
Swaddled you too in the rapturous glow,
As pearly moon light embraced her lucent doors,
Rupture redolent with the pangs of restive nights!

tū ne dekhī hai vo peshānī vo ruḳhsār vo hoñT
zindagī jin ke tasavvur meñ luTā dī ham ne
tujh pe uTThī haiñ vo khoī huī sāhir āñkheñ
tujh ko ma.alūm hai kyuuñ umr gañvā dī ham ne
 
Sahir: magical
You too have delighted in that brow, those cheeks, those lips
Spell bound by their thoughts we frittered our life away
You too have witnessed those enchanted wistful eyes,
You alone fathom why we gambled our life away

ham pe mushtarka haiñ ehsān ġham-e-ulfat ke
itne ehsān ki ginvā.ūñ to ginvā na sakūñ
ham ne is ishq meñ kyā khoyā hai kyā sīkhā hai
juz tire aur ko samjhā.ūñ to samjhā na sakūñ

Mushtarka: common
Juz: except
Common to us the pleasurable favours of lovers’ aches
Such favours as elude the counts; In vain I try to count,
What did we lose in love? What have been our gains?
None but you comprehend the ruminations I recount
 
ājizī sīkhī ġharīboñ kī himāyat sīkhī
yās-o-hirmān ke dukh-dard ke ma.anī sīkhe
zer-dastoñ ke masā.ib ko samajhnā sīkhā
sard aahoñ ke ruḳh-e-zard ke ma.anī sīkhe

Aijizi: helplessness
Yaas-o-harmaan: despair and hopelessness
Rukh-e-zard: pale cheek
We came across destitution and sympathies for poor,
We unraveled despair and hopelessness as grief came to fore,
We learned to discern the travails of downtrodden poor,
To comprehend icy sighs and anemic cheeks - wretchedly sore!
 
jab kahīñ baiTh ke rote haiñ vo bekas jin ke
ashk āñkhoñ meñ bilakte hue so jaate haiñ
nā-tavānoñ ke nivāloñ pe jhapaTte haiñ uqaab
baazū tole hue mañDlāte hue aate haiñ
 
Uqaab: eagles
Baazo : wings
Tolay: spread
Whenever now those destitute lay lamenting and weeping,
Their teary eyes toil to sleep, swollen with weeping.
O then morsels of downtrodden the hawks pounce swindling,
Flailing their wings fiercely as they come charging!

jab kabhī biktā hai bāzār meñ mazdūr kā gosht
shāh-rāhoñ pe ġharīboñ kā lahū bahtā hai
aag sī siine meñ rah rah ke ubaltī hai na pūchh
apne dil par mujhe qaabū hī nahīñ rahtā hai

Sheharah: highway
When the labourers flesh is haggled off in streets,
And the blood of the poor the highway again excretes,
Don’t ask about the flames that roar in my fidgety beats,
Anxieties soar in my heart as my power of soothing it depletes!

Raqib Se is a classic poem with harmonious amalgamation of thoughts, feelings and style. Faiz swiftly slithers down from his beloved to the capitalist culture. The pain inflicted by the beloved to the poet becomes a ladder for Faiz to feel the miseries of the poor.

Faiz has fabricated an astonishing imagery where the poet is deprived of his beloved and so are the poor deprived of food and shelter. 

For further insights please refer to the YouTube video below:

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