Ghazal: ‘Seene mein jalan..’

This is a lesser-hummed Ghazal, but by no means less popular amongst the true Ghazal fans. The lyrics, written by Shahryar who also penned the ever mesmerizing Ghazals of the hit movie Umrao Jaan (1981), have been wonderfully sung by one of my favorite singers, Suresh Wadkar. The song featured in the Hindi film Gaman (1978) starring theater-greats Farooq Sheikh, Smita Patil, Jalal Agha, Nana Patekar and Satish Shah. Anyone who has been through an uninspired low patch in life or has experienced moments of introspection-related confusion will easily relate with this classic.

“सीने में जलन, आखों में तूफ़ान सा क्यूँ है?

इस शहर में हर शक्स परेशान सा क्यूँ है?

दिल है तो धड़कने का बहाना कोई ढूँढे?

पत्थर की तरह बेहिस-ओ-बेजान सा क्यूँ है?

तन्हाई की यह कौनसी मंजिल है रफीकों?

ता-हद्द-ए-नज़र एक बयाबान सा क्यूँ है?

क्या कोई नयी बात नज़र आती है हम में?

आईना हमे देख के हैरान सा क्यूँ है?”

My honest attempt at a satisfactory translation into the English language:

“What’s the cause for this burning feeling and all the confusion in me?

And why does everyone in the city seem to have similar worries?

Why is my heart looking for a special reason to beat?

And why has it suddenly become as flat and as lifeless at a stone?

Tell me friends, what secluded place have I come to?

As far as the eye can see, why is there is nothing but an uninhabited desert?

Has anything changed in my appearance lately?

Why then, does the mirror get stupefied by my reflection in it?”

9 thoughts on “Ghazal: ‘Seene mein jalan..’

    • Thanks Ashish! I’m glad that it makes poetic sense, because with my abysmal knowledge of Urdu I was under pressure quite a lot once I decided to attempt the translation. Well, Google helped! 🙂

  1. That is a beautiful song — and thanks for the translation. I don’t know Urdu and often I miss out on the touching poetry of the ghazals.

  2. Awesome.. Just perfect.. I love Urdu language.. but I didnt know the meaning of few of the words in this Gazal.. Good work Nikhil..!! And Thank you..!!

    • Thanks 🙂 I too didn’t know the meaning of a few words in it, so when I attempted the translation I took the help of the ‘Ek Fankaar’ blog which you can find my list of blogrolls. It contains numerous such ghazhals (along with YouTube videos) and the meaning of tough Urdu words. Do check it out when free.

  3. Good work Nikhil, however I am not so sure about the translation for the third line, I mean if we do not assume that there is a question mark at the end (Was not able to get it from the tone of the singer), then the translation could be “If, at all, there is anything like heart left in me, it must find something to cheer about (or beat, it cant beat without having a purpose), However, i am not able to understand why it has become lifeless like a stone” and for the translation for the last line, I interpreted it as ” Why my own self is shocked by looking at me?”. For me the whole conversation in this Ghazal is self centered. A confused man talking to himself!

    • Thanks Kaif! I read your translation, and its a good one too. The general concept remains the same, yet each person observes a different shade in a work of art. That’s the beauty of perspective 🙂

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