Selections from Shah Hussain’s poetry

“In the new Lahore lies buried Shah Husain and with him lies buried the myth of Lal Husain. Still, at least once a year we can hear the defused echoes of the myth. As the lights glimmer on the walls of Shalamar, the unsophisticated rhythms of swinging bodies and exulting voices curiously insist on being associated with Husain. This instance apparently defies explanation. But one is aware that an undertone of mockery pervades the air – released feet mocking the ancient sods of Shalamar and released voices mocking its ancient walls. Husain too, the myth tells us, danced a dance of mockery in the ancient streets of Lahore. Grandson of a convert weaver, he embarrassed every one by aspiring to the privilege of learning what he revered guardians of traditional knowledge claimed to teach. ” Full article here

 Here are a few Kafis with translations….

Ni Mai menoon Kherian di gal naa aakh
Ranjhan mera, main Ranjhan di, Kherian noon koori jhak
Lok janey Heer kamli hoi, Heeray da wer chak

Do not talk of the Kheras to me,
O mother, do not.
I belong to Ranjha and he belongs to me.
And the Kheras dream idle dreams.
Let the people say, “Heer is crazy; she has given her-self to the cowherd.” He alone knows what it all means.
O mother, he alone knows.
Please mother, do not talk to me of Kheras.

Sujjen bin raatan hoiyan wadyan
Ranjha jogi, main jogiani, kamli kar kar sadian
Mass jhurey jhur pinjer hoyya, karken lagiyan hadyan
Main ayani niyoonh ki janan, birhoon tannawan gadiyan
Kahe Husain faqeer sain da, larr tairay main lagiyaan

Nights swell and merge into each other as I stand a wait for him.
Since the day Ranjha became jogi, I have scarcely been my old self and people every where call me crazy. My young flesh crept into creases leaving my young bones a creaking skeleton. I was too young to know the ways of love; and now as the nights swell and merge into each other, I play host to that unkind guest – separation.

Main wi janan dhok Ranjhan di, naal mare koi challey
Pairan paindi, mintan kardi, janaan tan peya ukkaley
Neen wi dhoonghi, tilla purana, sheehan ney pattan malley
Ranjhan yaar tabeeb sadhendha, main tan dard awalley
Kahe Husain faqeer namana, sain senhurray ghalley

Travelers, I too have to go; I have to go to the solitary hut of Ranjha. Is there any one who will go with me? I have begged many to accompany me and now I set out alone. Travelers, is there no one who could go with me?

The River is deep and the shaky bridge creaks as people step on it. And the ferry is a known haunt of tigers. Will no one go with me to the lonely hut of Ranjha?

During long nights I have been tortured by my raw wounds. I have heard he in his lonely hut knows the sure remedy. Will no one come with me, travelers?

Courtesy – Najam Hosain Syed

Abida Parveen sings “teray ishq nachaya..”

As I recited Bulleh Shah’s poetry this evening, a friend sent a link to another video of Abida Parveen singing Bulleh’s mystic poetry in her inimitable style. Lo and behold, I also found an online translation of the verse (see below after the video).

Here is a translation of the verse rendered in this video:

O Physician, come back! my life is ebbing away.
Compelled by love, I dance, I dance.

This love has set up camp inside me.
It is I, who filled the cup with this poison and drank it.
Come back right away, else, I will surely die.
Compelled by love, I dance, I dance.

The sun has set, its glow remains.
Grant me a sight of you again! I would die for it!
What a mistake I made, not going with you.
Compelled by love I dance, I dance.

Mother do not bar me from this love.
Whoever turns back unloaded boats that have left?
How foolish I was, not going with the boatman.
Compelled by love I dance, I dance.

Peacocks sing in the groves of love.
My beautiful beloved is my Ka’ba, my Qibla.
He injured me, then turned away.
Compelled by love I dance, I dance.

Bullhe Shah, I sit at Inayat’s door,
He clothed me in robes of green and red.
When I stamped my heel, I found him.
Compelled by love I dance, I dance.


For another version of Punjabi and English, please click here.