Dr. Jagtar Ghazals (English Translation)

JAGTAR was one of the most politically conscious poets of Punjabi.He was talked about even in the mid-sixties and was known by his pen name Jagtar “Papiha”. He dropped the last name in course of time. During those days he was a teacher in a village in Doaba.

In early seventies he joined Panjab University to do his masters in Punjabi literature and became a serious student of Pakistani Punjabi writing. His stint in the university paid off and Jagtar became a college lecturer teaching at the Government College, Hoshiarpur, for most of his life.

Some of his Collections Translated in English

“Jinha ne mitti nu raundia si, jinha ne mitti te zulam keete Mai khak hunde oh taaj vekha, mai/khak hunde oh takhat vekhe.” (I have seen kings and potentates turning to dust who had ruthlessly ravaged the earth and wreacked havoc on it.)

“Je sheesha pee gia hai naksh mere hauli hauli/daboke mainu pani usda vi tan mar gia hai.” (The mirror has sapped my facial features over a time, though it has lost its own power to reflect in the process.)

“Hanera belagama, tund vi gustakh vi si par/Hawa bhar ik tathina maat us nu kar gia hai.” (There was oppressive darkness all around but a tiny glowworm vanquished it.)

“Aise tut ke rishte uljhe pher kadi no suljhe/Tere pichhon jiwan vich na phir tarteeb rahi.”(Life is in complete disarray after you left and the network of relations is a shambles.)

“Talwaran dian dharan utte, phul lahu de mehke/Maktal vich vi phullan di rut barhi kareeb rahi.”(Blood bloomed like flowers on the sharp edge of the sword; spring was not far behind even in the slaughter house.) 

“Barha hi katalan ne katalgar vich jashan karna si/Je meri akh’ch ik vi atthru chehre te dar hun da.” (The executioner would have celebrated in the slaughter house itself had there been signs of fear on my face and tears in my eyes.)

“Main van chon niklia tan rastian vich ugg pia jangal/Eh jangal da guzar mainu na hun vahishi bana deve.” (When I came out of the forest, I found jungle everywhere. I am afraid it may make me a brute.)

“Eh kaun aia, nagar vich mehkian galian te rah jage/Eh sutte zakham, visari dastan na murh jaga deve.”(Who is visiting the town that every street is filled with fragrance.It may reopen old wounds, breathe life into forgotten legends.)

“Hai dushman chanini meri, te dushman hai hanera vi/Bane divaar ik rah di, te ik rasta bhula deve.”(Both moonlight and darkness are my enemies.The former becomes a hindrance in the realisation of my designs and the latter may lead me astray.)

“Dosti te dushmani de silsile sabh torh ke/Ik na ik din ghook son jawanga mitti orhke.”(Snapping relations with all friends and foes, I’ll be deeply asleep under a mud blanket.)

“Kade neela, kade chitta, kade sawa tan aia hai/Jo auna chahida si oh kade na inqlab aia.” (We have seen blue, white and green revolutions but the revolution we longed for has evaded us.)

“Takseem tan buri nahi par is de fal sarup/Nafrat da beej ghar nu hai malba bana gia.” (There have been divisions in families but the seeds of hatred sown in its wake have reduced the house into rubble.)

“Ohde dil teek pujjan da si usdi akh ch hi rasta/ki mushkil is je usne ik nazar hi vekhia hunda.” (The path to her heart lay through her eyes.What was the problem in her casting a glance at me?)

“Aje rahan’ch ghore hinkde apne sipahian de / Hari Mandar duale ne khare apne hi lashkar vi.” (The neighing horses of our soldiers are still on their way, though our own troops have laid a siege of the Golden Temple.)

“Barha khush en tun masjid dhah ke apne Ram Raj ander/Samajh sakda tun kash apna te us Babar da antar vi.” (You are overjoyed over the demolition of the mosque during your Ram Rajya.Only if you could understand the difference between you and Babar.)

“Gharan de chehrian utte ibarat kar gai dehshat/Heneri na kade aisi suni si na kadi vekhi.”(The terror inscribed its name on the walls of many houses.Such a devastating storm has never been seen nor heard of.)

“Heer di dargah hai mere lai hajj da makaam/Is lai satkaar mere dil ’ch sare Jhang da hai.”(The tomb of Heer is my Mecca. That is why I worship the entire land of Jhang.)

“Umar di si pairh chehre te, safar di gard vi/Is lai sheeshe ne ki surat miri pehchanini si.”(The tell-tale signs of age and the dust during life’s journey covered the face. That is why the mirror failed to recognise me.)

“Sabh apne apne daa te san so mai chupp hi bhali jati/Eh basti fandkan di hai, oh chirian da sudargar si.” (Everybody was a trickster here so I kept a low profile. It is a colony of bird-catchers who trap and sell sparrows.)

 “Tu pahile hi chharatte nal kiyon eni sahim gaion/Aje bijli karhkani hai aje mausam ne varna hai.” (You are frightened by the first drizzle of the season. The thunder storm is yet to break out in all its fury.)

“Ki faslan da banega hai khabar chirian nu ho chukki/eh rakhwala nahi faslan da eh lakarh da darna hai.” (What will be the fate of the standing crop now, the birds have come to know that “he” is a scarecrow, not a watchman.)

“Aje jhugian ’ch bhukhan bastian vich lok nange ne/kise is haal vich ki merian nazma nu karna hai.”(Half-clad people are starving in shanties.What use are my poems to them?)

RIP  Dr. Jagtar

By Jaspal Singh

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