Day 3

What happens when a group of invaders thunders across thousands of miles from one end of a vast and varied continent to another? Perchance, they find a land so beautiful that they decide never to return to that corner of the earth that was once their home? Could it also happen that there are multiple cultural encounters, not so much a clash of civilisations as a happy splash, a gurgle, a gush, a sweep and a swirl?
This was the 10th centruy. Wave upon wave of people was moving from Turkey and from central Asia towards the Indian sub-continent. Some were travellers, some traders. But not all came in peace. They spoke a language called chagtai, a variant of Turkic. On reaching South Asia, and on choosing to settle the land they had ostensibly come to conquer, the "invaders" found themselves using Faarsi (or Persian) which had been, for some centuries, the language of the royal courts. The local populace, however, did not speak Faarsi. It spoke "khari boli'', an older dialect, a direct ancestor of Hindi.
And thus was born the need for a language which would bridge the gap: that language would be Urdu.
More of that in the days to come...
Today's word is the one which makes the world go 'round: "pyaar", or love. It begins with the character or harf "pe" (pronounced as ''pay")

And now for a few lines from a poem written by that king of metaphysics, Ali Sardar Jafri:
Tuu mujhe itne pyaar se mat dekh
teri palko.n ki narm chhao.n mein
dhuup bhi chandni-si lagati hai
aur mujhe kitni duur jana hai
ret hai garm, paan.v ke chhale
yuu.n damakte hain jaise angaare
pyaar ki nazar rahe, na rahe

kaun dashte-wafaa mein jaata hai
tere dil ko khabar rahe na rahe
tuu mujhe itne pyaar se mat dekh.

Gentle reader, I tried, believe me, I tried to translate this lovely little poem from Urdu to English. But there's a delicacy of expression which completely resists migration from one tongue to another. How does one explain in English what it means for an Indian to be scorched in the heat of struggle, and then to find succour in the cool, starlit shade of his beloved's eyelashes? That which sounds evocative in Urdu sounds contrived and synethetic in English. So I'm just going to leave well alone, and state that this is a poem where the man tells his woman to let him get on with his battles....



  2. Hey, wait a minute: I've added the share buttons already and there's also a rating system :)