Life and Death

ज़िंदगी और मौत


लाई हयात आये क़ज़ा ले चली चले
अपनी ख़ुशी न आये न अपनी ख़ुशी चले
दुनिया ने किसका राह-ए-फ़ना में दिया है साथ
तुम भी चले चलो यूं ही जब तक चली चले

Life and Death

written by Zauq | tr. by Tejas Gupta

Just as life began, death comes knocking
Whether your happiness arrives, or your happiness goes walking
Who has the world given you to walk the journey of death with?
You too keep walking aimlessly until you can walk no more

Direct transliteration of Urdu

Laaee hayaat aaye qazaa ley chalee chaley
Apnee khushee na aaye na apnee khushi chaley
Duniya ney kiska rah-e-fanaa mein diya hai saath
Tum bhee chaley chalo yoon hee jab tak chalee chaley

Crude/Rough Direct Translation

Just as life/existence began, now death has come walking
My happiness does not come, nor does my happiness leave Who
Who in this world walks the journey of death with you? / Who in this world have you been given to walk the journey of death together?
You too keep going aimlessly/like this/for no particular reason until you no longer go

Brief Biography

Zauq was Ghalib’s contemporary and their rivalry was well known. The son of a common soldier in the Mughal army, Zauq was born in Delhi. He was stricken by small pox when he was a child and barely survived. Zauq was sent to a maktab (elementary religious school) run by Hafiz Ghulam Rasool (Shauq) who dabbled in poetry. Under his influence the young Mohammed Ibrahim began composing poetry and, as suggested by his mentor, adopted ?Zauq? (man of taste) as his pseudonym. Though he could not complete his course in the maktab, he was able to impress Shah Naseer, the most popular poet of Delhi at the time, who accepted him as a pupil. Gradually, Zauq began participating in mushairas and made a name for himself.

Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar appointed him poet laureate of the Mughal court. Zauq died in 1854 and was buried in the grounds of Delhi College outside Ajmeri Gate.”

  • Celebrating the Best of Urdu Poetry
    Khushwant Singh

Some further reading

Tejas Gupta

New York City, USA
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Tejas Gupta is a Princeton University student in the Department of Computer Science. He is currently studying at ETH Zürich.