translated by Zack Rogow & Anshuman Chandra

Ghazal by Shakeel Badayuni in UrduGhazal

Shakeel Badayuni

My heart longs to go beyond the obsession of love,
and find joy in a new session of love. 

Love drowned me in its tides
but my heart hopes that was a mere digression of love.

My lover and I are so far apart –
my heart yearns to make a confession of love.

For so long my life has been colorless,
but my heart wants a new impression of love. 

May God save heaven and earth.
In my heart I pray there’s no recession of love.

God, don’t let me repeat these sins! Oh, Shakeel,
your heart wants to undo your transgression of love.

Translation from the Urdu 
By Anshuman Chandra & Zack Rogow

Shakeel Badayuni (1916–70) was a successful and prolific Bollywood songwriter as well as a renowned author of Urdu ghazals. Born in Uttar Pradesh, India, his father taught him Arabic, Urdu, Farsi, and Hindi. He attended Aligarh University in the 1930s, then a center of political and poetical ferment. He quickly became a leading figure in Bollywood with the success of the first film he wrote lyrics for, Dard. Shakeel wrote lyrics for eighty-nine films.

Zack Rogow is the author, editor, or translator of twenty books or plays. His translations include Earthlight, by André Breton, which received the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Award.

Anshuman Chandra composes and performs his own melodies for ghazals, including a recording of this ghazal by Shakeel Badayuni, which can be heard on the WLT website. He is also a member of the South Asian band sifar1. He studied Urdu under Hamida Banu Chopra and has collaborated on translations of the poets Sahir Ludhyanvi, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Shakeel Badayuni, and Sha’ir Lakhnavi.