The proceeds from the sale of the books will go to Rekhta foundation
Through the ages, Delhi has had an effect on its inhabitants. Steeped in a rich history of cultural mingling and periods of creative exchange, the city provided fertile ground for poetic synthesis. Delhi established a legacy of poets whose words set hearts ablaze for the times to come. Love, with all its wine-infused passions and experiences of yearning, has preoccupied classic poets of the city.
In this anthology you will find sixty-five ghazals by ten Urdu classic poets from Delhi, featuring works by Sauda, Dard, Meer, Mushafi, Zafar, Zauq, Ghalib, Momin, Shefta and Dagh. It also offers to the reader rhymed English trans-creations of the selected ghazals so that the work can be enjoyed for the rhythm that the original Urdu-language embraces.
As a patron of Urdu poetry and a resident of Delhi, Sanjiv Saraf’s personal investment in preserving and furthering the arts in the Urdu world led to the creation of this book. His careful curation and trans-creations render these ghazals readable to novices of classic Urdu poetry. The selection of works that made their way to this book caters to a wide readership—those reading to experience Delhi from the past, those who wish to engage with the musicality of rhymed verses and, most significantly, those who wish to explore the themes of love as conceptualized by classic poets. Desire, longing and the complexities of love are therefore open to exploration for you, dear reader and lover, through the words laid out in these ghazals by the 'voices from beyond'.
Entrepreneur, investor and mentor, Sanjiv Saraf juggles many roles, but his passion for Urdu poetry is what is closest to his heart. He set up Rekhta Foundation—which hosts the world’s largest and most popular resource for the Hindustani language and literature—apart from doing extensive work for preservation of texts and propagation of the language among youth through festivals and events.
An alumnus of the Scindia School (1975) and a graduate from IIT Kharagpur (1980), Sanjiv was involved in business and industry for over thirty years during which he founded Polyplex Corpn. Ltd., an Indian multinational, Manupatra, India’s leading legal database, and other ventures in the green energy space. Thereafter, he turned his energies towards the Hindustani language and is now fully involved in what he considers ‘the most satisfying work of my life, so far’.
Sanjiv is a recipient of several awards and honours, including the distinguished Doctor of Letters (D. Litt.) degree by Maulana Azad National Urdu University and the National Sir Syed Excellence Award 2018 by Aligarh Muslim University for his contribution to the cause of preserving and promoting Urdu.
Poet, Lyricist and Film Director
There are some difficult tasks, in order to simplify which, one has to undergo many a hardship. Mr. Saraf has undertaken such a challenge.
Apart from its rhetorical beauty and the message it contains, Urdu poetry is also known for its rich tone and tenor. This is especially true for classical poets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Not that it was less difficult to understand them in Urdu itself, Mr. Saraf has undertaken to explain them in English.
But such are people who alleviate hardships – like Sanjiv Saraf!
Apart from meaning and style, even for pronunciation, Mr. Saraf has worked hard to create certain devices which are a major asset for this book.
There are many major languages in India in which ‘Ghalib’, ‘Meer’, ‘Zauq’ and ‘Zafar’ are mentioned but people are unable to read their work. Presently, there is no other link-language available apart from English. The biggest benefit of this book would be to readers of other languages, especially students who seek to understand and appreciate classical Urdu poetry and ‘Rekhta’.
In the words of Mohammad Alvi:
ab na 'ġhālib' se shikāyat hai na shikva 'mīr' kā
ban gayā maiñ bhī nishāna rekhta ke tiir kā
Poet, Lyricist and Scriptwriter
Since time immemorial translations have served as a beautiful bridge between different languages. Translating poetry is considered to be more difficult than translating prose because in poetry often the magic is either between or beyond the words. A simple translation of words is possible but to bring expressions or feelings within the ambit of translation is an arduous task. To make expressions and feelings a part of the translation can only be achieved by a translator who has equal command over both languages.
I am in favour of placing the author of this book, SanjIv Saraf, among those translators who have mastered both languages, that is, Urdu and English at the same time. Perhaps it is because of this mastery that several translations included in this book actually read like originals.
SanjIv Saraf is both a devotee and a supporter of Urdu. His love for Urdu borders on a passion. His renowned site, Rekhta, is of immense benefit to many, many people the world over.
I am convinced that his translation of the masters of Urdu poetry will bring benefits to a wide audience, just as Rekhta has. I congratulate SanjIv Saraf on the publication of 'Voices from Beyond'.
Filmmaker, Fashion Designer, Poet and Artist
When poetry drives you, it enters yours blood stream and makes you do many things. Impossible things. Strange things. Things that your own ilk is shocked to see. It breaks manmade barriers that distances man from man. It makes one sensitive to life and human beings and all that touches them. It is this that drives Sanjiv Saraf and what he would like the world around him to be. He wants this poetry to drive people. This was the genesis of Rekhta and it is this that has made him translate the poetry that has touched him. NAVA E SAROSH. He chooses 10 classics poets and picks poems that have moved him. He then goes further. He adds more of his poetic self to share them with those who have been mesmerized with the sound of Urdu, having only partially understood the nuances. He stands on the other side of the river bank with a boat that they will sail in to reach the meaning of the poem. The boat is crafted in a vocabulary of a language that we have grown up in, almost like a mother tongue. A language which in its own time had decimated this tender language of poetry. It is called English. He seeks music in English. Explores forms and metaphors that can come as close to Urdu. Imagery that is oriental in its essence. All this makes the boat that will take you to the other shore. The shore of understanding. Once you have crossed with its help you read the original verse as someone arrived, enriched, touched, felt.
Sanjiv has used intelligence and restraint by not becoming an Urdu poet himself. He is charged with the passion to share the rich legacy of Urdu poetry and take it deep down instead, penetrating the truth of both heart and history.
chashm-e-qātil mirī dushman thī hamesha lekin
jaisī ab ho ga.ī qātil kabhī aisī to na thī
although the assassin's glance / always was my foe
as lethal as it's now become / it never was before
A couplet of Bahadur Shah Zafar translated by Sanjiv Saraf
Professor Emerita of Modern Indic Languages, Columbia University
Sanjiv Saraf, who through his Rekhta project has done so much for Urdu literature, now brings us something on a much more personal scale: a set of his own favorite verses from the major Delhi poets, in his own English transcreations. True to the Rekhta tradition, he also provides the Urdu texts, transliterations, and glossary annotations. The result is a real labor of love, and will surely find a wide and appreciative readership.
Author of The First Cell, Co-author of Ghalib: Epistemologies of Elegance
Chan Soon-Shiong Professor of Medicine and Director of the MDS
Center at Columbia University
With Rekhta, Sanjiv Saraf has already claimed his lawful, canonical place in the history of Urdu. With Nava e Sarosh, he is marking his territory in the hearts of English speaking poetry lovers all over the world. He backs his splendid choice of classical Urdu poets with a discerning, perfectly worded, uniquely imagined, entirely novel rhyming trans-creation of their most dearly beloved ghazals. Sanjiv’s words throb with a profound, ecstatic joy in the musicality of the poets he is celebrating and cannot fail to leave their imprint upon the souls of his readers for generations to come.
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