بول، کِہ لب آزاد ہیں تیرے
بول، زباں اب تک تیری ہے
تیرا ستواں جسم ہے تیرا
بول کہ جاں اب تک تیری ہے
دیکھ کہ آہن گر کی دُکاں میں
تُند ہیں شُعلے سُرخ ہے آہن
کُھلنے لگے قُفلوں کے دہانے
پھیلا ہر اِک زنجیر کا دامن
بول، یہ تھوڑا وقت بہُت ہے
جِسم و زباں کی موت سے پہلے
بول کہ سچ زِندہ ہے اب تک
بول، جو کچھ کہنا ہے کہہ لے!

فیض احمد فیض

bol, ke lab aazad haiN tere
bol, zabaaN ab tak teri hai
tera sutwaaN jism hai tera
bol ke jaaN ab tak teri hai
dekh ke aahangar ki dukaaN meiN
tund haiN sholay, surKh hai aahan
khulnay lagay qufloN ke dahaane
phela har ek zanjeer ka daaman
bol, yeh thoRa waqt buhut hai
jism-o zabaaN ki maut se pehle
bol ke such zinda hai ab tak
bol, jo kuch kehna hai keh le!

V.G. Kiernan’s poetic translation:
Speak, for your two lips are free;
Speak, your tongue is still your own;
This straight body still is yours’
Speak, your life is still your own.

See how in the blacksmith’s forge
Flames leap high and steel glows red,
Padlocks open wide their jaws,
Every chain’s embrace outspread!

Time enough is this brief hour
Until body and tongue lie dead;
Speak, for truth is living yet–
Speak whatever must be said.

V.G. Kiernan’s literal translation:
Speak, for your lips are free;
Speak, your tongue is still yours,
Your upright body is yours’
Speak, your life is still yours.
See how in the blacksmith’s shop
The flames are hot, the iron is red,
Mouths of locks have begun to open,
Each chain’s skirt has spread wide.
Speak, this little time is plenty
Before the death of body and tongue;
Speak, for truth is still alive–
Speak, say whatever is to be said.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

I’ve read and heard this one a few times, and even in Faiz’s own voice (frankly, he isn’t no Habib Jalib as far as this is concerned). But it wasn’t until today that I heard Tina Sani’s rendition and it really hit me, pretty deep. (Of course, Z sent me this file a long time ago and in my usual indolence I didn’t listen to it until now. My bad.)

Sani’s version on YouTube:

Skirt, or daaman, doesn’t have the gendered implication it would in English. The word, depending on the context, has one too many meanings. Another way to translate the line is to imply that the chains are actually begging. But Kiernan was down with Faiz and the latter looked over the translation. Note, also, the poetic translation, “Every chain’s embrace outspread!”

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