Urdu and Hindi: kaheeN and ________ nah jaa'e kaheeN

Discussion in 'Indo-Iranian Languages' started by Alfaaz, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Background: Nasir Kazmi's poem نیتِ شوق بھر نہ جائے کہیں

    niyat-e-shauq bhar nah jaa'e kaheeN
    tu bhi dil se utar nah jaa'e kaheeN

    aaj kaa din guzar nah jaa'e kaheeN
    Husn teraa bikhar nah jaa'e kaheeN
    aur phir u'mr bhar nah jaa'e kaheeN
    raa'egaaN yeh hunar nah jaa'e kaheeN
    phir yeh daryaa utar nah jaa'e kaheeN

    Question: How would the kaheeN and the general phrase _________ nah jaa'e kaheeN as used in the example above be translated into English?
  2. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    As you know, kahiiN can be translated into English in a variety of ways, depending on the usage and context. The basic meaning is "somewhere". Because in the quoted verses kahiiN doesn't occur on its own but in a phrase 'nah jaa'e kahiiN' let's focus on this phrase. It can literally be translated 'let it not go anywhere' but the idiomatic translation has to be different, it can be translated by English 'lest'. I think it can be described as "I hope it doesn't go (away), doesn't fade although I'm afraid it will". "Lest" seems to be very good for this.

    Perhaps you would offer a translation attempt using " lest"?
  3. greatbear Banned

    India - Hindi & English
    "Lest" introduces a positive condition (e.g., "Lest it be said that I'm a coward, I will cross the seas all alone"): one would have to rephrase each line in a positive affirmation for that, and that would change the sense IMO.

    English will have to make do with "so that ... not" construction in my opinion. For example, "so that this sea does not ebb away again" for the last line.
  4. Qureshpor Senior Member

    Punjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I agree with marrish SaaHib's explanation. Barring one line, in all the others the "nah...kahiiN" segment can be substituted with "aisaa nah ho".

    aisaa nah ho niyat-e-shauq bhar jaa'e

    aisaa nah ho tu bhi dil se utar jaa'e

    aisaa nah ho aaj kaa din guzar jaa'e

    aisaa nah ho Husn teraa bikhar jaa'e

    aur phir u'mr bhar nah jaa'e kaheeN = aur phir 3umr-bhar kahiiN nah jaa'e =And then for the rest of (my )life, you don't go anywhere.

    aisaa nah ho raa'egaaN yeh hunar jaa'e

    aisaa nah ho phir yeh daryaa utar jaa'e

    aisaa nah ho = lest, perhaps, perchance

    For the purpose of translation, perhaps "perchance" might be s suitable equivalent.

    Perchance, I get sick and tired with with love
    Perchance you no longer have a place in my heart..etc
  5. Alfaaz Senior Member

    Thanks for the detailed answers everyone!
  6. marrish

    marrish Senior Member

    اُردو Urdu
    My English being not too strong, Alfaaz SaaHib, can you tell me if you have made up your mind how to translate it? Would you deem my suggestion acceptable? In exchange, please accept another suggestion for substituting the phrase ''kahiiN nah X'' which I have a hunch you are going to like! مبادا.
  7. Alfaaz Senior Member

    I'm not an expert of any language either marrish SaaHib. Your suggestion of lest, greatbear's suggestion of so that...not, and QP SaaHib's suggestion of perchance all seem great! However, I'm not really sure about lest, now that greatbear has stated the following:
    On the other hand, while searching for more information about the topic, this came up:
    This could be a good question for the English Forum!
    Another attempt based on aisaa nah ho:

    I burn my soul and think
    Might it not be/happen that this talent goes to waste
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2013

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