Urdu: dost se dost kii baat

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MonsieurGonzalito

Senior Member
Castellano de Argentina
Friends,

I am having some difficulty understanding the 2 starting lines of the song "Dost". (Sung by Abida Parveen in Coke Studio Season 7)

kahuuN dost se dost kii baat kyaa kyaa
rahii dushmanoN se mulaaqaat kyaa kyaa


I understand the individual words, and I understand this is perhaps mystic poetry and highly interpretative, but no way on earth they can become what is offered as a translation:

What wondrous secrets should I speak of to the Friend who lives in His friend’s heart?
What moment was spent in the thought of anything but Him?


My attempt would be:

How should I speak (at all) to a friend of friend's matters?
What encounter was left (at all), with the enemies?


... which, admittedly, doesn't make great sense either.

Please help me interpret this.
Episode 3 - Season 7 - Coke Studio Pakistan

Thanks in advance
 
  • MonsieurGonzalito

    Senior Member
    Castellano de Argentina
    As a matter of fact, and based on the rest of the song, I am suspecting that many of the "kyaa kyaa" are not an emphatic "kyaa" but in fact "kyaa kiyaa", indistinguishable in the Urdu script.
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    As a matter of fact, and based on the rest of the song, I am suspecting that many of the "kyaa kyaa" are not an emphatic "kyaa" but in fact "kyaa kiyaa", indistinguishable in the Urdu script.
    The singer is clearly singing "kyaa kyaa" - so no "kya kiyaa," which anyway wouldn't make sense (nor grammar, if "kya" is referring to the feminine "baat"). "kyaa kyaa" is straightforward to understand: "what all."

    Friends,

    I am having some difficulty understanding the 2 starting lines of the song "Dost". (Sung by Abida Parveen in Coke Studio Season 7)

    kahuuN dost se dost kii baat kyaa kyaa
    rahii dushmanoN se mulaaqaat kyaa kyaa


    I understand the individual words, and I understand this is perhaps mystic poetry and highly interpretative, but no way on earth they can become what is offered as a translation:

    What wondrous secrets should I speak of to the Friend who lives in His friend’s heart?
    What moment was spent in the thought of anything but Him?
    I am also having trouble understanding how those two lines can mean that translation! Let's wait for forum members knowledgeable in Urdu poetry.

    My attempt would be:

    How should I speak (at all) to a friend of friend's matters?
    What encounter was left (at all), with the enemies?
    Rather, the lines, to my understanding, are:
    "what all (things) about a friend should I tell [a/the]* friend,
    what all meetings** have happened with enemies"

    * the same friend or another friend, depending on interpretation
    ** in the sense of the French word rencontres

    A very beautiful song, by the way!

    Later on, in the song, she sings "jahaaN mujhko khayaal*** aayaa" - I interpret here "jahaaN" as "the world," though, of course, it could simply mean "where."

    *** I am not an Urdu speaker, but a modern (untrained) Hindi speaker, so pardon my lack of distinction between "kh" and "x."
     

    Frau Moore

    Member
    Deutsch
    Thanks for drawing my attention to this wonderful song, M. Gonzalito! I just listened to it at least five times.

    In Sufi terminology "dost" (I would rather call him lover or beloved instead of the somehow colourless friend) stands for the godlover on the one hand and for the beloved himself - god - on the other hand. And the beloved is nowhere else than in the heart / soul of the lover. That´s why the translator of the lyrics translates "dost" as "the Friend who lives in His friend´s heart" - please notice the capitalization: The Friend and His refers to god, the friend to the godlover. Therefore everything in my heart/soul is "dost ki baat", the matter of god, my beloved. Everything is known to him, all my emotions, thoughts, all what I´ve experience, all my deeds etc. .......therefore the translator says "secrets" for "dost kii baat" and the question "what secrets should I tell to the Friend who lives in His friend´s heart" is a rhetorical one...........I can´t tell anything to God which he doesn´t know - nothing inside me is a secret for him.

    That the beloved is right inside the lover is also expressed by what Parveen is singing later on - the "conversation" with the beloved/god takes place not between them but behind the veil of the heart/soul - inside the lover himself.

    As in every love relation there are the lover, the beloved.....and the rival, the "dushman" (the same setting can be found in ghazals too). I would interprete the dushman, or the encounter with him, as everything which distracts the lover from his beloved.......but how could the lover confess these meetings - the beloved in his heart knows about them already.

    The "jahaaN" doens´t mean world here I guess (at least the text shows not an "n" as in jahaan but a nun-e ghunna for nasalization) but rather wherever or even as I tend to understand it, whenever.

    I hope my personal understanding of this "secret" of the "dost kii baat" is not too far off from its meaning!
     

    Frau Moore

    Member
    Deutsch
    Aller guten Dinge sind drei, we say in Germany - all good things come in threes.

    Now I doubt that my comments could be counted among any good things, but at least I had to come back to correct myself. Just listening one more time to the song I found out that my former understanding of the "dushman" line was wrong. I had understood that the singer would feel the need to confess about the manytimes when he was distracted from his beloved. But now I think " rahii dushmanoN se mulaaqaat kyaa kyaa" means the contrary and it also a kind of rhetorical question which expresses that no "encounters with rivals" at all did happen. Nothing is left in the singer´s soul besides the beloved - just as a friend of mine who also calls himself a godlover once said " rahaa na ab kuch baaqii mere mahbuub tere sivaa".
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    I've just listened to the first couplet.

    kahuuN dost se dost kii baat kyaa kyaa
    rahii dushmanoN se mulaaqaat kyaa kyaa


    In terms of Urdu Ghazal poetry, each couplet is often totally detached from others and as such, it is described as a "rosary" of pearls, each pearl being unique in its own way.

    Let's denote the "dost" as the poet's beloved, who like all Ghazal beloveds, is a cruel beloved of the first degree!

    What (amongst the various things I can complain about) shall I bring up with my beloved about my beloved?

    Perhaps, all the different encounters my beloved has been having (with my rivals)?

    A classical Ghazal has certain characters, the two central ones being the lover and the beloved. And then there is the "raqiib" (rival) who is of course an enemy of the lover!
     

    littlepond

    Senior Member
    Hindi
    Well, @Frau Moore jii, "dost" can always refer to a beloved, and beloved may or may not mean a god or God: this is nothing exclusive to Sufi poetry. The beauty lies in its open interpretation: for one, it could be a friend; for another, a beloved; for yet another, God as beloved. But the subtitled translation in that video seems to me a bit "over the top" ... I don't really see all that, and in fact that translation is taking away from the possible open interpretations. And the enemy could of course be a real person, but can also be the poet's own temptations, etc. - that is always the case.

    I love how simply @Qureshpor jii has brought his interpretation, which looks to me a good one, and shed more light on the verse in question.
     

    Qureshpor

    Senior Member
    Panjabi, Urdu پنجابی، اردو
    ....I love how simply @Qureshpor jii has brought his interpretation, which looks to me a good one, and shed(s) more light on the verse in question.
    Thank you littlepond Jii for your kind words. The rest of the Ghazal is quite extraordinary in its language, implied meanings and ambiguity which is present especially when few words are used to express matters of profound significance. I'll have a go at translating these couplets although translating the refrain (radiif) "kyaa kyaa" is not easy to capture in translation. The words ending in -aat are the internal rhyme (qaafiyah).

    vuh 3ashve, vuh Ghamze, vuh naGhme vuh jalve
    talab kar rahe haiN ham aafaat kyaa kyaa

    The playfulness, the glances, soft sweet voice, those sights
    O what a multitude of calamaties I am getting myself into!

    jahaaN mujh ko aayaa xayaal, aa ga'e vuh
    dikhaa'ii haiN dil ne karaamaat kyaa kyaa

    Wherever the thought crossed my mind, there s/he appeared!
    Indeed what wonderous miracles has the heart come up with!

    nah thii guftuguu darmiyaaN phir bhii un se
    pasi-i-pardah-i-dil, hu'ii baat kyaa kyaa

    No conversation took place between us two, but nevertheless
    What words were said behind the curtain, between the hearts!

    tirii zulf-o-ruxsaar ke dhuup saaye
    mujhe yaad aate haiN din-raat kyaa kyaa

    The glow in your cheeks, the shade of the tresses
    How those days and nights do come to my mind

    yih hichkii, yih aaNsuu, yih aaheN, yih naale
    milii haiN muHabbat meN sauGhaat kyaa kyaa

    The sobbing, these tears. the sighs, these laments
    What precious gifts one gets in the realm of love
     
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