Saturday, March 21, 2009

Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo - An Experiment

I first heard this in the movie Monsoon Wedding. I felt quite embarrassed having to confess that I hadn't heard this one before (though I had heard Farida Khanum earlier). This beautiful nazm is written by Faiyyaz Hashmi and has been sung by many singers though Farida Khanum's rendition stands out. It would be wise to listen to it first!

This is an experiment in rendering a nazm. Below, you will hear the song - half sung, half recited - with a background score from an entirely unrelated source. I am not sure whether it will be to your taste, nevertheless, here goes:

The reader should note that I translate the last stanza differently and the ones you might find elsewhere all follow one particular translation. Only the poet can confirm which is the true one (and he left this mortal earth way before I was born).

[Aaj jaane ki zid na karo
Yoon hi Pehlu mein baittey raho
Aaj jaane ki zid na karo.

Don't insist on leaving tonight
Just sit by my side
Don't press on leaving tonight.

Hai! mar jaayenge, hum to lutt jaayenge
Aaisi baatein kiya na karo.

"Alas! I shall die, I shall be undone"
Don't speak such words.

Aaj jaane ki zid na karo.
Don't insist on leaving tonight.]

Tum hi socho zara
Kyoon na rokey tumhe
Jaan jaati hai jab utt ke jaatey ho tum (2)
Tumko apni kasam, jaane jaan
Baat itni meri maan lo.

Please reflect on this
Why should I not withhold you?
My life ebbs as you rise to leave my company
My love, swear by me (that)
My smallest whim you'll grant.


Waqt ki kaid mein zindagi hai magar, (2)
Chand ghadiyaan yahi hain jo aazaad hain (2)
Inko khokar meri jaane jaan
Umr bhar na taraste raho

In Time's shackles is life, nevertheless
Fleeting moments are these that are truly free.
Having lost them, my love
Don't thirst for them eternally.


Kitna masoom rangeen hai ye sama
Husn aur ishq ki aaj meraj hai (2)
Kal ki kisko khabar jaane jaan
Rok lo aaj ki raat ko

So innocently variegated is the world
Beauty and Love are in ascension
Who has ever known what tomorrow brings?
Please pause this night (before it's too late).


In the last stanza, several sites quote the line as "Husn aur Ishq ki aaj mein raaj hai" which would mean "Beauty and Love are ruling tonight" or as this site interprets it. I am uncomfortable with that interpretation as it doesn't sound right to the ear nor does the meaning hold aesthetically well. Meraj is the day when Prophet Muhammad ascended to the heavens and the word Meraj is used (usu. in Islamic contexts) to mean the ascension or the perfecting of a soul. Here, the poet possibly means that Beauty and Love have risen tonight to that level of perfection that they could well meet with Allaah (not pronounced Ala or Alla but Allaah with a stress on the 2nd syllable). Hence, Husn aur Ishq ki aaj meraj hai. Of course, I could be wrong, but I prefer this interpretation till I am corrected.


  1. I loved ur interpretation!! and re living this song too thx!!!

  2. Parvati5:58 PM

    Your passion and sincerity are soaking every element of this post. Very beautiful indeed. Your prose rendition is perfect in tone, expression, the ever prevalent passion that the words deserve.
    You are not that great a singer, but the iffy singing is nevertheless cute and welcoming.

    # Whereas your presentation is powerful, Farida Khanum's is gentle, soft as a young bird's down, dulcet and truly mellifluous. She is soothing and yours is interesting and quite captivating.

    # A lovely post. The structure of it, interspersing prose with melody is not that rare, I have heard a lot of tamil film songs of yester years like that, but invariably it is not the same person that does both.

    # Original and creative.

  3. Dear M,
    Glad you liked it. Did you listen to the recording?

    Dear P,
    I had a sore-throat!! :-) No honest, I did. I am not a great singer, anyway. I have not heard of any presentation which handles the poetry in the manner done in this post. It is usually as a dialogue or reading a bit followed by singing the same bit. Glad you found the presentation to your taste... :-)

  4. this is one of my all time favorite songs... loved your translation in english

  5. Archna9:55 AM

    It is a beautiful translation! I was looking for one and found this which is much above my expectation..

    1. Wow! I am glad you enjoyed it... :-)

  6. a beautiful rendition in english.... justice done to the poem

    1. Glad you find it to your taste... :-)

  7. WOW!!! I have never heard a better translation of another language, you kept the poetic feel alive. Wonderful translation. You got to hear the shankar tucker rendition of this song-

  8. Thank you so much! You have translated this beautifully! Befitting a ghazal so sweet and Mohtarma Farida Khannum's matchless rendition...I could listen to her forever!

  9. Anonymous5:56 AM

    after reading your interpretation I love this song even more thank very much for sharing this with us

    1. Glad that you were able to re-discover its beauty... :-)

  10. You have a beautiful bass qulaity to your voice which u shud use in recitations.I love the translation and the words you have chosen

    1. Glad you did, dear B. :-) And thank you for the kind words of compliments...