Aah Ko Chaiye Ek Umr Asar Honay Tak (English Translation)

Aah Ko Chaiye Ek Umr Asar Honay Tak (English Translation)

Aah Ko Chaiye by Ghalib beautifully describes a tale of yearning and longing. I am not a professional translator, but I have tried my best to give the English readers a taste of this poem. As you know, translation is a tricky business. A lot of words of Urdu have no literal English translation. I hope you will enjoy reading this ghazal.

Aah Ko By Ghalib English Translation

Aah Ko Chahiye Ik Umr Asar Honay Tak/Kaun Jeeta Hai Teri Zulf Ke Sar Honay Tak

Yearning takes a lifetime to have an impact

I don’t know if I will be alive by the time your heart is conqueredaah ko chaiye

Dam-e-Har-Mauj Main Hai Halqa-e-Sad-Kam-e-Nahang/Daikhain Kya Guzray Hai Qatre Pe Guhar Honay Tak

Every wave of the ocean is beset with a trap, beneath every wave a hundred dragons await

Let’s see what a drop endures till it becomes a pearl

Ashiqi Sabr-Talab aur Tamanna Betab/Dil Ka Kya Rang Karun Khun-e-Jigar Honay Tak

Love requires patience but my I am restless in my longing

What color do I paint my heart till my liver turns into blood?

Hum Ne Maana Ki Taghaful Na Karoge Lekin/Khaak Ho Jayen Ge Hum Tum Ko Khabar Honay Tak

I admit you will not neglect me but…

I’ll turn to dust by the time you acknowledge my presence

Partav-e-Khur Se Hai Shabnam ko Fana Ki Taleem/Main Bhi Hun Ik Inayat Ki Nazar Honay tak

The dew drops stay alive till they see the light

I am also here till you confer on me a glance

Yak Nazar Besh Naheen Fursat-e-Hasti Ghafil/Garmi-e-Bazm Hai Ek Raqs-e-Sharar Honay Tak

One glance is not enough to satisfy me for life

The warmth of this assembly will only last while the flames dance

Gham-e-Hasti Ka ‘Asad’ Kis Se Ho Juz Marg Ilaaj /Shama Her Rang Main Jalti Hai Sahar Honay Tak

Asad, what is the cure of this painful life besides death

A candle burns through all conditions till the morning arrives

Aah Ko Chaiye By Ghalib English Explanation

Aah Ko Chahiye Ik Umr Asar Honay Tak/Kaun Jeeta Hai Teri Zulf Ke Sar Honay Tak

 Aah means a yearning or a longing in Urdu. Umr denotes a lifetime. Asar means effect. Zulf literally means hair. Sar means to accomplish the difficult feat. In this couplet, the poet is saying that his yearning will take a lifetime to have any impact, and he does not even know if he will survive up to that point.

Dam-e-Har-Mauj Main Hai Halqa-e-Sad-Kam-e-Nahang/Daikhain Kya Guzray Hai Qatre Pe Guhar Honay Tak

Daam means a trap. Mauj means a wave. Halqa means a circle. Sad-kam-e-nahang means a crocodile with a hundred jaws. Qatra means a drop of water. Guhar means a pearl. In short, this couplet talks about the difficulties every drop of water has to endure while in the ocean. The ocean which makes it through all the stages becomes a pearl.

Ashiqi Sabr-Talab aur Tamanna Betab/Dil Ka Kya Rang Karun Khun-e-Jigar Honay Tak

I cannot find a word that truly represents the word Ashiqi in English. Ashiqi is the most extreme form of love. It is like an obsession, a passion, an addiction, and even more. Sabr means patience. Talab means a requirement. Tamana is a deep, intense desire. Betab means impatient and restless. Dil means heart. Rang means paint. Jigar literally means liver but jigar is often used for the ones you love. Khun means blood and murder both. Although love requires patience, the poet feels restless and impatient. He does not know which way his heart will sway till the pain of love finally kills it.

Hum Ne Maana Ki Taghaful Na Karoge Lekin/Khaak Ho Jayen Ge Hum Tum Ko Khabar Honay Tak

Taghaful means negligence. Khaak means dust. Khabar means news. The poet knows that he will not be neglected, but he thinks he will perish by the time his lover realizes his existence.

Partav-e-Khur Se Hai Shabnam ko Fana Ki Taleem/Main Bhi Hun Ik Inayat Ki Nazar Honay tak

Partave-Khur mean’s sun’s reflection. Shama means dew drops. Fana means death. Taleem means education. Inayat means endowment. A dew drop vanishes when the sun rises. The sun is both a source of light and the signal for an end for the dew drop. The author also wishes to live till he gets at least on glance from his beloved.

Yak Nazar Besh Naheen Fursat-e-Hasti Ghafil/Garmi-e-Bazm Hai Ek Raqs-e-Sharar Honay Tak

Yak means one. Nazar means glance. Fursat-e-Hasti means the duration of life. Ghafil means negligent. Garmi means heat. Bazm means assembly. Raqs means dance. Sharar means sparks. The poet thinks that one glance from his beloved will be enough to make him lose interest in the world, yet it will not be enough to satisfy him. The enjoyment of a union only lasts while it’s ongoing.

Gham-e-Hasti Ka ‘Asad’ Kis Se Ho Juz Marg Ilaaj /Shama Her Rang Main Jalti Hai Sahar Honay Tak

Hasti means an entity. Gham means sorrow. Marg means death. Ilaj means treatment. Shama means a light source. Rang means color. Her Rang here means every situation. Sahar means morning. The poet thinks the only solution to the sorrows of life is death. He gives the example of a candle, which burns no matter what the condition, and goes out in the morning.

I hope I was able to translate this poetry correctly and accurately. If you think I made a mistake somewhere, please correct me. If you want me to translate anything else, feel free to post your requests below!



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