In Desert of My Solitude (Dasht-e-Tanhai Mein)

– Performed by Meesha Shafi on platform of Coke Studio (Latest and most popular rendition till date)


In wilderness of my desolation,
Oh my beloved, lingers…
silage of your whispers,
and mirage of your lips.
In wilderness of my desolation,
beneath soil of distance, blooms…
charm of your embrace,
as jasmines and tulips.

Ascents warmth of your breaths,
close – somewhere,
Being simmered in its own fragrance,
softly, bit by bit.
Far away glimmering on the azure
canvas, tear by tear,
Perches like a glance of your love,
a dew, heaven-lit.

With such love and benevolence,
Oh my beloved, settles…
the memory of yours, its hand
on bosom of my heart, here now.
It feels as if,
(though it’s time of lonesome dawn),
Sun of rapture is soothing down,
Moon of union is to cast spell here now.

– Dedicated to a desert of solitude that transforms into an oasis of remembrance…

Dasht-e-Tanhai Mein
Aye Jaan-e-jahaan, Larzan Hai
Teri Aawaaz Ke Saaye
Tere Honton Ke Seraab.
Dasht-e-tanhaayee Mein
Doori Ke Khas-o-khaak Talei
Khil Rahe Hain Tere Pehlu Ke
Saman Aur Gulaab.

Uth Rahi Hai Kahin Qurbat Se
Teri Saans Ki Aanch
Apni Khushboo Mein Sulaghti Huee
Maddham, Maddham…
Door Ufaq Paar Chamakti Hui
Qatra Qatra…
Gir Rahi Hai Teri Dildaar
Nazar Ki Shabnam.

Is Qadar Pyaar Se
Aye Jaan-e-jahaan Rakkha Hai
Dil Ke Rukhsaar Pe Is Waqt
Teri Yaad Ne Haath.
Yunh Ghumaan Hota Hai
Garj Hai Abhi Subh-e-firaaq
Dhal Gaya Hijr Ka Din
Aaa Bhi Gayi Wasl ki Raat.

– Originally written by poet of far excellence and sheer brilliance Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

This is a very famous and equally cherished poem by Faiz saheb. It’s widely known for its rendition by Iqbal Bano and later by Tina Sani and Meesha Safi. Out of which Iqbal Bano’s rendition is still most beloved to me. And as it happens, there are many translations of it on internet. Yet, since it portrays the genius of the poet, it’s very close to my heart. I was bound to personalize it in some way.

Notice the symmetry along the rhythm and flow in it (the rhymes are intricately woven with free verse here). See how metaphors are played with here, the solitude of the lover is presented as desert, and his melancholy as dessert’s nature. Yet everything representing despair in desert converts into a garden of hope and love, which he explains later in last verse that it’s due to remembrance of love of his life. He starts to take everything in wilderness as positively just because he’s along the memory of the beloved.

I have tried my best here to keep the original’s subliminal structure intact in translation, along all the metaphors by the way they are introduced in one line just to be ascended in another. Faiz saheb’s this poem is really a sheer work of brilliance, and of course this translation can never justify it completely. Yet I am glad, that I made an attempt to exhibit my love.


14 thoughts on “In Desert of My Solitude (Dasht-e-Tanhai Mein)

    • Thank you Miss Maqsood. 🙂 Though this poem is widely lauded as a “ghazal”, probably because of acclaimed ghazal singer Iqbal Bano’s rendition. Technically speaking I don’t recognize it as one. As much as my feeble knowledge tells me, it’s a Nazm. Since Ghazal as per traditional format requires the use of established refrain and independent couplets. 🙂 Please, correct me if I am missing something here… as I was too in a perplexion when 80% of the sources on internet referred to it as a ghazal. Though, quite another thing that credibility of those sources is either not known, or usually unverifiable.

      • Yup you’re right 🙂 As you have said, Ghazal is composed of independent couplets that stand out differently with varying themes. Whereas, in a Nazm couplets, no matter how long the nazm is, convey the same theme.
        I think it is considered as a Ghazal mostly because for many people out there, poetry in urdu is Ghazal. 🙂
        And tbh, I never thought about it being a ghazal or a nazm, until now :P. Although I remember dad correcting me once when I referred it to as a ghazal.
        Thanks for the clarification 🙂

      • 🙂 So apparently few of us who belong to this generation have got more than just genes from our parents… the taste in classy music as well… Makes me very glad, because it’s a rare instance indeed.

  1. Oh wow. This is awesome. I already love this song but I didn’t about any version except the one by Meesha Shafi. I like her voice. Its pretty different from all the other female singers. Aaaaand you translated it beautifullyyyyyy. 🙂

    • Thank you Rida. 🙂 I just love this poem for its details, metaphors and optimism. Faiz saheb truly weaves the both the magic and symmetry in this poem. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Pakistan’s music scene is beyond anything you’ve ever heard.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s