Home » English Translation » Tamashaa Nahi Huu.n Mein (I’m Not a Farce)

Tamashaa Nahi Huu.n Mein (I’m Not a Farce)

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Adaakar huu.n takht ka, tamashaa nahi huu.n main (1.1)

Usi khaak se bana huu.n lekin sitara nahi huu.n main (1.2)

अदाकार हूँ तख़्त का, मगर तमाशा नहीं हूँ में (1.1)

उसी ख़ाक से बना हूँ लेकिन सितारा नहीं हूँ में (1.2)


Banu kaise woh bedaag kanwal jo khile jheel main (2.1)

Mamuli insaan huu.n, bedaag shiva nahi huu.n main (2.2)

बनू कैसे वो बेदाग़ कँवल जो खिले झील में (2.1)

मामूली इंसान हूँ, बेदाग़ शिवा नहीं हूँ में (2.2)


badel, badel ke bhesh kitne, nibhayi kitne bhumikaye ish parde pe (3.1)

Hua benaqaab baar baar, magar behrupiya nahi huu.n main (3.2)

बदल बदल के भेष कितने, निभायी कितनी भूमिकाये इस परदे पे (3.1)

हुआ बेनक़ाब बार बार, मगर बहरूपिया नहीं हूँ में (3.2)


Ye geet jo gata hu.un, hai meri kalam ke ya kissi aur ke? (4.1)

hongi meri awaaz, agar koi nirmata ki maya nahi huu.n main? (4.2)

ये गीत जो गाता हूँ, है मेरी कलम के या किसी ओर के? (4.1)

होंगी मेरी आवाज़ अगर कोई निर्माता की माया नहीं हूँ मैं? (4.2)


Kabhi dhalna ‘Saraab’ apne, kabhi sanche sansar ke (5.1)

kahan khudmuktari, kya taqdeer ka mara khilona nahi huu.n main? (5.2)

कभी ढलना ‘सराब’ अपने, कभी सांचे समाज के (5.1)

कहाँ खुदमुख्तारी, क्या  तकदीर का मारा खिलौना नहीं हूँ  में? (5.2)


Word List: adaakaar = actor.  takht = stage.  tamashaa = play, farce, spectacle.  khaak = dust.  bedaag= unstained.  shiva = pure.  benaqaab = unmasked, revealed.  behrupiya = impressionist, impersonator, mimic, copycat, two-faced.  sancha = mould, cast.  khudmuktari = free will


Loose English Translation:

I’m an actor on the stage, but I’m not a farce (1.1)

I’m made of the same dust, but I’m not a star (1.2)

How do I become an unspoiled lotus that blossoms in the lake (2.1)

I’m an ordinary human, I am not untainted and pure. (2.2)

Many a times I’ve changed costumes, and played many roles (3.1)

Many a times, I’ve became unmasked, but I’m not an impersonator (3.2)

These songs I sing, are they of my writing or someone else’s (4.1)

Where’s my voice, am I a director’s illusion only? (4.2)

Sometime I pour into ‘Mirage’ moulds, sometimes those of the world,

Is there free will or am I not fate’s toy?



Notes: The idea for this poem came from Muzaffar Warsi ghazal maana ke musht-e-khaak se, sung by Jagjit Singh.  This  in turn is originally based on Ghalib’s daayam pa.Daa huaa tere dar par nahii.n huu.N mai.N sung by Begum Akhtar.  There is a Hariharan version as well.  I was able to explore some deeper themes on this one.

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