English Translation of
ہمد ر د ي
( ماخوذ از وليم کو پر (
بچوں کے ليے
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|Perching on a lonely branch of tree
Was a Bulbul in a sad decree? (1)
Lamenting on the approach of night
The day was spent in carefree flight
How I may reach my nest?
All is but in a dark behest. (2)
Hearing Bulbul’s cry in dismay
A Jugnoo approached him in the way
I’m ready to serve you with heart and soul
Though I’m a little insect of no protocol
The night is dark but nothing is to worry
I will illuminate your way, now you hurry
With a torch Allah hath me blessed
Groomed me so that kindled my self
The better are the people in this world
Those who seek not favor, but help others!
for children. The Urdu title of poem is “Hamdardi” which is usually
translated as “Sympathy”. According to my understanding of it, I
have translated it as "Empathy" instead of "Sympathy".
The Bulbul is the nightingale and the Jugnoo is the firefly. The
original Urdu words have been used to assign character to the role
played by the two. It is not purposeless though, while analyzing
symbols used in Muslim classic literature, we come to know that
“garden” refers to the garden of life; the rose to the spiritual self
and the Bulbul to the material, worldly self.
The bulbul spends most of the time enjoying luxuries of life,
idolizing rose and claiming to be in love, but seldom showing an
active pursuit of it. Bulbul's occupation is mostly with the zahir of
life. While Rose is all spiritual essence of life. Rose, however, is
not mentioned in this poem.
The poem also signifies the loneliness and depression one faces
near the end of life, when all life is spent in pursuit of material
needs of life seeking ordinary pleasures, "as said by Iqbal" ---
Urnay chugnay main Din guzara"; at the end of the day we realize
that we have lost our way. We are nowhere and we don’t know
who will get us safely to the home.
A simple Jugnoo (firefly) may help us in such a dire situation. It is
all by Allah’s mercy.
The Jugnoo represents inner illumination. In our everyday life, we
hardly distinguish a Jugnoo from other insects. It remains as
insignificant and petty a being as ordinary flies can be. In the same
way we can hardly recognize people with real knowledge in life, the
Wali Allahs or the friends of Allah. We recognize them only in
moments of dire need, in a spiritual crisis they appear like a North
Star in the dark sky and guide us to our desired destination.
understanding of the
language, the "decree" is
some rule or enforced
law of court. But in
spiritual text it pertains to
"taqdeer" the divine law
dictated for some
phenomenon or object.
So it will be understood
as buri qismat or bural
haal muqaddar ki waja
say, which is our first
feeling whenever we
meet an unusual or bad
situation in life.
(2) First of all "behest"
though literally means an
Here it means that this
darkness or ignorance
has been implemented
upon us by some cruel
authority. It could not
have been our voluntary
Both of these terms
indicate the confusion
and an attempt of our
ego to project everything
bad on something
external to us, and denial
to admit one's own
negligence or ignorance.
In sufistic terms these are
the primary veils that one
needs to remove to get
closer to the Haqq or the