/* A translation of Poet Rabindranath Tagore's Poem 'Shah-Jehan' */
by Shamik Kumar Bose
O Shah-Jahan! The Godly Emperor of India
Thou knew this fact so well,
That Life, Youth, Wealth and Honour are all swept away
By the waves of Time.
'Yet only thy agony inside survives and stays eternal.'
It was thy wish, thy austere endeavor.
The power of thy kingdom, like a steely thunder
Even if it may dissolve like Evening's crimson hue,
Inside a slumber hemisphere,
Let it will be, how does it matter?
But only a deep sigh from thy inside,
Be inspired so eternal,
Make the sky compassionate,
In thy mind that desire rekindled.
The radiances of Diamonds, Pearls and Jewels,
Even if they disappear,
It may not matter.
Let it only remains
One dropp of tear from thine eye
White luster upon the cheeks of Time
This Taj Mahal. I
O this Heart of a human!
For time after time
To look after and to desire for someone
Where is the Time to borrow?
Not there, No more.
In swift tides of life,
You are floating all the time,
From One Ghat to another of this world-
You carry a basket in one market,
Make it empty in another.
While the Myrtle-flowers of Spring in your grove,
With chanting from South so humming,
Fills up the ruffled lap of your garden-
Yet the twilight comes when we depart,
With tearing petals inside scattered dusts.
Ah! Where is the time left?
So again in a dewy nigh
Cultivate new flowers in your garden
To decorate the vessels with Spring's delightful tears.
Ah! Thee Heart
Thy graceful savings
Only to waste around the corners of roads,
While a day ends,
When a nigh finds her last step.
O! Not here, not there,
Time is not left anymore. II
O The Emperor, that is why thy heart so afraid
Wished to seduce the Time's heart
With the grace of a beauty.
With what garland swinging around her neck,
Thee greeted the graceless death
With deathless stupendous decorate?
O! Where is the opportunity?
For one to lament for twelve months,
So thou tied up thy turbulent laments
With nets of quietude eternal
In a bond, steely hard.
While in a Full Moon nigh,
Inside a Temple in solitude,
That name thee used to call thy love
in slow and slower tone.
Now thee had left those whispers,
Those private calls ear to ear
In the ears of the Infinite.
The softening compassions of love,
Inside bunches of flowers in beauty,
Inside calm and quiet stones. III
O the Poet Emperor,
Let this be the picture of thy heart,
A new messenger of the cloud,
In lyrical tunes of a song
Has arisen towards the Unseen—
Where thy love-sick dearer languishes
The crimson lights of the dawn,
The inhales the Horizon breathes in one tired evening,
The delicate sublime of the Moon,
Bodiless, so fragrant in a Moonlit Night,
Around the shore beyond any language
Where the eyes hanker after so precious,
Only to return from one door to another.
Thy love-filled heart,
Ah! Thy messenger for a beauteous
Evades the watchful eyes of Time
O for so long! So long time!
And is floating speechless around the foams of time
With this message—“I have not forgotten,
Have not forgotten,
Oh! Thou so dear, I have not forgotten thee fair! ” IV
O The Emperor! Thou had left us
Thy Kingdom is no more like a dream,
Like that thy Peacock Throne,
While this Earth used to tremble under their furor
Now only their fade memories
Just fly over the dusty Delhi roads.
The prisoners do not sing any more,
The music in thy Courtyard,
Are no more!
No more are those rhapsodies
When the crowning waves of Yamuna echoed!
Ah! Those tinkles of thy Court’s beauties
Now they are lying dead in one corner of thy palace,
So destitute, so much inside solitude
Inside choirs of the Beetles while they mourn
They make the sky of the nigh to weep, not alone.
Yet only thy messenger blushed in glory;
Beyond the reach of sweat and tear,
Deriding the journey to make and break a Kingdom,
Even at ridicule on the ascent in life and descent in death,
From ages to beyond
Saying in one coherent tune
With the lyrical rhymes of an eternal love-sick mourner
“Have not forgotten, Have n’t I,
O! Have not forgotten thee, my dear! ” V
That is an utter lie! Who dares to say that thou have not forgotten?
Who dares to utter,
Thou have not opened the memory’s cage door?
Thy past, now like darkness at sun-set so eternal
Ah! Why thy heart is so keenly bound with that even today?
Why it is yet to find a freedom,
Along the path of forgetting wisdom?
That Temple of thy meditation remains in rest so eternal,
I remain in dusts of this world
I keep the death in so much care
O! I wrap it inside memory’s layer.
Who else can keep his life forever!
Ah! The Star is calling him towards the sky.
His invitation from one space to another
From newer Eastern Horizon,
Along the rays of light.
O! Tearing the nodes of memory
He flies off to a passionate journey
In that path of the Universe,
Untied, in freedom.
O The Emperor! Not even one empire,
Could bind you in one attachment.
O! This world breasted with oceans, so great yet she failed
To fill you up—
So it is thy pleasure,
To push this world and abandon her like a clay bottle,
When ends thy festival of life.
That thee is even greater than thy achievements,
So thy life’s chariot,
Keeps thy achievements behind one time after another.
That is why,
Thou are not here, thy cipher is lying still where. VI
O that Love in glory! Yet she does not know
How to drive, whom to drive at front,
That Love only desired to find an Emperor’s Throne in a road,
Her wishful parlance in amour
Like dusts along the road
Hugged thy legs with love so pure—
Ah! Thou returned her to the dusts with care!
Thence on thy dusty footsteps left behind
From thy heart, O! A seed when
From life’s garland flied on wings of wind all on a sudden
Only to descend!
That Thou had left us so far,
That Seed flourished with a tree so immortal
Have now ascended towards the Sky,
Uttering with a resonant song’s melody,
‘For oft the farthest I may want to search
Nay! Nay! That Traveler I cannot find.
His Love could not keep him with her,
His Kingdom relinquished him with a path,
Ah! Not the Ocean, not even the Mountain
Entreated him not to leave with mournful tears.
For an unknown fountain.
His Chariot today
Is moving upon a Night’s invite
With the song of the Star
Towards a Gateway of Dawn.
Only for that why
I am left with the weight down the memory lane
O! He is free from that,
Alas! He is not here.’ VII
Copyright: Translated by Shamik Bose 28 th of Nov 2010 Calcutta