A loose translation of an excerpt from Mian Mohammed Baksh’s ‘Saif-ul-Malook’

O my friend, fill your vessel while the sun is yet in the sky
for darkness approaches, and the terrible night is nigh;

Know that your trees won’t always have birds to sing
And your gardens won’t forever have the bloom of spring;

Your beauty and youth will also soon disappear
And one day you’ll doubtless lose all you hold dear;

So take the spark of love and set your heart alight
Such that the fire of love makes the world shine bright;

Make your life seep love like nectar from a fruit, O friend
Make that your purpose, and never let that nectar end;

Be not happy if your enemies their ends have met,
Since tomorrow all you care for might be gone;
For as sure as the sun at noon must set
You and all that’s yours will also pass on;

Tumble down the mosques, take the temples apart
My dear, destroy whatever shrines you may;
Only don’t ever break another person’s heart
For in truth that’s where God likes to stay.



Saif-ul-Malook is a fable in poetic form about the love of a man (the eponymous Saif-ul-Malook) for a pari (roughly translatable as a nymph/fairy), and the ordeals he has to overcome to win her company. The poem is written in the Hindko dialect, which is closely related to the Punjabi language.

This excerpt is from an episode in the fable titled safar ul ishq (the journey of love).

As is usual with early folk poetry from the Indian Subcontinent, this can easily be interpreted in a spiritual as well as a mundane manner.


Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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