About the Poem
|Time Period||Late 20th century CE|
|Meters||mujtas musamman makhboon mahzoof|
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mujtas musamman makhboon mahzoof maqtoo’
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“Safar Men Dhoop To Ho Gi” is a powerful Urdu ghazal by Indian poet Nida Fazli (1938-2016). It was popularized by Chitra Singh and her late husband Jagjit Singh, who often sang it at their concerts. “Safar Men Dhoop” was published in Fazli’s 1986 book Aankh Aur Khwab Ke Darmiyan, though it appeared earlier as part of the soundtrack of the obscure 1984 Bollywood movie Kunwari Bahu (links below).
Nida Fazli was among India’s most influential modern poets, and he was awarded the Padma Shri – one of the country’s highest honors – in 2013. He also worked as a lyricist in Bollywood, writing songs for movies like Razia Sultan (1983), Sarfarosh (1999), and Sur (2002). Fazli’s poetry often deals with the human condition, social relations, and the importance of living a life of openness and compassion. He strove to revitalize Urdu poetry by employing newer themes, styles, and language. Perhaps that is also why “Safar Men Dhoop”, along with Fazli’s other famous ghazals, does not include his takhallus (pen name) in the last couplet – an otherwise standard practice.
“Safar Men Dhoop” exemplifies the humanistic and inspirational nature of Fazli’s work. In this ghazal, the speaker describes the chaos of the external world, including scorching sunlight and massive crowds. It can be easy to get lost in the crowd and continue on the same way as everyone else, without thinking deeper about the situation. The speaker of the poem repeatedly uses the words “khud”, “tum”, and “apne aap” (all denoting “you” or “yourself”) along with verbs like “badal” (“change”) and “nikal” (“exit/leave”) to emphasize the individual’s ability to affect change through self-awareness and dedicated action. Overall, “Safar Men Dhoop” calls upon the reader to think, act, and move ahead on one’s own, regardless of where the crowd goes.
Text, Transliteration, and Translation
سفر میں دھوپ تو ہوگی جو چل سکو تو چلو
सफ़र में धूप तो होगी जो चल सको तो चलो
safar meN dHoop to ho gi jo chal sako to chalo
The journey will have scorching sunlight – if you can walk, then go forth!
سبھی ہیں بھیڑ میں تم بھی نکل سکو تو چلو
सभी हैं भीड़ में तुम भी निकल सको तो चलो
sabHi haiN bHeeR meN tum bHi nikal sako to chalo
All are lost amongst the crowd – if you too can escape, then go forth!
کسی کے واسطے راہیں کہاں بدلتی ہیں
किसी के वास्ते राहें कहां बदलती हैं
kisi ke vaaste raaheN kahaaN badalti haiN
When do life’s paths ever change for someone else’s sake?
تم اپنے آپ کو خود ہی بدل سکو تو چلو
तुम अपने आप को ख़ुद ही बदल सको तो चलो
tum apne aap ko khud hi badal sako to chalo
If you can change yourself on your own, then go forth!
یہاں کسی کو کوئی راستہ نہیں دیتا
यहां किसी को कोई रास्ता नहीं देता
yahaaN kisi ko koi raasta naheeN deta
Over here, no one gives way to anyone else.
مجھے گرا کے اگر تم سنبھل سکو تو چلو
मुझे गिरा के अगर तुम संभल सको तो चलो
mujHe gira ke agar tum sambHal sako to chalo
If by knocking me down, you can balance yourself, then go forth!
کہیں نہیں کوئی سورج دھواں دھواں ہے فضا
कहीं नहीं कोई सूरज धुआं धुआं है फ़ज़ा
kaheeN naheeN koi sooraj dHoo’aaN dHoo’aaN hai faza
There is no sun here; smoke engulfs all surroundings.
خود اپنے آپ سے باہر نکل سکو تو چلو
ख़ुद अपने आप से बाहिर निकल सको तो चलो
khud apne aap se baahir nikal sako to chalo
If you can withdraw from your own self, then go forth!
یہی ہے زندگی کچھ خواب چند اُمّیدیں
यही है ज़िंदगी कुछ ख़्वाब चंद उम्मीदें
yahi hai zindagi kuchH khwaab chand ummeedeN
Life is but a few dreams and a handful of hopes.
اِنہیں کھِلونوں سے تم بھی بہل سکو تو چلو
इन्हीं खिलौनों से तुम भी बहल सको तो चलो
inheeN kHilaunoN se tum bHi behel sako to chalo
If you too can be amused by these toys, then go forth!
Further Reading and References
- Aankh Aur Khwab Ke Darmiyan (1986) by Nida Fazli. You can find this poem on page 11 of 98. [link]
- Sharma, Ashustosh. “Nida Fazli, The Poet & His Poetry.” Outlook. 11 February 2016. This article summarizes Fazli’s life and worldview, and it also quotes some of his famous couplets. [link]
- The full recording of Sir Syed Day Mushaira 1989, in which Nida Fazli recites part of “Safar Men Dhoop” from 4:05-4:52 [link]
- A live performance from 2000 in which both Jagjit and Chitra Singh sing the ghazal together [link]
- Video clip of the version of “Safar Men Dhoop” from the Bollywood movie Kunwari Bahu (1984), sung by Shabbir Kumar [link]
- Sampada Vora version, released in 2021 [link]
- Liza Dawar version, performed in 2019 [link]
- A TV interview with Nida Fazli in which he recites some of his poetry and speaks about his life [link]