Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Baul Jibon—বাউল জীবন—A Minstrel's Life—एक बाउल की ज़िन्दगी—یک باؤل کی زندگی

So far, this post includes the original, in Bengali script, an English translation, an attempt at translation into Hindi--and a machine-translation of that attempt into Urdu.  The three translations are at the bottom of the post.

I have also included three images, a link to an earlier poem and links to information and videos about Bauls, including two recordings (with English subtitles) by Parvathy Baul.

The periods (full-stops) and some of the commas in the Urdu version are misplaced, owing to text-flow-direction difficulties. (Urdu uses a modified Arabic script, written from right to left.)

Any feedback, comments and corrections--especially to the Bengali, Hindi and Urdu--would be most welcome.

In the first line of the second stanza, I have changed the tense, in the Bengali and English versions, to the present, altering the English line from

"I never worked at jobs or farms."


"I do not work at jobs or farms."

Bauls appear to live mainly by singing and, as many Hindu, Buddhist and Jain monks do, by begging.  However, it seems likely that they will have also, at times in their lives, worked in other ways--for a living or to help their families of birth.

Nevertheless, I have left that line in a sort of past perfect tense ("I have not worked at...") in the Hindi and Urdu versions.

To see the images in a somewhat larger and clearer view, click on any one image. Then use the arrow keys on your keyboard or click on the thumbnails.  To return to this blog post, click on the white X near the top right of the black background.

বাউল জীবন

Baul Mohammad Islam Shah, on the Padma River, Bangladesh
photograph: Leonid Plotkin
ছেড়ে এলাম সবাইকে, গো,

ছেড়ে এলাম, ওরে৷
একতারাতে বাজনা বাজাই,
ঘুরে বেড়াই দূরে৷
করিনা গো চাষ, চাকরি,
করি নি গো বিয়ে৷
ভিক্ষে করি, শহর গাঁয়ে,
চিত্তের গান গেয়ে৷
মরন কালে গাইব আমি,
রূগ্ণ শ্বাসে, গান৷
একতারাটা থাকবে পড়ে,
চলবে পথে প্রাণ৷
মঙ্গলবার, ২১ জুন, ২০১৬ খ্রি
ব্রুক্লিন, নিউয়র্ক

See also:

For Just a Penny or for Naught
Maula Pagol (Maula Baksh Shah)

The following are two video recordings of Baul songs, sung by Parvathy Baul (Mousumi Parial).The songs have English subtitles.

In the first song, note the blurring of the distinction between forbidden, amorous love and love for the divine, found in certain bhakti (devotional) songs of Vaishnavite Hinduism and also in other traditions, such as those of the Sufi poets of Islam and certain aspects of Christianity.

This is expressed, in this song, as the pining of Radha for dark-skinned lover, Krishna, at night and even as she goes about her daytime domestic duties.  She is advised to be secretive and clever in her trysts (perhaps only imaginary) with her lover.

The song talks about the wood-smoke bringing tears to the eyes of Radha as she tends the household cooking fire, and about her bathing and swimming in the pond or river. These were things typical of rural India.

The second song is followed by the singer's explanation, in English, of that song's content and emotional context.

Kichhu Din Mone Mone (Kichu Din Mone Mone)  (In Mind, Awhile)


Sri Choron Paabo (Xri Co`ron Pabo) (I Will Touch Your Feet)


Parvathy Baul (Mousumi Parial)

For more videos and information about Bauls, please see:


A Minstrel's Life

I left then everyone, I did.
I left then everything.
I play now on the monochord.
I wander far and sing.

I do not work at jobs or farms.
Unwed, I did depart.
I beg in towns and villages,
And sing my songs of heart.

This monochord, I’ll leave behind
When I am dead and gone.
With my dying breath, I’ll sing and then
My soul will wander on.

Tuesday, 21st June, 2016 CE
Brooklyn, New York

एक बाउल की ज़िन्दगी

मैं छोड़ दिया हूँ, घरवाले को,
छोड़ दिया हूँ सब।
एकतार पर बजाता रहता हूँ,
जोश जब रहे, तब।
मैं किया नहीं हूँ, नौकरी, खेती,
शादी भी नहीं माना।
शहर में, गांव में, भीख माँगता हूँ,
गाता हूँ, दिल का गाना।

मरते हुए, कमज़ोरी में,
गाता रहूँगा फिर भी।
इस एकतार तो रहा जायेगा, लेकिन
दिल चलेगा फिर भी।

मंगलवार, २१ वीं जून, २०१६ ईस्वी,
ब्रुकलीन, न्यूयॉर्क

یک باؤل کی زندگی

میں نے چھوڑ دیا ہوں، گھر والے کو،
چھوڑ دیا ہوں سب.
اےكتار پر بجاتا رہتا ہوں،
جوش جب رہے،تب.
میں کیا نہیں ہوں، نوکری، کاشتکاری،
شادی بھی نہیں مانا.
شہر میں، گاؤں میں، بھیک مانگتا ہوں،
گاتا ہوں، دل کا گانا.

مرتے ہوئے، کمزوری میں،
گاتا رہوں گا پھر بھی.
اس اےكتار تو رہا جائے گا، لیکن
دل چلے گا پھر بھی.
منگل، ۲۱ ویں جون، ۲۰۱۶ ء،
بروک لین، نیویارک

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