Winding down with Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
“Mere rashk-e-qamar tu ne pehli nazar,
Jab nazar se milaayee maza aa gaya
Bara si gir gaii kaam hi kar gaii,
Aag aisi lagaaii maza aa gaya”
Trying to translate this is not going to be easy. The first big challenge is explaining the import of a simple phrase as “maza aa gaya”. Literally it might be said it means “(I) became overjoyed”. But it really conveys a lot more. Elements of “ecstasy” is carried thru in that phrase. And elements of “unparalleled” nature of joy is conveyed thru that phrase.
The second challenge is to translate the construct of Urdu phrases. They are constructed almost the opposite of English phrases, sequentially speaking. “Rashk e qamar” is best understood as “envy of moon”. Basically, he is describing her as somebody whose beauty is the subject of envy by the moon.
Let’s see if this does any justice…
“Oh! You – who is the envy of the moon, your first glance
When it met my own eyes, it flung me into a world of ecstasy
(And in that look) Lightning struck and completely charred me
You lit such a fire that I burnt in a fire of that ecstasy.”