A poem slumbers
in my heart,
at the centre of my being,
and a dim mirror
tries to shape it
a ghazal
a line
a word.

Day and night
it pulls me toward itself,
no music,
no sound,
even silence seems to intrude.
What poem is this
that sleeps in me
and does not let me sleep?
– Jameela Nishat
Translated by Hoshang Merchant


એક ગીત સૂતું છે
મારા અંતરને તળિયે
આત્માના ઊંડાણમાં
એક મધ્યમ અરિસો
એને ચહેરો આપવા ઈચ્છે છે
નથી કોઈ શેર
ન ગઝલ
ન ગીત
ન મિસરા
સ્વપ્ન પણ છે
અને નથી પણ
રાત અને દિવસ
આ શાશ્વત તાકાત
તરફ ખેંચાઈ રહી છું
ન સાજ
ન અવાજ
ખામોશી પણ જાણે
મારા અસ્તિત્વમાં હસ્તક્ષેપ કરે છે
આ કયું ગીત છે
જે મારી અંદર સૂઈનેય
મને સૂવા નથી દેતું
– જમીલા નિશાત
અનુવાદ જયા મહેતા

Born in 1955, Hyderabad-based feminist and poet Jameela Nishat is a significant presence in contemporary Urdu literature. She started writing poetry at an early age and has published three collections of poetry. She holds a Masters degree in English Literature and a post-graduate diploma in theatre arts. She taught English for twenty years and headed a school for disabled children. Deeply committed to the cause of Muslim women, she now runs the ‘Shaheen Resource Centre for Women’ in Sultan Shahi, Hyderabad.
Nishat is committed to promoting the cause of Dakhani, the Telugu-infused Hyderabadi Urdu that is the rich and unique heritage of the Deccan (widely used by poets during the Qutub Shahi rule in the 16th and 17th centuries, and so markedly different from the purist-endorsed ‘Persianised Urdu’, as Nishat puts it).In 2000, she edited Inkeshaf, an anthology of forty women poets from the Deccan.
source: poetryinternational.org