Shri. K. SATCHIDANANDAN, the renowned poet, critic, editor and playwright who writes in Malayalam as well as English has been one of my favourite poets in Malayalam. He has exposed Malayalam readers to writers from various parts of the world and his own writings have been translated into 17 languages including Tamil, Hindi, Bengali, English, Arabic, French, German and Italian.
Ever since I heard and read a Ghazal written by him in Malayalam, I have been captured by its philosophical profundity, apparent simplicity and incredible sensitivity. Of late, I have made an attempt to translate that song into English which I am posting here with his permission. I consider it a great honour to receive a mail from him saying, "It is a faithful version". I am very happy that he has shared a few things about the days of writing the song.
Thank you, Sir.
Dear Santhosh Kumar,
I have seen your English version of my song, "Oru njarambippolum pacha". It is a faithful version. It was one of the many songs- you can also call them free ghazals- I wrote when I was recovering from a gall bladder surgery. Those songs just came to me, to my great embarrassment, as I had never written songs before. At first I was shy, but then decided to write them down. This is a song of hope, a hope I uphold amidst all my despair even now. I wrote fifty ghazals which were later published as a small book by Haritham Publications, Kozhikode. Many of them, including this song, were composed and sung by the ghazal singer, Umbayee, of Kochi and he has an album exclusively of my songs; later the song was also used in a film. Thanks.
ONE VEIN IN ME IS STILL ALIVE, SAID A LEAF TO THE BRANCH
ONE LEAF STILL CLINGS TO THE TREE, SAID THE BRANCH TO THE BLOWING WIND
ONE BRANCH STILL STAYS UNSHAKEN, SAID A TREE TO THE BIRD
ONE TREE IS STILL UNFELLED IN A CORNER, SAID A FOREST TO THE EARTH
ONE FOREST IS STILL GREEN, SAID A HILL TO ITS GLOWING SUN
ONE SUN IS STILL AGLOW, I SAID TO THE SPREADING DARKNESS.
Here is the song in Malayalam transliterated by me for the convenience of variety of readers:
ORU NJARAMBIPPOLUM PACHAYAAYUNDENNU ORILA THANTE CHILLAYODOTHI
KOZHIYATHE ORILA IPPOLUM BAAKIYENNORU CHILLA KAATINODOTHI
ORU CHILLA KAATIL KULUNGATHE NILPUNDENNORU MARAM PAKSHIYODOTHI
ORU MARAM VETTATHE ORU KONIL KAANUMENNORU KAADU BHOOMIYODOTHI
ORU KAADU BHOOMIYIL BAAKIYUNDENNORU MALA SWANTHAM SOORYANODOTHI
ORU SOORYANINIYUM KEDATHEYUNDENNU NJAN PADARUNNA RAATHRIYODOTHI
ഒരു ഞരമ്പിപ്പോഴും പച്ചയായുണ്ടെന്ന്
ഒരു ഇലതന്റെ ചില്ലയോടോതി
ഇലയൊന്നു പൊഴിയാതെ ഇപ്പോഴും
ബാക്കിയുണ്ടെന്നൊരു ചില്ല കാറ്റിനോടോതി
ഒരു ചില്ല കാറ്റില് കുലങ്ങാതെ നില്പ്പു-
ഒരുമരം വെട്ടാതെ ഒരു കോണില്
കാണുമെന്നൊരു കാട് ഭൂമിയോടോതി
ഒരു കാടു ഭൂമിയില് ബാക്കിയുണ്ടെന്നൊരു
മല സ്വന്തം സൂര്യനോടോതി
ഒരു സൂര്യനിനിയും കെടാതെയുണ്ടെന്നു ഞാന്
You can listen to the song here:
-by Santhosh Kumar Kana