Himalaya


(An English translation of the famous Urdu poet Sir Mohammed Iqbal’s well known
poem ‘Himalaya’)
Translated by Dr. Syed Sarwar Hussain

O Himalaya! thou fortress of sovereign Hindoostan!
Heavens above doth bow down, to kiss thy brow’s span.
Not a single sign of ageing doth, thy massive frame betray;
Thou stayeth young amidst, the swiveling night and day.
God’s glorious light caught Moses’ eyes, alone on Mount Sinai;
But thy manifestation absolute, draws each discerning eye.
To the lure of wand’ring gaze thou art, no more than a mountain chain;
Whereas to us, our mighty guard, the wall of Hindoostan.


Thou art a poet’s masterpiece, the sky thy crowning verse;
Thou lureth Man to the solitude of his heart’s universe.
The Snow hath wound an honoured turban, round thy lifted crest;
It mocks the glowing crown, of the all-illuminating sun in jest.
The distant past is but a flash, in thy time-honoured existence;
But the dark clouds hang over thy vales, in perpetual continuance.
Thy peaks soar high and match the stars in grace and elegance;
Tho’ Earth bound thou, thy reach yet is the sky’s vast expanse.
The spring that simmers from thy flank, is a flowing mirror, sheer;
The breeze that fondles it is like, a handkerchief fluttering, clear.
O’er the mountain top the clouds float like an ambling aerial steed,
And lightning shoves them like a lash, and quicken their speed.
O Himalaya art thou too a playhouse, that perchance;
Nature’s hand hath made for its elements to enhance.
Look, how the cloud is swaying along, in rapturous delight;
Like a drunken elephant breaking loose, running in full flight.
The morning Zephyr’s soothing breath, doth like a cradle move,
And drunk with life each flower bud, rocks itself to prove.
Thus speaks the tongue of leaf, to its restful silence pure,
“I’ve never ever felt the jerk of a gardener’s hands, for sure.
My reigning silence doth itself, my lasting tale unfold,
This nature’s quiet corner, this solitude is my abode.”
Lo, the stream rolls singing, down from above mountain high,
Putting to shame the founts and rivers, of Paradise well-nigh.
Holding a mirror to the Architect of Nature, so to say,
It runs, eluding now, now hitting the rocks in its way.
The strings of my delighted mood, fondle, as doth thou roll,
O wandering stream, my tender heart, understands thy call.
And when the silent charmer night, her long dark locks unfolds,
Sounds of rippling cataracts rouse, the heart’s deep inner folds.
Such is the silence of the night, that far surpasses speech,
The trees in contemplation stand, as high as they could reach.
What twilight colour trembles across, atop thy mountain range!
The rosy rouge on thy cheeks looks, how pleasant, how strange!
O Himalaya! Do recount some tales of long-gone ages when,
Your foothills had become the abodes of ancestors of men.
O, talk about the days, that marked their simple, quiet life,
Which wasn’t yet stained by guile, we find today so rife.
O imagination, do show us again those olden days and nights,
O wheel of time go spin back fast, to those cherished delights.