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munsif-mizaaj

temperament of justice, fair-minded, lover of justice, just-minded, just in temperament, (a person) of propriety or taste

poshiida

concealed, hidden, secret, covered, veiled

furqat

separation (of lovers), absence (of a beloved person or friend)

Gaazii

one who fights against infidels

fard-e-jurm

charge sheet, indictment, calendar of crime

hijrat

migration, leaving of country and friends

maarg

mirgii kaa daura

epileptic seizure/ fit

chaubaaraa

top room of a house with windows on all four sides, topmost storey of a house

saraab

a vapour resembling the sea at a distance (formed by the rays of the sun or moonlight on a sandy plain)

harfii

literal, relating to letters

maa'zarat

excuse, apology, plea

naa.ib-qaasid

muKHtasar

short, succinct, abbreviated, abridged, concise

bezaar

sick of, displeased, tired of, weary, vexed, disgusted, apathetic, out of humour

gardan par chhurii phernaa

sang-e-maahii

the genus of aquatic animal whose back is hard like stone

musalsal

'ahd-e-vafaa

fulfill the promise

tark-e-duniyaa

abandoning worldly pleasures, becoming hermit

saffaak

a great shedder of blood, a cruel man, a butcher, tyrant

subuk-KHiraam

fast walker, fast runner, fast speed

me'yaar

an assay-balance, a touchstone

khisyaanii billii khambaa noche

an embarrassed or ashamed person tends to vent his/her feeling by quarrelling

shariik-e-hayaat

life partner, wife or husband mostly used for wife

lams

sense of touch, tactile sense

iKHtiyaar

jurisdiction, management, rule, sway

chaukaa cha.Dhaanaa

fixing dentures, fixing artificial teeth

gardish

faash

apparent, revealed, divulged, known, manifest, obvious

du'aa mustajaab honaa

mustajaab

qurbat

tifl-e-maktab

a school boy, inexperienced

yaum-e-vilaadat

birthday

az-sar-e-nau

anew, afresh, over again

kam-zarf

poor-spirited, Shallow, of little capacity, stupid, silly, witless

ruu-posh

hiding the face

zuud-pashemaan

repenting too soon, one who repents soon

dastaras

range of authority or control, within (one's) reach or power; to be reached with the hand, come to hand, able, approach, access, command, control

polaj

land sown every year

shiddat

abundance (of thirst, tears or lamentation, etc.)

musht-e-KHaak

(Literary) handful of dust, human being, man

aziyyat

wanton injury, molestation, annoyance, oppression

sinf

genre, sex, gender, species

faasiq

sinner, transgressor, adulterer, fornicator, rake, impious, vicious, scoundrel

'ohde

commission, office, post

munaafiq

hypocritical, a hypocrite, dissembler

mutma.in

In a state of rest, or ease, or quiet, enjoying repose and ease, still, quiet, tranquil, content, safe, secure

Urdu

Rekhta, Hindawi

sinf-e-suKHan

genre of poetry, form of poetry

aahan

iron, steel

jaan-e-man

(Literary) my life, my dear, darling

matlab

mean, sense, meaning, motive, aim, object, concern, purpose, wish, desire, selfishness, question, petition

'ahd

time, season, epoch, age

Gizaa-e-saqiil

heavy or hard to digest food

Garq

drowning, sinking, immersion

ham-'ahd

contemporary, coeval

'ahd-e-hukuumat

period of reign, period of rule

'ahd-e-nau

modern or present age

tajdiid

renewal, revival, novelty, renovation

KHud-saaKHta

home-made, self-appointed, self-styled

qanaa'at

contentment, satisfaction, tranquility, abstinence, ability to do without

Gair-muhazzab

uncivilized, uncultured

raqs

dance, dancing

'umr-e-daraaz

long-life, may (your) life (be) long

tazliil

humiliation, abasement, indignity, disgrace, degradation

qaul-e-faisal

ultimate judgement, statement that settles an issue

zulf-e-daraaz

long tresses, long locks

sarzanish

reprimand, chiding, dressing down, reproof, rebuke, reprehension

saqaafat

customs and beliefs of a specific country or group, culture

'avaamunnaas

public, common people, populace at large

aa.iin

constitution, law, code, enactment, regulation, statute, set rules or laws

zinaa-bil-jabr

rape, ravishment

e'timaad

confidence, faith, trust, reliance, dependence

e'tibaar

confidence, trust, belief, faith, reliability, credibility

baad-e-sabaa

morning breeze, the zephyr, a refreshing wind

rashk

the process of copying something achieved by someone else and trying to do it as well as they have, effort to match or surpass a person or achievement, typically by imitation, emulation

'alaamat-e-buluuG

sign of puberty, signs of being young

qaumii-salaamatii

national security, the safety of a nation, or actions taken to protect it

ziist

life, existence

'azm-e-safar

determination to travel

raqiib

a watcher, guardian

alfaaz

words, articulate sounds, terms

qillat

littleness, smallness; fewness, paucity, deficiency, scarcity, insufficiency

amvaat

deaths

taGaaful

feigned negligence, intentional connivance

firaaq

separation, disunion, abandonment

bad-nasiib

unfortunate, unlucky

'aduu

enemy, foe, oppositionist , opponent,

anjum

stars

'adl

justice, fairness, equity, rectitude

chilman

a hanging screen made of reeds or spilt bamboo for obstructing view, curtain, a venetian blind

difaa'

defence, repulsion

ulfat

love, affection, friendship, intimacy, familiarity, attachment, kindness

ranjish

indignation, grief, unpleasantness (between persons)

samaa'at

hearing, listening, (of a lawsuit)

dil-aazaarii

heart afflicting, torment of the heart, vexation of spirit, anxiety, trouble

tauhiin-e-'adaalat

contempt of court

mansuuba

plan, design, scheme, project

'adaavat

hostility, malice, enmity, animosity, hate, hatred, resentment, vindictiveness, malice, feud

'azm

determination, resolution, intention, fixed purpose, bent, aim, undertaking

shab

night, night time

aaftaab

sun

Home / Blog / From Script Sounds to Sound Script: A Fresh Take on Learning Urdu

From Script Sounds to Sound Script: A Fresh Take on Learning Urdu

by Rajat Kumar 12 December 2021 3 min Read

From Script Sounds to Sound Script: A Fresh Take on Learning Urdu

phir nazar me.n phuul mahke dil me.n phir sham.e.n jalii.n
phir tasavvur ne liyaa us bazm me.n jaane kaa naam
FAIZ AHMAD FAIZ

This verse above by Faiz Sahab is inarguably among the most adored couplets of Urdu language.

But besides its evocative imagery and nostalgic vibe, do you know what’s the secret behind Ghazal-lovers reciting it over and over, like a cryptic Mantra?

It’s rich, resonant sound effects.

If you know a thing or two about prosody and know how to recite a She’r in tune with its metrical pulse, you know once you recite this verse you’d be stuck in an endless loop!

I know this is one of the most popular meters and there are countless Urdu Ghazals in it, but what is it that particularly stimulates the flow of sounds in this couplet of Faiz?

It’s the repetitive ‘Ph’ sound in the verse.

Especially, with the ‘Phir’ and ‘Phuul’, and again the ‘Phir’ in the second hemistich.

The ‘Ph’ falls exactly on the first beat of a rhythmic time-signature; say, the ‘Sam’ of a 4/4 taal or Rupak Taal, or precisely, the ‘Dhaa’ of the Tabla.

It’s as if the aspirated, blown-out sound of ‘Ph’ lifts the verse to a crescendo at every beat drop:

Phir - na- zar- mein / Phuu - l -mah - ke / dil -me -phir - Sham / en-ja-lii.n
Dam-da-Dam-Dam/ Dam-da-Dam-Dam/ Dam-da-Dam-Dam/ Dam-da-Dam

Kind of cool, no?

But wait, now try something else, replace the imposing ‘Ph’ sound, with the faint ‘f’, now recite the verse.

Notice the difference; not that sonorous at all, right?

What’s happened is that the ‘f’ has literally taken the air out of the verse.

Sadly, or else, this is how most modern-day Urdu poetry aficionados-cum-aspirants read and recite this verse, with the syllable ‘f’.

Though it's common knowledge why this has come to pass – the fact that readers of the Urdu script have skimmed and Devanagari has dropped the all-essential Nuqtas or dots that helped readers tell apart these different syllables – it’s not the Hindi or Urdu speaker who stands at a loss, but it’s that Hindustani speaker, who is positive that Urdu/Hindi is just one language and his OWN, who has further distanced from his Lingua Franca.

And this has surely not been helped by counterproductive arguments such as, ‘So what if Devanagari has dropped Nuqtas, Urdu texts are also barely marked with diacritics (E’raab) which make identifying vowels harder; eventually, people know what they’re talking about!’

The truth is, people don’t. 

If you take sensible reading out of the equation, speaking sense makes no sense.

And yes, this forced rigidity upon the two scripts is being broken by Aamozish and the likes, yet for us modern learners and speakers, who are flushed upon with Roman texts from all sides, we need to embrace, or perhaps even invent, a Sound Script, a script that speaks for itself, a script that makes not just advertisements or slogans meaningful, but also poetry of Faiz and other greats more relatable.

Language has more to do than just communicating a meaning, it has to fulfil the purpose of successfully conveying an idea; for an idea is exceedingly Virgin than its meaning.

Wow! We have quickly digressed from relishing a beautiful couplet into a heart-out rant. Perhaps now is the perfect time to take cue from Faiz Sahab’s ‘phir tasavvur ne liyaa us bazm me.n jaane kaa naam’, and step into ‘’that gathering’’ where we can again touch base with our roots, and can know more and unlearn even more!

Oh, and if this ‘Ph’ vs ‘f’ friction still subsides, then we only have Ghalib to turn to:

aagahii daam-e-shuniidan jis qadar chaahe bichhaa.e
mudda.aa anqaa hai apne aalam-e-taqriir kaa
MIRZA GHALIB

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