Aftab Husain (Pakistan/Austria) is an eminent name in modern Ghazal poetry from South Asia. In addition to Urdu, he writes in English both poems and literary essays and translates from German to Urdu and vice versa. He earned his doctorate in comparative literature from Vienna University where he teaches South Asian Literature and Culture. He has four collections of poetry and three of books of translations – from German into Urdu – to his credit. He was a fellow of Heinrich-Böll-Haus, Germany as well as the ‘Writer of Exile’ of Vienna City. His poems have been translated into many languages. He is a member of the Austrian PEN and co-edits a bilingual magazine – Words & Worlds – for migrant literature.












Wherever I see, I see a new sea

Is that a sea of dreams, or a dream of a sea


When I look up, I just shudder with fright

Is that a beauty, or a fuming sea


Shall I preserve her in my eyes, or perish in her

There lies before me a deep, an open sea


Each act of hers sailed me afar last night

So this is me, that a resounding sea


With her memory in my heart, I know now

The wind confronting the sea is but a sea


I’ve to sail through and arrive; doesn’t matter What lies

on my way—the world, or the sea





I could have stopped someone, I let that someone go

Someone was dying in me, I let that someone die


There was a dream in my eyes, I just opened my eyes

And that fragrance around, I let the fragrance spread


Only by and by, my heart got used to the world’s ways

And only by and by, I also let my wounds heal


And now they—only they stand like walls in my way

For whom I made a way through my heart, I let them go


Last evening someone passed through the alleys of my


I saw that someone, Aftab, I let that someone leave



Translated from Urdu by Prof. Anisur Rahman.

 غزل نمبر ١


جدھر نگاہ کروں اک نیا سمندر ہے
یہ خواب ہے کہ کوئی خواب کا سمںدر ہے


نظر اٹھاؤں تو ہیبت سے کانپ جاتا ہوں
وہ حسن ہے کہ بپھرتا ہوا سمںدر ہے


میں اس کو آنکھ میں بھر لوں کہ اس میں ڈوب مروں
یہ میرے سامنے گہرا ، کھلا سمںدر  ہے


بہا کے لے گئی رات آس کی بات بات مجھے
سو ، میں ہوں اور کوئی گونجتا سمںدر ہے


وہ یاد دل میں در آئی ہے اور کھلا مجھ پ
سمندروں سے الجھتی ہوا سمںدر ہے


جو پار اترنا ہی ٹھیرا تو کوئی فرق نہیں
کہ میری راہ میں دنیا ہے یا سمںدر ہے



غزل نمبر٢


روک سکتا تھا کسی کو میں مگر جانے دیا
مجھ میں کوئی مر رہا تھا میں نے مر جانے  دیا

خواب تھا آنکھوں میں میری ، میں نے  آنکھیں کھول  دیں
اور اس خوشبو کو  سارے میں بکھر جانے دیا


رفتہ رفتہ دل کو دنیا کی ہوا راس آ گئی
رفتہ رفتہ  ہم نے اپنا زخم بھر جانے دیا


اور اب وہ لوگ میری راہ کی دیوار ہیں
جن کو میں نے اپنے اندر سے گزر جانے دیا


شآم کوئی دل سے ہو کر جا رہا تھا آفتاب
ہم نے دیکھا اک نظر اور دیکھ کر جانے دیا



Prof. ANISUR RAHMAN, formerly a professor at the Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, a central university in New Delhi, is currently Senior advisor at Rekhta Foundation, the world’s largest website on Urdu language, literature and culture: A translator, poet and literary critic, he has worked in the areas of translation, comparative, postcolonial and Urdu studies. He has published translations of Urdu poetry in Fire and the Rose (1995), authored In Translation: Positions and Paradigms (2019), co-edited Translation/Representation (2007) and edited Translation: Poetics and Practice (2001). He has four other books on postcolonial socio-literary cultures to his credit. Dr Rahman has been a Shastri Fellow at the University of Alberta, Canada (2001–02), and a Visiting Scholar at Purdue University, USA (2007).