This recently published book on Baba Farid’s verse titled Farid’s Couplets, is remarkably well published where academic T.C Ghai has translated his verse into English. And also stands out the original text in Gurumukhi, Shahmukhi and Devanagari. The translated couplets manage to achieve intensity of original Farid. A book review by Humra Quraishi
As I hold this book in my hands to read sufi-mystic Baba Farid’s couplets, emotions do hold sway, with nostalgia overpowering. My mother was always so fascinated by Baba Farid’s verse that she’d decided to name her first born son, Farid.
My younger sister and I were in the junior school – St Francis Convent in Jhansi, and I recall how excitedly we’d rush home from school to play with our baby brother named Farid by my parents. We’d play with him till school homework took over. This went on for almost eleven months, till that fateful afternoon when Farid passed away. I still recall those details. That particular afternoon when my sister and I returned from school, we saw several family friends standing in and around the main living room, with my parents sitting close to my brother’s form, all too wrapped up in a white cotton sheet, readied for burial. He was born very feeble and extremely fragile, with the medical specialists not holding out much hope. He couldn’t go beyond those eleven months. Leaving memories and bruised emotions. Another offshoot, after my brother’s passing away I have been reading as many verses of Baba Farid as I possibly could.
This recently published book on Baba Farid’s verse titled Farid’s Couplets, is remarkably well published where academic T.C Ghai has translated his verse into English. And also stands out the original text in Gurumukhi, Shahmukhi and Devanagari. Together with this, much focus on this great mystic, who holds sway to this day. He is also known as Sheikh Farid Gunj -e- Shakar and also Sheikh Farid or Farid-ud- din Masud ( the name given to him at his birth). He was born around 1179 at a village called Kothewal, 10 kilometres from Multan in the Punjab region – undivided Punjab region, of what is now Pakistan.
Though Baba Farid’s verse have been earlier too translated into English, but as Ghai writes in the Introduction to this book, “I hope this translation achieves some of the intensity of the original Farid to convey his intense awareness of death, the transience of life, the existentialist pain of living, and the vanity of worldly ambition, in a language shorn of superfluities, and using sharply realized images from contemporary everyday life.”
There is also focus on the fact that Farid Bani – the 112 slokas –that are translated and published in this book, are said to have been acquired by Guru Nanak ( 1469-1539) during his visit to Baba Farid’s shrine in Jodhan (now in Pakistan) nearly two and a half centuries after Baba Farid’s death. However they came to light only when Guru Arjan Dev (1563- 1606), the fifth Sikh Guru, made it part of the Sikh scripture in 1604.
These verses of are immense significance in today’s world and should reach out to as many as possible.
Title of the book – Farid Couplets.
Translated by T. C Ghai. With original text in Gurumukhi, Shahmukhi and Devanagiri
Publisher- LG Publishers Distributors
Price – Ra 595