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A powerful thought, one that resonates through the years and with every generation, ‘Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari’ is one of Kaifi Azmi’s best poems.

It was part of the Guru Dutt produced and directed film, Kaagaz Ke Phool, which was released in 1959. Guru Dutt also played the lead role in the film. The film was a box office disaster in its time but was later resurrected as a world cinema cult classic in the 1980s. The film’s music was composed by S. D. Burman on the lyrics of Kaifi, and ‘dekhi zamane ki yaari’ was sung by the melodious Mohammed Rafi.

Dekhi zamaane ki yaari
bichhde sabhi baari baari

kya leke milen ab duniya se
aansu ke siva kuch paas nahi
ya phool hi phool the daaman mein
ya kaanton ki bhi aas nahi

matlab ki duniya hai saari
bichhde sabhi baari baari

vaqt hai meherbaan, aarzu hai javaan
fikr kal ki karen, itni fursat kahaan
daur ye chalta rahe
roop machalta rahe
rang uchhalta rahe
jaam badalta rahe

raat bhar mehmaan hain bahaaren yahaan
raat jab dhal gayi phir ye khushiyaan kahaan

badhne lagi beqaraari
bichhade sabhi baari baari

The English translation of Kaifi’s classic poem, as sourced from the Penguin Poetry book “Selected Poems: Kaifi Azmi”, translated by Pavan K. Varma, is below:

Enough! The Loyalty of Friends

Enough! The loyalty of friends I too have seen
One by one they left till none was on the scene.

With what can I seek to meet with the rest
I have only with me tears at best
Once flowers, only flowers, were my life’s concern
Now, for even a thorn I do not yearn.

Enough! This world is full of the selfish and the mean
One by one they left till none was on the scene.

The tide is on your side, and desire still aflame
Who has the time to think then of the morrow’s claim?

Let the moment ride
And forms collide
Let colours dance
And wine entrance

But alas! The ride is yours only for the night
And when the night wanes, ‘tis happiness’ blight!

Enough! Anxiety grows, in patterns unseen
One by one they left till none was on the scene.

Here is a link to the song: