Khaali Haath Shaam Aayi Hai

Recently, I had the good fortune of translating a beautiful song for a dear friend who isn’t Indian. I wanted to introduce her to non-classical Indian music which could very well represent what it once was. I chose this song.

This song is a splendid piece of poetry by Gulzar-sahab sung beautifully by Asha Bhosle-ji. The music is by Pancham-da. Dusky beauty Rekha is quite perfect for this song. The movie is Ijaazat. The YouTube video below is slightly out of sync though that doesn’t spoil the song itself. There are other versions which would require you to sign in (wonder why, though).

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Khaali haath shaam aayi hai, khaali haath jayegi
aaj bhi na aaya koi,
aaj bhi na aaya koi, khaali laut jayegi
Khaali haath shaam aayi hai, khaali haath jayegi
khaali haath shaam aayi hai
Empty handed has the evening come, empty handed it will depart.
Today too, none has come
Today too, whom I await hasn’t come
Today, having not come, emptiness will return.
Empty handed has the evening come, empty handed it will depart.
Empty handed has the evening come.
aaj bhi na aaye aansoon
aaj bhi na bheege naina
aaj bhi na aaye aansoon
aaj bhi na bheege naina
aaj bhi yeh kori raina(2), kori laut jayegi
Today too tears do not well
Today too my eyes aren’t moist
Today too tears do not well
Today too my eyes aren’t moist
Today too they will be blank(2), and to the void return.
khaali haath shaam aayi hai, khaali haath jayegi
khaali haath shaam aayi hai
Empty handed has the evening come, empty handed it will depart.
Empty handed has the evening come.
raat ki siyahi koi,
aaye to mitaye naa
raat ki siyahi koi,
aaye to mitaye naa
aaj na mitaye to yeh(2), kal bhi laut aayegi
This night’s dark stain (siyahi is actually ink but can be interpreted as a dark stain too)
Can be wiped if only someone would come
This night’s dark stain
Can be wiped if only someone would come
If not wiped tonight(2), it (the darkness) will return tomorrow.
khaali haath shaam aayi hai, khaali haath jayegi
khaali haath shaam aayi hai
aaj bhi na aaya koi, khaali laut jayegi
Khaali haath shaam aayi hai, khaali haath jayegi
khaali haath shaam aayi hai
Empty handed has the evening come, empty handed it will depart.
Empty handed has the evening come.
Today too, none has come, hence, emptiness will return.
Empty handed has the evening come, empty handed it will depart.
Empty handed has the evening come.
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11 thoughts on “Khaali Haath Shaam Aayi Hai

  1. Dear K,
    Definitely! I think your version is better, though the metre might be affected. Will change it accordingly. And someone claimed they don't get poetry!! 😉

  2. Wow..what a translation!!..It became a poetry of its own..

    Beautiful song, beautiful lyrics and beautiful translation!

  3. Your translation is commendable. Inspired me to try and “transcreate” a bit of it, with a lot of liberties! 🙂

    Once again the night is here
    Empty-handed,
    Once more it shall return alone
    My muse eludes me once again,
    Tonight too my love shall moan.

    Once again my tears do not well up
    My eyes are moist no more,
    Once again the long, blank night
    To the void it shall return for sure.

    The stain on these long dark nights
    Her presence could softly erase,
    For the darkness shall return tomorrow
    And show me no love nor grace.

    Once again the night is here
    Empty-handed,
    Once more it shall return alone
    My muse eludes me once again,
    Tonight too my love shall moan.

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