Poetry in Translation: Anju Makhija's translation of 18th century Sindhi Sufi poet Sachal Sarmast is pure delight

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Poetry in Translation: Anju Makhija's translation of 18th century Sindhi Sufi poet Sachal Sarmast is pure delight

Selected translations from the Sindhi into English by Anju Makhija and Ram Daryani

Sachal Sarmast was a Sindhi, Sufi poet born in 1739 AD.  He wrote in Sindhi, Urdu, and Persian. The source text used is 'Selections from the Writing of Sachal Sarmast', compiled and edited by K.B. Advani (Sahitya Akademi, 1970)


out of
the mosque
in the tavern
beauty engulfs us

from sin
from virtue
sachal embraces the truth

kaaba and qibla
merely deceive

brave ones
go to the maikhana

truth is in mastana
says satguru

mulla sahib
leave your books behind

come taste this wine
become a mast mawali

o qazi
forgo your tiring efforts

o sahib
forgo your conniving ways

become a connoisseur of wine
love liberates

o saaqi

serve me the last cup

pour me a sip
as sweet as love

I retreat to myself

o saqi
serve me the last cup

remind me
always of separation

how can a mortal
remain away from his beloved

o taalib
rituals are external
I seek pure existence

has given me
a mature taste

in my hand
is a clean slate
I write my destiny

hasti vanishes
when one finds masti
says sachal


Hasti: Ego

Maikhana: Tavern

Mastaana: Drunk on spirituality

Masti: Intoxication

Saqi: One who serves wine

Taalib: Seeker

Kaaba: A place of pilgrimage in Mecca

Qibla: Direction faced during namaz

Qazi: Priest


Anju Makhija is an award-winning poet, translator, and playwright. She has written three poetry collections: View from the Web, Pickling Season, and Poems Grow With You; co-translated two volumes incl. Seeking the Beloved: the Poetry of Shah Abdul Latif; co-edited four literary anthologies, most recently, To Catch a Poem. Anju has won several awards: The Sahitya Akademi English Translation Prize (’11); The All India Poetry Competition (’94); the BBC World Regional Poetry Prize (‘02). She is also the recipient of the Charles Wallace Trust Award and has been on the English Advisory Board of Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, for 5 years

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