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Translations From Khowar
“Khosh Bigim”— A love Song

shams ud din chitral

Khosh Bigim is one of the masterpiece folksongs of Chitral. Its composition dates back to 1880s by Ali Aman Khan, son of Ali Mardan Khan. The family was chieftain of a local principality in the Badakhshan province of Afghanistan, who, because of internal strife and external intrigues, migrated to the Yasin valley of the present day Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). Later Ali Mardan Khan was made Governor of Ishkoman by the British. As Ashkoman was mostly populated by Khowar Speaking settlers, the family developed a taste for Khow culture and literature. The other brother, Sher Azam Khan, came over to stay in Mulkhow, Chitral. His son Gul Azam Khan—commonly known as ‘phoroliko zhaw’—also composed masterpiece in the history of Khowar folksongs.
But Aman’s was altogether a different story. He lost his heart to Khosh Bigim, a lady from the Ghizer valley through which he frequently traveled to and from Chitral after visiting his uncle and cousin. Below is the English translation of ‘Khosh Bigim’ for those interested in Khowar folk songs. .. (Shamsud Din)

Lo and behold! Khosh Begum, the daughter of Ghizer!
The pleasant aroma of whose presence replete the vale!
What a merciless mundane affair is living without you! I quit luxuries:
Clad in rag and roamed with begging bowl around my neck, all for you;
The desire to glimpse Khush Begum is aflame,
But I trade it off for a dreamful rendezvous;
As none spare poor Aman to get away with that luck,
And Lo! The rival approached with dagger in hand!
Ah! Khush Begum disregarded me in the company of friend
I’m like a thirsty soul with an empty glass in hand;
See, my soulful love pampered you, you accepted other’s garland,
Do earnestly live up to pledges, even if it’s for others, I’ll felicitate;
Even if you get adorned for others to look at, I accept,
Should you not urge your devotee to leave the courtyard;
Render me enchained to other so they’ll kill,
If it’s below dignity doing with own hands;
Life without Khush Begum is like a glass without wine;
Alas! Life utterly shattered as she’s not mine;
Confound this world! It only upholds lovers’ sufferings,
Doesn’t matter since rivals, too, have nothing to gain;
Rumor that Aman’s killed at Ghizer is rife; come on!
He is long death ever since denounced by Khush Begum;
If his death is what intended, get him revived to begin with;
By the sniff of Khush Begum’s scented curly tress;
My Mehtar (ruler) his minor age notwithstanding;
Has great sagacity and acknowledges my plight;
I never give in to riches equal to the Kabul ruler;
As I never feel contented short of acquiring her;
No matter even if I don’t have the ruler’s fillip;
I, now, pin hopes on doomsday for her return.
Oh people! Do stop searching for Aman, he’s in meditation;
With spirit circling her like a moth around the lamp.



'Khosh Bigim' Sung by A young Artist .

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