Sunday, May 27, 2012

Book Review: Persian Idioms and Adages

Book Name: Farsi Zarb-ul-amsaal aur Khawatain
Compiler: Muzzamil Ahmed
Publisher: Ferozsons
Pages: 240
Price: 100 rupees 

Idioms and adages summarize the collective human conciousness of a culture, nation, cult or a race. Idioms hide behind themselves a history of events. Sometimes they signify accidents. Sometimes, regional adages hold a treasure chest of wisdom in a precise sentence.

In earlier times idioms lived on through oral transmission from one generation to another. Even stories used to be transmitted through this medium. Two pertinent examples are The Adventures of Ameer Hamza and The 1001 Arabian Nights. Both of these books were regional oral traditions, but over generations they have become bed-time stories for children and past-time stories for teenagers and adults. 

Even Prophet Solomon (peace be upon him) compiled a book called the 'Book of Wisdom' which is now a part of the Bible. The book contain a large collections of Adages for the human race.

Thinking on this thought, Muzzamil Ahmed has done an excellent job in compiling approx. 1,500 Persian idioms with urdu translations in a book form. The purpose of this book, as Muzzamil states, is to allow the common reader to understand Persian idioms which have become common in our daily life. 

I found that most of the idioms were masculine in nature. This signifies the fact that most of these sayings developed in a patriarchal society. Women had a very small role to play in this society. The word Mard (Man) is frequent in many proverbs.

Secondly, religion had a very important role in traditional societies. Words such as Yazdaa (God), Allah (God),  Daroog (vice), NAik (virtue), Yousuf (Prophet John (peace be upon him)), Mosa (Prophet Moses (peace be upon him)), et cetera are scattered all over the book.

Here are some idioms from the book:

Transliteration: Bar Zaban Tasbhi wa dar dil ghoo khar
Translation: God's name on the tongue, while the heart filled with thoughts of cow and donkey

Transliteration: Dar Hamaa Kar Mashwaray Bayad
Translation: Taking Advice is  necessary in every work

Transliteration: Ta kaay Ahmaq baqi ast andar Jahaa'n
Mard-e-Aqel  kay Shayad Motaj-e-Noon
Translation: Until the fool is alive, the clever will never sleep hungry

Transliteration: Zay Sad teer Ayad yakay bar Neshaan
Translation: A single arrow from a hundred hits the target

Transliteration: Saiyaad na har baar shikaar baburo
Translation: A hunter doesn't always find a prey

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