Translating Oxymoron or Paradox to Urdu
Oxymoron is defined in dictionaries as
a rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined,
as in a deafening silence and a mournful optimist. J. A. Cuddon in his
monumental work on Literary Theory describes oxymoron as an old but common
1. "I like a smuggler. He is the only honest thief' (Charles Lamb)
2. A famous example occurs in Romeo and Juliet when Juliet jests about love.
'Here is much to do with hate, but more with love.
Why then, O bawling love! O bawling hate!
O anything! of nothing first create!
O heavy lightness! serious vanity!
Mis-shapen chaos and well seeming forms.'
3. Another example is Milton's description
of hell in Paradise Lost.
4. Most famous instance of sustained oxymoron is said to be Sir Thomas Wyatt's version of Petrach's 134th sonnet.
'I find no peace, and all my war is done
Various such examples are found in Urdu literature. Ghalib appears to be the greatest exponent of oxymoronic as well as paradoxical style. Iqbal is another great poet in whose poetry we find various such examples. The question is what would be the most appropriate translation of Oxymoron and Paradox.
Whereas Paradox is a seemingly contradictory statement that may nonetheless be true e.g. the paradox that standing is more tiring than walking; oxymoron is a rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in a deafening silence and a mournful optimist. Iqbal in his poem Ashique Harjai says:
"Hai ajab majmooa azdad aiy Iqbal tu.
It is possible that the actual meaning
may be obscured in translation, here the words majmoa azdad sound more
like oxymoron rather than a bundle of contradictions. The word 'contradiction'
is confused with inconsistency and discrepancy of idea/s and most people
take it as shortcoming. But coming up with meaningful oxymoron or paradox
requires creativity and ingenuity!
|Few more examples from Iqbal's
poetry would help in understanding the difference between oxymoron and
a bundle of contradiction.
1. Ilaje dard mein dard ki lazzat pay marta
2. hai haseenon mein wafa na-ashna tera