Persian

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Persian (local name: Fĝrsī or Pĝrsī/Punjabi: ਫਾਰਸੀ) is an Indo-European language spoken in Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and by minorities in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Southern Russia, neighboring countries, and elsewhere. It is derived from the language of the ancient Persian people. It is part of the Iranian branch of the Indo-Iranian language family. Persian is one of the many languages used by the Sikh Gurus, that is included in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, and in the Sri Dasam Granth. It is said that Guru Nanak Dev Ji learnt Persian at an early age from madrassas. Many of the Gurus including Guru Gobind Singh Ji used Persian in their writings. Other significant writings for Sikhs in Persian include the writings of Bhai Nand Lal, a court poet of Guru Gobind Singh, and historical sources by non-Sikhs including Qazi Noor Mohammad's eyewitness account of the invasions of Punjab by the Afghan king Ahmed Shah Abdali.

In the Guru Granth Sahib

The Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh scripture also contains shabads with Persian vocabulary and/or Persian influence. Many of the shabads in Raag Tilang have Persian influence. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, in Raag Tilang writes: This Shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev Ji in Raag Tilang on Pannaa 721 of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib

ਰਾਗ੝ ਤਿਲੰਗ ਮਹਲਾ੧ ਘਰ੝ ੧

raag thila(n)g mehalaa 1 ghar 1

Raag Tilang, First Mehla, First House:

ੴ ਸਤਿ ਨਾਮ੝ ਕਰਤਾ ਪ੝ਰਖ੝ ਨਿਰਭਉ ਨਿਰਵੈਰ੝ ਅਕਾਲ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਅਜੂਨੀ ਸੈਭੰ ਗ੝ਰ ਪ੝ਰਸਾਦਿ ॥

ik oa(n)kaar sath naam karathaa purakh nirabho niravair akaal moorath ajoonee saibha(n) gur prasaadh

One Universal Creator God. Truth Is The Name. Creative Being Personified. No Fear. No Hatred. Image Of The Undying. Beyond Birth. Self-Existent. By Guru's Grace:


ਯਕ ਅਰਜ ਗ੝ਫਤਮ ਪੇਸਿ ਤੋ ਦਰ ਗੋਸ ਕ੝ਨ ਕਰਤਾਰ ॥

yak araj gufatham paes tho dhar gos kun karathaar

I offer this one prayer to You; please listen to it, O Creator Lord.

ਹਕਾ ਕਬੀਰ ਕਰੀਮ ਤੂ ਬੇਝਬ ਪਰਵਦਗਾਰ ॥੧॥

hakaa kabeer kareem thoo baeaib paravadhagaar

You are true, great, merciful and spotless, O Cherisher Lord.


ਦ੝ਨੀਆ ਮ੝ਕਾਮੇ ਫਾਨੀ ਤਹਕੀਕ ਦਿਲ ਦਾਨੀ ॥

dhuneeaa mukaamae faanee thehakeek dhil dhaanee

The world is a transitory place of mortality - know this for certain in your mind.

ਮਮ ਸਰ ਮੂਇ ਅਜਰਾਈਲ ਗਿਰਫਤਹ ਦਿਲ ਹੇਚਿ ਨ ਦਾਨੀ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥

mam sar mooe ajaraaeel girafatheh dhil haech n dhaanee rehaao

Azraa-eel, the Messenger of Death, has caught me by the hair on my head, and yet, I do not know it at all in my mind. Pause


ਜਨ ਪਿਸਰ ਪਦਰ ਬਿਰਾਦਰਾਂ ਕਸ ਨੇਸ ਦਸਤੰਗੀਰ ॥

jan pisar padhar biraadharaa(n) kas naes dhasatha(n)geer Spouse, children, parents and siblings - none of them will be there to hold your hand.


ਆਖਿਰ ਬਿਅਫਤਮ ਕਸ ਨ ਦਾਰਦ ਚੂੰ ਸਵਦ ਤਕਬੀਰ ॥੨॥

aakhir biafatham kas n dhaaradh choo(n) savadh thakabeer And when at last I fall, and the time of my last prayer has come, there shall be no one to rescue me.

ਸਬ ਰੋਜ ਗਸਤਮ ਦਰ ਹਵਾ ਕਰਦੇਮ ਬਦੀ ਖਿਆਲ ॥

sab roj gasatham dhar havaa karadhaem badhee khiaal Night and day, I wandered around in greed, contemplating evil schemes.


ਗਾਹੇ ਨ ਨੇਕੀ ਕਾਰ ਕਰਦਮ ਮਮ ੲ​”ਂ​”ੀ ਚਿਨੀ ਅਹਵਾਲ ॥੩॥

gaahae n naekee kaar karadham mam ea(n)aee chinee ahavaal I never did good deeds; this is my condition.

ਬਦਬਖਤ ਹਮ ਚ੝ ਬਖੀਲ ਗਾਫਿਲ ਬੇਨਜਰ ਬੇਬਾਕ ॥

badhabakhath ham ch bakheel gaafil baenajar baebaak

I am unfortunate, miserly, negligent, shameless and without the Fear of God.

ਨਾਨਕ ਬ੝ਗੋਯਦ ਜਨ੝ ਤ੝ਰਾ ਤੇਰੇ ਚਾਕਰਾਂ ਪਾ ਖਾਕ ॥੪॥੧॥

naanak bugoyadh jan thuraa thaerae chaakaraa(n) paa khaak

Says Nanak, I am Your humble servant, the dust of the feet of Your slaves.

Guru Nanak Dev

Persian Language In Zafarnama

Zafarnama in Persian By Guru Gobind Singh. "When all other means have failed, it is but righteous to draw the sword."

This is one of many languages used by Guru Gobind Singh in the Sikh Scriptures call Dasam Granth. The famous Zafarnama, the "letter of victory" written by the Guru in 1705-1706 was written to Emperor Aurangzeb in this language. It was also the language of choice for Bhai Nand Lal ji and many other Sikh writers in the times of the tenth Gurus.

Persian has been a medium for extensive literary and scientific contributions to the Western world as well as the Islamic nations. It has had an enormous influence on certain neighbouring languages, particularly the Turkic languages of Central Asia, Caucasus, and Anatolia and the Indo-Aryan languages of Punjab. It has had a lesser influence on Arabic and other languages of Mesopotamia.

For five centuries prior to the British colonization of south Asia, Persian was widely used as a second language in the Indian subcontinent; it took prominence as the language of culture and education in several Muslim courts in the subcontinent and became the "official language" under the Mughal emperors. Only in 1843 did the British force the subcontinent to begin conducting business in English instead of the traditional Persian.[1] Evidence of its former rank in the region can still be seen by the extent of its influence on Urdu, Hindi, Bengali, and Sindhi language, as well as the popularity that Persian literature still enjoys in the region.

Persian and its dialects have official-language status in Iran, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. According to CIA World Factbook, based on old data, there are 71 million native speakers of Persian in Iran [1], Afghanistan [2], Tajikistan [3] and Uzbekistan [4] and there are about the same number of other people who can speak Persian throughout the world. It belongs to the Indo-European language family, and is of the Subject Object Verb type. UNESCO was asked to select Persian as one of its languages in 2006.[5]


Guruji used very simple Persian while writing the Zafarnama. It is not possible for any one to give exact pronunciation of the Persian words in English or in Gurmukhi scripts but I have tried to be as close (especially in Gurmukhi script) as possible to the original Persian. The reader will notice that many words have been used by Guruji, which differ only marginally from each other. This is because the Persian words, especially verbs, can be changed to their present, past, singular, and plural forms by slight modification to their basic form. Just to give a few examples: (a)"aamdan" or "E`mdn" and (b) "khordan" or "<Ordn" are the basic verbs meaning, "to come" and " to eat/to drink" respectively (these words have been used quite frequently in Zafarnama). Their present and past stems are "aa-E` " and "aamad-E`md" respectively for (a) and "khor-<Or" and "khord-<Ord" respectively for (b). These undergo changes as per the following ( use of personal pronouns can be dispensed with when these forms are used):

For "aamdan - a;mdn" to come(present tense from present stem "aa-E`") (past tense from past stem"aamad-E`md") aayam or a;ym I come aamdam or a;mdm I came aa-ee or a;XI You come (singular) aamdi or a;mdI You came aayad or a;yd He comes aamad or a;md He came aayeem or a;yIm We come aamdeem or a;mdIm We came aayeed or a;yId You come (plural) aamdeed or a;;mdId You came aayand or a;yMd They come aamdand or a;mdMd They came

For "khordan - <Ordn " (to eat/drink)

(Present tense from present stem "khor-<Or") (Past tense from past stem"khord-<Ord") khoram or <Orm I eat/drink khordam or <Ord I ate/drank khori or <OrI You eat/drink (singular) khordi or <OrdI You ate/drank khoradd or <Ord He eats/drinks khord or <Ord He ate/drank khoreem or <OrIm We eat/drink khordeem or <OrdIm We ate/drank khoreed or <OrId You eat/drink (plural) khordeed or <OrdId You ate/drank khorand or <OrMd They eat/drink khordand or <OrdMd They ate/drank


Other changes in the verbs are brought about by adding suffix to these roots. For example when "ni-nI" is added to the root ( present or past ), it conveys the meaning of "no, not"; "niaayam-nIa;ym" means "I ( will ) not come" and "nikhordam-nI<Ordm" means " I did not eat". If "b-b" is prefixed to the present stem only, it changes the verb to imperative form. For example "bkhor-b<Or" is an order "eat"; and "biaa-bIa;" is an instruction to a person "come here". For negative commands "m-m" or "n-n" is prefixed to the present root. "mkun/nkun-makun/nakun" conveys "do'nt do". There are many other variations of these verbs and other words. To understand all these one has to learnPersian language. However, for ease of understanding, Individual meanings of the Persian words have been explained immediately after each verse in English.

Bhai Nand Lal - The Sikh Persian Poet

Main article: Bhai Nand Lal

Bhai Nand Lal (c. 1633-1713), was a poet famous in the Sikh tradition and favourite disciple of Guru Gobind Singh. His poetry, all in Persian except for Joti Bikas, which is in Punjabi, forms part of the approved Sikh canon and can be recited along with scriptural verse at Sikh religious divans. Nand Lal adopted the pen-name of "Goya," though at places he has also subscribed himself as "Lal," the word being the last part of his name. He was a scholar, learned in the traditional disciplines of the time, and his image in Sikh history is that of a man who loved and venerated Guru Gobind Singh and has been in turn loved and venerated by generations of Sikhs.

Non-Sikh Sources of Sikh History

Main article: Sikhs - Noor Mohammad

The "Jangnama", often touted as an eye-witness account of Ahmad Shah Durrani's invasion of the Panjab in 1764, is a personal account of the invasion as penned by Noor Mohammad a resident of Ganjuba in Baluchistan who had once been the Qazi of Ganjuba, a post which he had inherited from his father Abdullah Hilwar. The "Jangnama is essentially the only extensive account of the invasion. Noor Mohammad had pretentions to living his live as a a man of learning, he was a scholar of Persian and a learned poet. His fame as a man of letters led to the ruler of the city of Kalat, Mir Abdullah Khan asking him to consider compiling a book of poetry extolling his achievements. This venture, however, had to be abandoned, most likely because of the death of Khan.

See Also