Ghalib again

Posting Ghalib after quite sometime today. It is a quite well known ghazal, and represents a state of mind which I relate to quite often. Especially after meeting a few people. 🙂

बाज़ीचा-ए-अतफ़ाल है दुनिया मेरे आगे,
होता है शब-ओ-रोज़ तमाशा मेरे आगे।

[बाज़ीचा-ए-अतफ़ाल == child’s play] [शब-ओ-रोज़ == day and night]

होता है निहाँ गर्द मे सहरा मेरे होते,
घिसता है ज़बीं ख़ाक पे दरिया मेरे आगे।

[निहाँ == indistinguishable] [गर्द == sand] [सहरा == the desert ] [The line means, that I seem to be living for so long that the sand of the desert is getting created in front of me]
[ज़बीं == forhead] [ख़ाक == soil] [Again, the line signifies that I seem to have been alive to see the river erode the soil in front of me]

मत पूछ कि क्या हाल है मेरा तेरे पीछे,
तू देख कि क्या रंग है तेरा मेरे आगे।

ईमाँ मुझे रोके है, जो खींचे है मुझे कुफ़्र,
क़ाबा मेरे पीछे है, क़लीसा मेरे आगे।
[ईमाँ == integrity, truthfulness, religion] [कुफ़्र == irreligiousness, lure of the material gains] [क़ाबा == kaaba] [क़लीसा == technically is a Church, but used here to signify place where कुफ़्र happens]

गो हाथ को ज़ुंबिश नही, आँखों मे तो दम है,
रहने दो अभी सागर-ओ-मीना मेरे आगे।
[ज़ुंबिश == motion, energy] [सागर-ओ-मीना == the glass of wine]

Many Indian and Pakistani singers have beautiful renditions of the gazal. One of the more famous ones is by Jagjit Singh from the serial Mirza Ghalib. Here’s the clip on youtube:

Koi surat nazar nahi aatee

Back again to Ghalib, one of his saddest creations:

कोई उम्मीद बर नहीं आती
कोई सूरत नज़र नहीं आती

मौत का एक दिन मु’अय्याँ है
नींद क्यों रात भर नहीं आती

आगे आती थी हाल-ए-दिल पे हँसी
अब किसी बात पर नहीं आती

जानता हूँ सवाब-ए-ता’अत-ओ-ज़हद
पर तबीयत इधर नहीं आती

है कुछ ऐसी ही बात जो चुप हूँ
वर्ना क्या बात कर नहीं आती

क्यों न चीखूँ कि याद करते हैं
मेरी आवाज़ गर नहीं आती

दाग़-ए-दिलगर नज़र नहीं आता
बू भी ऐ चारागर नहीं आती

हम वहाँ हैं जहाँ से हम को भी
कुछ हमारी खबर नहीं आती

मरते हैं आरज़ू में मरने की
मौत आती है पर नहीं आती

काबा किस मूँह से जाओगे ‘गालिब’
शर्म तुमको मगर नहींआती

God and Shairi

An incident in Ghalib’s life that I heard recently:

A friend, who used to hate Ghalib’s sad gazals, once asks Ghalib: “do you believe in god”. He quite simply says “yes”. The friend feels victorious and quickly fires his “victorious” question: “Then, how come he doesn’t listen to your prayers. You write so many sad gazals.” To which Ghalib smiles and replies:

“Allah shairi nahi samajhatein honge”.


Its impossible for Jagjit Singh fans to forget this legendary gazal by Ghalib:

aah ko chaahiye ik umra asar hone tak,
kaun jeetaa hai teri zulf ke sar hone tak.

[sar hona == sulazhana in hindi]

I was just now listening to another rendition of the same gazal by Surriya (recorded sometime in early 50s). It’s really touching. The voice somehow perfectly expresses the feeling carried in the words. And to keep the impact alive throughout the song, only a few shers from the gazal are taken. The order of the shers is also altered. It starts with:

humne mana ki tagaful na karoge lekin,
khaak ho jaayegne hum tumko khabar hone tak.

[tagaful == neglect] [khaak == ashes]

All this has resulted in a real masterpiece. A must have for all Ghalib fans.

shabnam …

partav-e-khur se hai shabnam ko fanaa ki taaleem
maiN bhee hooN ik inaayat ki nazar hone tak

[partav-e-khur = sun’s reflection, shabnam = dew, fanaa = mortality, inaayat = favour ]

GHam-e-hastee ka Asad kis-se ho juz-marg ilaaz
shammaa har rang meiN jaltee hai sahar hone tak

[ hastee = life/existence, juz-marg = till death, sahar = morning ]

(By Ghalib)
(Image – a window pane in my (ex-)office on a winter morning)

(The header image of the zarquon blog is taken from this image)