Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi

hazaaro.n Khvaahishe.n aisii ki har Khvaaish pe dam nikale
bahut nikale mere armaa.N lekin phir bhii kam nikale

[khwaish: desire]

हज़ारों ख्वाहिशें ऐसी के हर ख्वाहिश पे दम निकले
बहुत निकले मेरे अरमान लेकिन फिर भी कम निकले।

I have a thousand desires, all desires worth dying for
Though many of my desires were fulfilled, majority remained unfulfilled.

This is another philosophical sher of Ghalib. Here he talks about human desires which define human existence. Life is all about desires. While some of these desires do get fulfilled, others don’t. With the passage of time new desires keep getting added in this long list of desires. So even if many of a man’s desires are fulfilled, he is never satisfied, for many still remain unfulfilled.

Dare kyuu.N meraa qaatil kyaa rahegaa usakii gardan par
vo Khuu.N jo chashm-e-tar se umr bhar yuu.N dam-ba-dam nikale
[chashm-e-tar: wet eyes; dam-ba-dam: continuously]

डरे क्यों मेरा कातिल, क्या रहेगा उसकी गर्दन पर
वो खून, जो चस्म-ए-तर से उम्र भर यूं दम-बा-दम निकले।

Why should my murderer/killer be afraid for what will remain on her neck?
This blood that has flowed continuously from my wet eyes throughout life.

Ghalib asks his slayer (his beloved), why she fears slaying him? No blood will remain on her neck (hand), even if she slays him for he has no blood left in him. All his blood has flown continuously through his eyes all his life. So she need not fear any legal or moral compunction in killing him. She will not be punished for slaying him.

nikalanaa Khuld se aadam kaa sunate aaye hai.n lekin
bahut be-aabaruu hokar tere kuuche se ham nikale
[Khuld: paradise; be-aabaruu: disgrace; kuuchaa: street]

निकलना खुल्द से आदम का सुनते आए थे लेकिन
बहुत बे-आबरू होकर तेरे कुचे से हम निकले।

We had heard of Adam’s expulsion from Paradise
With great disgrace I came out of your street.

This ‘sher’ though one of Ghalib’s of-quoted ones has been subject to various interpretations by scholars. While the apparent meaning is pretty clear, some of the different interpretations are like, (a) while the fate of Adam was long in the past, I suffer this disgrace now (b) people have heard about Adam’s case and so sympathize with his suffering, I have suffered no less. Hali (Ghalib’s student) says that the addition of the word ‘bahut’ implied that his disgrace was far greater than Adam’s. Take your pick…

huii is daur me.n ma.nsuub mujhase baadaa-ashaamii
phir aayaa vo zamaana jo jahaa.N se jaam-e-jam nikale
[daur: era, ma.nsuub: association, baada-aashaami: wine drinking]
[jam-e-jam: goblet of King Jamshed]

हुई इस दौर में मनसूब मुझसे बाद:असामी
फिर आया वह ज़माना जो जहाँ में जाम-ए-जम निकले।

In this era wine drinking has become associated with me
The time has come for the Goblet of King Jamshed to re-appear in this world.

Ghalib says that in this era wine drinking has become synonymous with his name. So the time for King Jamshed’s goblet to reappear has come. It is believed that King Jamshed was the discoverer of wine and goblet. Here he compares his prowess of drinking to King Jamshed.

huii jinase tavaqqo Khastagii kii daad paane kii
vo hamase bhii ziyaadaa Khastaa-e-teG-e-sitam nikale
[tavaqqo:expectation; Khastagii:injury, daad: appreciation]
[Khasta: broken/sick/injured, teg-e-sitam: sword of cruelty]

हुई जिनसे तवाक्को खस्तगी की दाद पाने की
वो हमसे भी ज्यादा खास्त:-ए-तेग-ए-सितम निकले

From those whom I expected appreciation of my wounds
They turned out to be even more wounded by the swords of tyranny.

Another of Ghalib’s sher subject to multiple interpretations and also according to us, philosophical. Here he says that how could he expect any appreciation of his sufferings, when others suffer more than him. In this world everyone seeks understanding of their own problems but fail to realize that others have problems too and that their problems may be of a far greater magnitude than ours. Some writers have interpreted it as Ghalib’s lament as to how his beloved could appreciate his wounded feelings when her own feelings had been wounded by someone else i.e. her love for the other person had not been reciprocated.

muhabbat me.n nahii.n hai farq jiine aur marane kaa
usii ko dekh kar jiite hai.n jis kaafir pe dam nikale
[dam nikalna: to die]

मुहब्बत में नहीं है फर्क जीने और मरने का
उसी को देख कर जीते हैं, जिस काफिर पे दम निकले।

In love there is no difference between life and death
I live to see her, the one, over who I die.

In love, the boundary between life and death is erased. One thinks of the lover all the time, lives in the hope of seeing her, and is ready to lay down his life for her. Well, slightly run of the mill stuff from Ghalib, this one.

Kahaa.N maiKhaane ka daravaazaa 'Ghalib' aur kahaa.N vaaiz
par itanaa jaanate hai.n kal vo jaataa thaa ke ham nikale
[maikana: bar, vaaiz: preacher]

कहाँ मैखाने का दरवाज़ा 'ग़ालिब' और कहाँ वाइज़
पर इतना जानते हैं, कल वह जाता था के हम निकले।

Where the door to the bar, where Ghalib and where the preacher (how can you compare them)
But I know this much, yesterday, when he was going, I was coming out.

The preacher calls wine drinking all bad and goads people against it. But I guess he too has his ‘pegs’. So despite all his teachings of abstinence, he too drinks (implying that addiction to wine is universal and that drinking comes naturally to people). Now, what we like about this sher is its tongue in cheek approach. He does not directly accuse the preacher of drinking, but says yesterday he saw him ‘passing by’ the bar and so was surprised. The rest he leaves to the imagination of the reader.



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C.H. Atma sings Hazaon Khawhisen

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Jirahat tohfa.H

jirahat tohfa.H, almas armughan, daag-e-jigar hadiya.H
mubarakbad Asad, ghamkhwar-e-jaan-e-dardmand aaya.

[jirahat: wound, almas: diamond, armughan: souvenior/gift, daag-e-jigar: scars of liver, hadiya.H; offering]
[jaan-e-dardmand: sympathetic beloved]

जराहत तोहफा, अल्मास अर्मुघा, दाग-ए-जिगर हदिया
मुबारकबाद असद, गम ख्वार-ए-जाने दर्द मंद आया

The offerings of wounds, scars of liver and a diamond,
Congratulations Asad, your sympathetic beloved has arrived.

This is another sher having multiple interpretations. “Ghamkhwar-e-jaane dardmand” may refer to a friend who acts as a messenger, taking Ghalib’s message of love to his beloved. In response, Ghalib gets wounds, scars of liver/heart and a diamond from her. This diamond is either meant to be swallowed, thus lacerating his heart and jigar, or be powdered and applied to his wounds causing him great pain. Some others have interpreted “Ghamkhwar-e-jaane-dardmand” as a sarcastic reference to the beloved herself by Ghalib, who brought him these gifts.

Naqsh Fariyadi

naqsh fariyaadii hai kis kii shoKhii-e-tahariir kaa
kaaGazii hai pairahan har paikar-e-tasviir kaa

[naqsh:copy/print, fariyaad: complaint, tahariir: writing]
[kaaGazii: delicate, pairahan: dress, paikar: appearance]

नक्श फरियादी है किसकी शोखी-ए-तहरीर का
कागजी है पैराहन हर पैकर-ए-तस्वीर का।

Against whose playful writings do the words complain?
Every face here wears the attire made of paper.

This is the first sher of Diwan-e-Ghalib, and we believe most controversial, in the sense of its interpretation by various scholars. While some scholars believe that it is a sher worth its weight in gold, others call it meaningless. Our understanding is that this is not a meaningless sher, but a contrived one. Ghalib is subject to varied interpretations and he prided himself on saying difficult shers.
In this sher Ghalib complains about the existence of mankind to the Creator. ‘Naqsh’ represents mankind, which complains to the creator represented here by the ‘Tahrir’ of which it is a part. O God!, why did you create me in your playfulness? The second line elaborates this complaint by saying, “Kagazi hai pairahan har paikar-e-tasveer ka”. In ancient Persia, there was this tradition of wearing paper attire whenever any complainant went to the Sultan for the redressal of his grievance. So Ghalib laments that all existence is nothing but a complaint.

kaave-kaave saKht_jaanii haaye tanhaaii na puuchh
subah karanaa shaam kaa laanaa hai juu-e-shiir kaa
[kaave-kaave: hard work, saKht-jaanii: tough life]
[juu-e-shiir: to create a canal of milk, here means to perform an impossible task]

काव: काव: शक्त जानी हाय तन्हाई न पूछ

सुबह करना शाम का लाना है जुए-ए शीर का।

Don' t ask me the tough life that I bear in this lonliness.
Turning night into day is like digging a stream of milk through the mountains.

In this sher Ghalib compares himself to ‘Farhad’ the legendary lover, who was asked to dig the mountains so that he could draw a channel of milk. Ghalib says that the loneliness felt by him in the absence of his beloved is no less than the pain felt by Farhad. Spending the day without his beloved is as painful as the effort put in by Farhad to get is ‘ju-e-shir'.

jazbaa-e-be-iKhtiyaar-e-shauq dekhaa chaahiye
siinaa-e-shamshiir se baahar hai dam shamshiir kaa
[iKhtiyaar: authority/power]
[shamshiir: sword ]

जज्बा-ए-बेईक्तियार-ए-शौक़ देखा चाहिऐ

सीना-ए-शमशीर से बाहर है दम शमशीर का।

You must see the uncontrollable desire taking over me.
The edge of the sword unfurls from its seath.

My desire to sacrifice myself at the altar of my ‘shauq’ is so great, that even executioner i.e the sword is moved. It has come out of its sheath to grant me my wish.

aagahii daam-e-shuniidan jis qadar chaahe bichhaaye
muddaa anqaa hai apane aalam-e-taqariir kaa
[aagahii: knowledge/intution, daam: net/trap, shuniid=to hear]
[anqaa: Unicorn, aalam: world/universe, taqriir: speech/discourse ]

आगाही दाम-ए-शुनिदन जिस कदर चाहे बिछाए

मुद्दा अनका है अपने आलम-ए-तक़रीर का।

No matter how much intellect spreads its nets of hearing
My expressions shall always be beyond comprehension.

Ghalib was accused during his times of saying shers difficult for people to understand. Those who have seen Gulzar’s serial on Mirza Ghalib would remember the first mushaira at the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar where he was invited for a recitation. He recites this very Ghazal, and gets no ‘daad’ because no one could comprehend his ‘shers’. Ghalib never refuted this charge, instead took pride in saying difficult shers. Remember his quote;

“Na satais.H ki tamanna, na sile ki parwaH,
Gar nahin hein mere ashar mein mane, na sahi”.

In this sher, he goes a step further and adds that his shers are beyond the comprehension of ordinary mortals. He says, how so ever hard your intellect seeks to understand my writings; they will always be beyond your comprehension, for it is like a Unicorn (a bird which does not exist). We guess it was a snide comment by Ghalib on the intellectual capabilities of his contemporary ‘shouras’.

bas ke huu.N 'Ghalib' asiirii me.n bhii aatish zar-e-pa
muu-e-aatish_diidaa hai halqaa merii za.njiir kaa
[asiirii: imprisonment/captivity, zar-e-pa=under the feet]
[muu: hair, aatish-diidaa: roasted on fire, halqaa: ring/circle]

बस के हूँ ग़ालिब असीरी में भी आतिश जार-ए-पा

मू-ए-आतिश दीदा है हल्का मेरी ज़ंजीर का।

Even in captivity, there is fire underneath my feet, 'Ghalib'
The chains that bind me are merely rings of roasted hair.

Here Ghalib talks about his being free from all chains/bondages. He says nothing can enchain him. Even in captivity, he remains free, for his impatience and passion burnn like a smoldering fire converting his chains to half burned hairs. Ghalib becomes philosophical here and says even while he exists in this world, his passion for sacrifice makes him free from all bondages.


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