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
[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.
LISTEN TO NAQSH FARIYADI (TALAT MEHMOOD)