haath meN talvaar bhi nahiN – mirza Ghalib

For word meanings and explanatory discussion in English click on the “Roman” or “Notes” tab.

ہاتھ میں تلوار بھی نہیں ۔ مرزا غالبؔ

۱

دیوانگی سے دوش پہ زنّار بھی نہیں
یعنی ہمارے جیب میں اک تار بھی نہیں

۲

دل کو نیازِ حسرتِ دیدار کر چکے
دیکھا تو ہم میں طاقتِ دیدار بھی نہیں

۳

ملنا ترا اگر نہیں آساں تو سہل ہے
دشوار تو یہی ہے کہ دشوار بھی نہیں

۴

بے عشق عمر کٹ نہیں سکتی ہے اور یاں
طاقت بہ قدرِ لذّتِ آزار بھی نہیں

۵

شوریدگی کے ہاتھ سے ہے سر وبالِ دوش
صحرا میں اے خدا کوئی دیوار بھی نہیں

۶

گنجائشِ عداوتِ اغیار یک طرف
یاں دل میں ضعف سے ہوسِ یار بھی نہیں

۷

ڈر نالہ ہائے زار سے میرے خدا کو مان
آخر نوائے مرغ گرفتار بھی نہیں

۸

دل میں ہے یار کی صفِ مژگاں سے رو کشی
حالانکہ طاقتِ خلشِ خار بھی نہیں

۹

اس سادگی پہ کون نہ مر جائے اے خدا
لڑتے ہیں اور ہاتھ میں تلوار بھی نہیں

۱۰

دیکھا اسدؔ کو خلوت و جلوت میں بار ہا
دیوانہ گر نہیں ہے تو ہشیار بھی نہیں

हाथ में तलवार भी नहीं – मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

दीवानगी से दोश पे ज़ुन्नार भी नहीं
यानी हमारे जेब में एक तार भी नहीं

दिल को नियाज़-ए हस्रत-ए दीदार कर चुके
देखा तो हम में ताक़त-ए दीदार भी नहीं

मिलना तेरा अगर नहीं आसाँ तो सहल है
दुश्वार तो यही है कि दुश्वार भी नहीं

बे-इश्क़ उमर कट नहीं सकती है और याँ
ताक़त ब-क़द्र-ए लज़्ज़त-ए आज़ार भी नहीं

शोरीदगी के हाथ से है सर वबाल-ए दोश
सहरा में ऐ ख़ुदा कोई दीवार भी नहीं

गुंजाइश-ए अदावत-ए अग़्यार यक तरफ़
याँ दिल में ज़ा’फ़ से हवस-ए यार भी नहीं

डर नाला-हा-ए ज़ार से मेरे ख़ुदा को मान
आख़र नवा-ए मुरग़ गिरफ़्तार भी नहीं

दिल में है यार की सफ़-ए मिज़्श्गां से रू-कशी
हालांकि ताक़त-ए ख़लिश-ए ख़ार भी नहीं

इस सादगी पे कौन न मर जाए ऐ ख़ुदा
लड़ते हैं और हाथ में तलवार भी नहीं

१०

देखा असद को ख़ल्वत‐ओ‐जल्वत में बार‐हा
दीवाना गर नहीं है तो हुश्यार भी नहीं

 

Click here for background and on any passage for word meanings and explanatory discussion. mirza asadullah KhaaN Ghalib (1797-1869). I dare not write any introduction. On more than one occasion Ghalib has warned his readers that he needs no introduction or even address. I humbly comply. badri raina, retired professor of English, dehli University, poet, writer, columnist and a dear friend has translated several Ghalib Ghazal and published them as a book.
1
diivaanagii se dosh1 peh zunnaar2 bhi nahiN
yaa’ni hamaare jeb3 meN ek taar4 bhi nahiN
1.back, shoulder 2.janev, Brahminic ceremonial thread 3.collar 4.thread
The poet/lover worships the beloved i.e. the buth/idol. This is the usual conflation of the beloved, god and idol. But the imagery is also that of a Brahminic janev/thread. The poet/lover is so distraught that he does not even have a devotional janev on his shoulder. But then he hastens to explain that this means that he ripped his shirt so thoroughly that he does not have a single thread left in his collar. All this ends up with a beautiful conflation of hindu-muslim imagery and god-buth-idol mixture, signifying that the passion of love (for the beloved or for god) does not know the bounds of orthodoxy.

2
dil ko niyaaz1-e hasrat2-e diidaar3 kar chuke
dekhaa4 to ham meN taaqat5-e diidaar bhi nahiN
1.offering, tribute 2.longing 3.sight 4.looked, examined 5.strength
The heart has been already made an offering at the altar of longing for the sight of the beloved. Because the heart is gone, when the poet/lover “dehka”, there was no strength left to see. The word “dekha” has a very intriguing double application. In one, the poet/lover is looking at/examining himself to find that he has no strength to see. In the other, the poet/lover is trying to look at the beloved and finds that his sight has failed.

3
milna tera agar nahiiN aasaaN1 to sahl2 hai
dushvaar3 to yahii hai ke dushvaar bhi nahiiN   
1.easy 2.easy 3.difficult
Let us consider the straightforward word meaning to look at the contradictions/paradoxes. If meeting/reaching you is not easy then that is easy. The difficulty is that it is not difficult. This appears self-contradicting and paradoxical. The poet/lover wants to reach/meet god or the beloved. If that were NOT easy, it would have been easy (he would have had an excuse) for him to give up and do something else. The difficulty is that it is not entirely difficult so he cannot use that excuse and has to keep trying.

4
be-ishq umr kaT nahiiN sakti hai aur yaaN
taaqat1 ba-qadr2-e lazzat3-e aazaar4 bhi nahiiN    
1.strength, courage, capability 2.in proportion to greatness 3.pleasure 4.pain, affliction
Without intense passion (of romantic or universal love) life cannot be lived to its full and here (for me/for all of us) there isn’t any capability/strength proportional to the dignity of the “pleasure of pain”. This is another self-contradictory phrase. The pain of love, separation from the beloved/god, the constant struggle to meet/reach the beloved/god is greatly valued as pleasure.

5
shoriidagi1 ke haath se hai sar vabaal2-e dosh3
sahraa4 meN aye Khudaa koii diivaar bhi nahiiN     
1.madness, derangement 2.curse, burden 3.shoulders 4.wilderness, desert
The poet/lover is mad with excess of passion. At the hands of this excessive passion his head has become a burden on his shoulders. In his madness he is wandering through the desert and wishes to bang his head against a wall, but there is no wall in the desert!

6
gunjaa’esh1-e adaavat2-e aGhyaar3 yak taraf
yaaN dil meN zau’f4 se havas5-e yaar6 bhi nahiiN    
1.room, space 2.rivalry 3.others, rivals 4.weakness 5.intense desire 6.beloved
How can I have any room/space for rivalry of the other in my heart when it is so weak that there is not enough room/strength in it for love of the beloved.

7
Dar naala-haa1-e zaar2 se mere, Khuda ko maan
aaKhir3 navaa4-e murGh5 giraftaar6 bhi nahiiN  
1.wailings-plural of naala 2.profuse, loud 3.after all 4.call, cry 5.bird (caged) 6.captive
Fear my profuse wailings, believe in (the wrath of) god. After all the cry of the caged bird is not a captive. You may have caged me, but my wails and cries will get out of the cage and reach god. There are some print copies and their interpretations that read the following for the second misra …
aaKhir navaa-e murGh giraftaar bhi nahiN
and proceed to interpret this to mean – after all my wails are not like the songs of a caged bird and then go on to suggest that the songs of a caged bird are happy because it is close to the captor/beloved and maybe even fed by her with her own hands. Others interpret this to suggest that the songs of the caged bird are weak because it is starving. Both of these appear to me to be somewhat contrived. I checked early prints (1861-1911) and found that 5 of the 6 did not have an izaafat. Thus, I am encouraged to stand by this version (‘navaa-e murGh giraftaar bhi nahiN’ rather than ‘navaa-e murGh-e giraftaar’) and my interpretation.

8
dil meN hai yaar1 ki saf2-e mizshgaaN3 se ruu-kashii4
haalaaNkeh5 taaqat6-e Khalish7-e Khaar8 bhi nahiiN   
1.beloved 2.line, formation (as a line of soldiers ready to attack) 3.eyelashes 4.facing, coming face to face 5.even though 6.strength, capability 7.scratch 8.thorn
Eyelashes are often compared to curved daggers. Here they are portrayed as a line/‘saf’ of daggers. The poet/lover has the desire in his heart, is ready to come face to face with this line of eyelashes/daggers even though he does not have the strength bear the sratching of a thorn.

9
is saadagi1 pe kaun na mar jaaye aye Khuda
laRte haiN aur haath meN talvaar bhi nahiiN   
1.simplicity, simple mindedness
Who will not give his life at the simple mindedness of the beloved. She wages a war but does not even have a sword in her hand.

10
dekha asad1 ko Khalvat2-o-jalvat3 meN baar-haa4
diivaana gar5 nahiiN hai to hushyaar bhi nahiiN
1.early pen-name of Ghalib 2.privacy 3.in public 4.many times 5.if
The protagonist/speaker in this she’r appears to be someone other than the poet. He states that he has seen the poet/asad in privacy as well as in public. Thus, he has been well examined, in many different situations. The conclusion is that even if we cannot consider him to be mad, we cannot call him sane either.

mirza asadullah KhaaN Ghalib (1797-1869).  I dare not write any introduction.  On more than one occasion Ghalib has warned his readers that he needs no introduction or even address.   I humbly comply.  badri raina, retired professor of English, dehli University, poet, writer, columnist and a dear friend has translated several Ghalib Ghazal and published them as a book.
1
diivaanagii se dosh1 peh zunnaar2 bhi nahiN
yaa’ni hamaare jeb3 meN ek taar4 bhi nahiN

1.back, shoulder 2.janev, Brahminic ceremonial thread 3.collar 4.thread

The poet/lover worships the beloved i.e. the buth/idol.  This is the usual conflation of the beloved, god and idol.  But the imagery is also that of a Brahminic janev/thread.  The poet/lover is so distraught that he does not even have a devotional janev on his shoulder.  But then he hastens to explain that this means that he ripped his shirt so thoroughly that he does not have a single thread left in his collar.  All this ends up with a beautiful conflation of hindu-muslim imagery and god-buth-idol mixture, signifying that the passion of love (for the beloved or for god) does not know the bounds of orthodoxy.
2
dil ko niyaaz1-e hasrat2-e diidaar3 kar chuke
dekhaa4 to ham meN taaqat5-e diidaar bhi nahiN

1.offering, tribute 2.longing 3.sight 4.looked, examined 5.strength

The heart has been already made an offering at the altar of longing for the sight of the beloved.  Because the heart is gone, when the poet/lover “dehka”, there was no strength left to see.  The word “dekha” has a very intriguing double application.  In one, the poet/lover is looking at/examining himself to find that he has no strength to see.  In the other, the poet/lover is trying to look at the beloved and finds that his sight has failed.
3
milna tera agar nahiiN aasaaN1 to sahl2 hai
dushvaar3 to yahii hai ke dushvaar bhi nahiiN

1.easy 2.easy 3.difficult

Let us consider the straightforward word meaning to look at the contradictions/paradoxes.  If meeting/reaching you is not easy then that is easy.  The difficulty is that it is not difficult.  This appears self-contradicting and paradoxical.  The poet/lover wants to reach/meet god or the beloved.  If that were NOT easy, it would have been easy (he would have had an excuse) for him to give up and do something else.  The difficulty is that it is not entirely difficult so he cannot use that excuse and has to keep trying.
4
be-ishq umr kaT nahiiN sakti hai aur yaaN
taaqat1 ba-qadr2-e lazzat3-e aazaar4 bhi nahiiN

1.strength, courage, capability 2.in proportion to greatness 3.pleasure 4.pain, affliction

Without intense passion (of romantic or universal love) life cannot be lived to its full and here (for me/for all of us) there isn’t any capability/strength proportional to the dignity of the “pleasure of pain”.  This is another self-contradictory phrase.  The pain of love, separation from the beloved/god, the constant struggle to meet/reach the beloved/god is greatly valued as pleasure.
5
shoriidagi1 ke haath se hai sar vabaal2-e dosh3
sahraa4 meN aye Khudaa koii diivaar bhi nahiiN

1.madness, derangement 2.curse, burden 3.shoulders 4.wilderness, desert

The poet/lover is mad with excess of passion.  At the hands of this excessive passion his head has become a burden on his shoulders.  In his madness he is wandering through the desert and wishes to bang his head against a wall, but there is no wall in the desert!
6
gunjaa’esh1-e adaavat2-e aGhyaar3 yak taraf
yaaN dil meN zau’f4 se havas5-e yaar6 bhi nahiiN

1.room, space 2.rivalry 3.others, rivals 4.weakness 5.intense desire 6.beloved

How can I have any room/space for rivalry of the other in my heart when it is so weak that there is not enough room/strength in it for love of the beloved.
7
Dar naala-haa1-e zaar2 se mere, Khuda ko maan
aaKhir3 navaa4-e murGh5 giraftaar6 bhi nahiiN

1.wailings-plural of naala 2.profuse, loud 3.after all 4.call, cry 5.bird (caged) 6.captive

Fear my profuse wailings, believe in (the wrath of) god.  After all the cry of the caged bird is not a captive.  You may have caged me, but my wails and cries will get out of the cage and reach god.  There are some print copies and their interpretations that read the following for the second misra …
aaKhir navaa-e murGh-e giraftaar bhi nahiN
and proceed to interpret this to mean – after all my wails are not like the songs of a caged bird and then go on to suggest that the songs of a caged bird are happy because it is close to the captor/beloved and maybe even fed by her with her own hands.  Others interpret this to suggest that the songs of the caged bird are weak because it is starving.  Both of these appear to me to be somewhat contrived.  I checked early prints (1861-1911) and found that 5 of the 6 did not have an izaafat.  Thus, I am encouraged to stand by this version (‘navaa-e murGh giraftaar bhi nahiN’ rather than ‘navaa-e murGh-e giraftaar’) and my interpretation.
8
dil meN hai yaar1 ki saf2-e mizshgaaN3 se ruu-kashii4
haalaaNkeh5 taaqat6-e Khalish7-e Khaar8 bhi nahiiN

1.beloved 2.line, formation (as a line of soldiers ready to attack) 3.eyelashes 4.facing, coming face to face 5.even though 6.strength, capability 7.scratch 8.thorn

Eyelashes are often compared to curved daggers.  Here they are portrayed as a line/‘saf’ of daggers.  The poet/lover has the desire in his heart, is ready to come face to face with this line of eyelashes/daggers even though he does not have the strength bear the sratching of a thorn.
9
is saadagi1 pe kaun na mar jaaye aye Khuda
laRte haiN aur haath meN talvaar bhi nahiiN

1.simplicity, simple mindedness

Who will not give his life at the simple mindedness of the beloved.  She wages a war but does not even have a sword in her hand.
10
dekha asad1 ko Khalvat2-o-jalvat3 meN baar-haa4
diivaana gar5 nahiiN hai to hushyaar bhi nahiiN

1.early pen-name of Ghalib 2.privacy 3.in public 4.many times 5.if

The protagonist/speaker in this she’r appears to be someone other than the poet.  He states that he has seen the poet/asad in privacy as well as in public.  Thus, he has been well examined, in many different situations.  The conclusion is that even if we cannot consider him to be mad, we cannot call him sane either.

2
The urge to see, to look at her, my heart was sunk in it;
And now, even if she called on me, my strength would prohibit.
3
Access to you may difficult be, it isn’t impossible;
How impossible that such access should be so possible
5
My house, my friends, turbulence wild did make me leave them all
But the desert raked my anguish more, not a friendly wall
9
Lo, she steps for combat grim, without a sword steps she
What valiant knight would ever survive, such disarming simplicity
10
Often have I watched Asad, alone, in company
If not utterly unhinged, nor rightly hinged is he

One comment:

  1. Thank you for publishing interesting Ashars..I really enjoy reading them . Keep up the good work. Urdu shairy is becoming a dying art.

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