Khud ko becha to Khariida kya hai-priitpal siNgh betaab

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

خود کو بیچا تو خریدا کیا ہے ۔ پریتپال سنگھ بیتابؔ

۱

دشت کیا چیز ہے دریا کیا ہے

گھر سے نکلے ہو تو خطرہ کیا ہے

۲

دشت نے چھین لیا ہے سب کچھ

لوٹ کر شہر کو جاتا کیا ہے

۳

اپنے ہاتھوں سے جلایا گھر کو

آگ بھڑکی ہے تو روتا کیا ہے

۴

عمر بن باس میں کٹ جائے گی

اور اِس دشت میں ہوتا کیا ہے

۵

بیچ بازار کھڑا سوچوں ہوں

خود کو بیچا تو خریدا کیا ہے

۶

پسِ دیوار رہوں گا کب تک

میں جو ظاہر ہوں تو پردہ کیا ہے

۷

کئی پردوں میں چھپا ہے اِک شخص

اور اِس چہرے میں رکھا کیا ہے

۸

گور میں سوچ رہا ہوں بیتابؔ

میں جو زندہ ہوں تو مُردہ کیا ہے

ख़ुद को बेचा तो ख़रीदा क्या है – प्रीतपाल सिंध बेताब

दश्त क्या चीज़ है, दर्या क्या है

घर से निकले हो तो ख़त्रा क्या है

दश्त ने छीन लिया है सब कुछ

लौट कर शहर को जाता क्या है

अपने हाथौं से जलाया घर को

आग भढकी है तो रोता क्या है

उम्र बन-बास में कट जाएगी

और इस दश्त में होता क्या है

बीच बाज़ार खढा सोचूं हूं

ख़ुद को बेचा तो ख़रीदा क्या है

पस-ए दीवार रहूंगा कब तक

मैं जो ज़ाहर हुं तो पर्दा क्या है

कई पर्दौं में छुपा है एक शख़्स

और इस चेहरे में रक्खा क्या है

गोर में सोच रहा हूं बेताब

मैं जो ज़िन्दा हुं तो मुर्दा क्या है

 

Click here for background and on any passage for word meanings and explanatory discussion. priitpal singh betaab (1949-xxxx) pooNch, kashmir. MA, LLB. kashmir (state) administrative service, achieving very high level position and retiring as Director, Food and Supplies. He started composing verse in 1970, published 9 collections of verse and received numerous awards even as he continued his ‘day time job’. He grew up in pooNchh and apparently missed it a lot. There is a strong element of exile from home in his compositions. This Ghazal is composed in the zamin of “dil- naadaaN tujhe hua kya hai” with a theme similar to
sabza o gul kahaaN se aaye haiN
abr kya cheez hai hava kya hai.

1
dasht1 kya cheez hai, darya2 kya hai
ghar se nikle ho to Khatra3 kya hai   
1.wilderness, desert, land 2.ocean, sea, river 3.danger, fear
This could be a straightforward admonishment to fellow humans. Now that you have left home, why fear wilderness or rivers. At a more abstract level, ‘dash o darya’ is land and water i.e. this world. Humans have left their home i.e. Adam left the Garden of Eden. Why fear life on this earth.

2
dasht1 ne chhiin liya hai sub kuchh
lauT kar shahr2 ko jaata kya hai    
1.wilderness, struggle 2.habitation, shelter of habitation
The protagonist is out wandering the wilderness/desert and has lost everything. It seems like he is ready to give up and return to his familiar shelter. This is urging him to stay on and fight/struggle.

3
apne haathoN se jalaaya ghar ko
aag bhaRki hai to rota kya hai   
This could be a reflection of his sense of loss of home. You left home, burnt it down. Why do you cry now.

4
umr1 ban-baas2 meN kaT jaayegi
aur is dasht3 meN hota kya hai   
1.life 2.exile in jungle 3.wilderness, dog-eat-dog world
You have left home and are in exile in the jungle. This is where you will pass your life. What else can you expect in the struggle for life in this world.

5
biich bazaar khaRa sochuN huN
Khud ko becha to Khariida kya hai   
I stand in the middle of the market i.e., out in the open for everyone to see. I am thinking and am puzzled – I have sold myself i.e., compromised my principles, what did I get in return – loss of self-respect.

6
pas1-e diivaar rahuNga kab tak
maiN jo zaahir2 huN to parda kya hai   
1.behind 2.visible, out in the open
How long can I hide behind a wall/façade. Now that I am out here for everyone to see, why try to put on a mask/veil/pretense.

7
koii parde meN chhupa hai ek shaKhs1
aur is chehre2 meN rakkha kya hai   
1.person 2.face
This is probably a reflection of the poet’s observation that everyone puts on airs or makes pretenses. The face that they show to the world is nothing but a pretense, hiding behing a veil/mask.

8
gor1 meN soch raha huN betaab2
maiN jo zinda huN to murda3 kya hai   
1.grave 2.pen-name of poet 3.corpse
I am not sure if this is a sarcastic comment on poets’ habit of writing about themselves even in death. The poet is dead and in the grave, but he is still alive and writing. If so, what is this corpse – who is it. Or is it a sad commentary on the way of life. Life is spent doing meaningless work just to earn a living. It is as if the spirit is dead while the body may be living – the living body is reflecting upon the dead soul.

priitpal singh betaab (1949-xxxx) pooNch, kashmir.  MA, LLB.  kashmir (state) administrative service, achieving very high level position and retiring as Director, Food and Supplies.  He started composing verse in 1970, published 9 collections of verse and received numerous awards even as he continued his ‘day time job’.  He grew up in pooNchh and apparently missed it a lot.  There is a strong element of exile from home in his compositions.  This Ghazal is composed in the zamin of “dil- naadaaN tujhe hua kya hai” with a theme similar to
sabza o gul kahaaN se aaye haiN
abr kya cheez hai hava kya hai.
1
dasht1 kya cheez hai, darya2 kya hai
ghar se nikle ho to Khatra3 kya hai

1.wilderness, desert, land 2.ocean, sea, river 3.danger, fear

This could be a straightforward admonishment to fellow humans.  Now that you have left home, why fear wilderness or rivers.  At a more abstract level, ‘dash o darya’ is land and water i.e. this world.  Humans have left their home i.e. Adam left the Garden of Eden.  Why fear life on this earth.
2
dasht1 ne chhiin liya hai sub kuchh
lauT kar shahr2 ko jaata kya hai

1.wilderness, struggle 2.habitation, shelter of habitation

The protagonist is out wandering the wilderness/desert and has lost everything.  It seems like he is ready to give up and return to his familiar shelter.  This is urging him to stay on and fight/struggle.
3
apne haathoN se jalaaya ghar ko
aag bhaRki hai to rota kya hai

This could be a reflection of his sense of loss of home.  You left home, burnt it down.  Why do you cry now.
4
umr1 ban-baas2 meN kaT jaayegi
aur is dasht3 meN hota kya hai

1.life 2.exile in jungle 3.wilderness, dog-eat-dog world

You have left home and are in exile in the jungle.  This is where you will pass your life.  What else can you expect in the struggle for life in this world.
5
biich bazaar khaRa sochuN huN
Khud ko becha to Khariida kya hai

I stand in the middle of the market i.e., out in the open for everyone to see.  I am thinking and am puzzled – I have sold myself i.e., compromised my principles, what did I get in return – loss of self-respect.
6
pas1-e diivaar rahuNga kab tak
maiN jo zaahir2 huN to parda kya hai

1.behind 2.visible, out in the open

How long can I hide behind a wall/façade.  Now that I am out here for everyone to see, why try to put on a mask/veil/pretense.
7
koii parde meN chhupa hai ek shaKhs1
aur is chehre2 meN rakkha kya hai

1.person 2.face

This is probably a reflection of the poet’s observation that everyone puts on airs or makes pretenses.  The face that they show to the world is nothing but a pretense, hiding behing a veil/mask.
8
gor1 meN soch raha huN betaab2
maiN jo zinda huN to murda3 kya hai

1.grave 2.pen-name of poet 3.corpse

I am not sure if this is a sarcastic comment on poets’ habit of writing about themselves even in death.  The poet is dead and in the grave, but he is still alive and writing.  If so, what is this corpse – who is it.  Or is it a sad commentary on the way of life.  Life is spent doing meaningless work just to earn a living.  It is as if the spirit is dead while the body may be living – the living body is reflecting upon the dead soul.

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