zabaaN kyuN ho – mirza Ghalib

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

زباں کیوں ہو ۔ مرزا غالبؔ

۱

کسی کو دے کے دل کوئی نواسنجِ فغاں کیوں ہو

نہ ہو جب دل ہی سینے میں تو پھر منہ میں زباں کیوں ہو

۲

وہ اپنی خُو نہ چھوڑیں گے ہم اپنی وضع کیوں چھوڑیں

سبک سر بن کے کیا پوچھیں کہ ہم سے سرگِراں کیوں ہو

۳

کیا غم خوار نے رسوا لگے آگ اس محبت کو

نہ لاوے تاب جو غم کی وہ میرا رازداں کیوں ہو

۴

وفا کیسی کہاں کا عشق جب سر پھوڑنا ٹھہرا

تو پھر اے سنگ دل تیرا ہی سنگِ آستاں کیوں ہو

۵

قفس میں مجھ سے رودادِ چمن کہتے نہ ڈر ہمدم

گِری ہے جس پہ کل بجلی وہ میرا آشیاں کیوں ہو

۶

یہ کہہ سکتے ہو ہم دل میں نہیں ہیں پر یہ بتلاؤ

کہ جب دل میں تمہیں تم ہو تو آنکھوں سے نہاں کیوں ہو

۷

غلط ہے جذبِ دل کا شکوہ دیکھو جُرم کس کا ہے

نہ کھینچو گر تم اپنے کو کشاکش درمیاں کیوں ہو

۸

یہ فتنہ آدمی کی خانہ ویرانی کو کیا کم ہے

ہوئے تم دوست جس کے دشمن اُس کا آسماں کیوں ہو

۹

یہی ہے آزمانا تو ستانا کس کو کہتے ہیں

عدو کے ہو لیے جب تم تو میرا امتحاں کیوں ہو

۱۰

کہا تم نے کہ کیوں ہو غیر کے ملنے میں رُسوائی

بجا کہتے ہو سچ کہتے ہو پھر کہیو کہ ہاں کیوں ہو

۱۱

نکالا چاہتا ہے کام کیا طعنوں سے تو غالبؔ

ترے بے مہر کہنے سے وہ تجھ پر مہرباں کیوں ہو

ज़बाँ क्यूँ हो – मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

किसी को दे के दिल कोई नवा-संज-ए फ़ुग़ाँ क्यूँ हो

न हो जब दिल ही सीने में तो फिर मुँह में ज़बाँ क्यूँ हो

वो अपनी ख़ू न छोड़ेंगे हम अपनी वज़’अ क्यूँ छोड़ें

सुबुक-सर बन के क्या पूछें के हम से सरगिराँ क्यूँ हो

किया ग़म-ख़्वार ने रुस्वा लगे आग इस मोहब्बत को

न लावे ताब जो ग़म की वो मेरा राज़-दाँ क्यूँ हो

वफ़ा कैसी कहाँ का इश्क़ जब सर फोड़ना ठहरा

तो फिर ऐ संग-दिल तेरा ही संग-ए आस्ताँ क्यूँ हो

क़फ़स में मुझ से रूदाद-ए चमन कहते न डर हमदम

गिरी है जिस पे कल बिजली वो मेरा आशियाँ क्यूँ हो

ये कह सकते हो हम दिल में नहीं हैं पर ये बत्लाओ

के जब दिल में तुम्हीं तुम हो तो आँखों से निहाँ क्यूँ हो

ग़लत है जज़्ब-ए दिल का शिक्वा देखो जुर्म किस का है

न खींचो गर तुम अपने को कशाकश दरमियाँ क्यूँ हो

ये फ़ित्ना आदमी की ख़ाना-वीरानी को क्या कम है

हुए तुम दोस्त जिस के दुश्मन उस का आसमाँ क्यूँ हो

यही है आज़्माना तो सताना किस को कहते हैं

अदू के हो लिए जब तुम तो मेरा इम्तेहाँ क्यूँ हो

१०

कहा तुम ने के क्यूँ हो ग़ैर के मिलने में रुस्वाई

बजा कहते हो सच कहते हो फिर कहियो के हाँ क्यूँ हो

११

निकाला चाहता है काम क्या ता’नों से तू ग़ालिब

तेरे बे-महर कहने से वो तुझ पर महरबाँ क्यूँ हो

 

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
kisi ko de ke dil koi navaa-saNj1-e fuGhaaN2 kyuN ho
na ho jab dil hi siine meN to phir muNh meN zabaaN kyuN ho    
1.maker of selective/refined sound 2.lamentation
muNh meN zabaaN nahiN hona is an expression that means – unable to speak. Thus, if you have given your heart away to someone, why then should you have the ability to make such a refined sound as lamentation. You no longer have a heart in your bosom, why should you then have a tongue in your mouth.

2
vo apni Khuu1 na chhoReNge ham apni vaz’a2 kyuN chhoReN
subuk-sar3 ban ke kya puuchheN ke ham se sargiraaN4 kyuN ho    
1.nature, habit 2.style 3.light headed, foolish 4.angry, upset
She will not change her nature i.e. she will continue to be upset with the poet/lover, no matter what. Why then should he change his ways. Why should be so foolish as to ask her why she is upset. Just accept it and go on.

3
kiyaa Gham-Khwaar1 ne rusvaa2 lage aag is mohabbat ko
na laave taab3 jo Gham ki vo mera raaz-daaN4 kyuN ho    
1.sharing sorrow, sympathizer 2.humiliate 3.bear burden 4.sharing secret, confidant
The poet/lover has shared his pain with a friend/sympathizer. The friend could not bear the burden of this sorrow and talked to everyone about it. This caused humiliation for the poet/lover because he was the cause of disrepute of the beloved or because he was perceived to be unable to bear his sorrow in silence. There is an unusual twist to this she’r. Normally one desires a sympathisizer who feels your pain … the more the better. But here the poet/lover blames his good fortune – why should it be MY sympathizer who cannot bear the burden of my painful story. Why does it have to happen to me and not to others. He is also cursing the love that got him into trouble. It is ambiguous whether he is cursing the fact that he is hopelessly in love with the beloved or if he is cursing the loving friendship of the sympathizer. The reader can decide.

4
vafaa1 kaisi kahaaN ka ishq jab sar phoRna Thahraa
to phir aye saNg-dil2 teraa hi saNg3-e aastaaN4 kyuN ho    
1.fidelity 2.hard hearted 3.stone 4.threshold
Normally the poet/lover is distraught and shows this by striking his head against a rock, preferably the threshold of the beloved. But in this case, she has shown no reciprocity. Why should be continue to show fidelity. He is hopelessly in love, he has to break his head against a rock. If this is to happen anyway, what is so particular about her threshold. Any other rock would do.

5
qafas1 meN mujh se ruudaad2-e chaman kahte na Dar hamdam3
giri hai jis pe kal bijli vo mera aashiyaaN4 kyuN ho    
1.cage 2.story 3.friend 4.nest
In urdu poetic tradition the poet/lover is a caged bird pining away for the garden and his nest. The friend may be another bird flying over to the cage to see his friend the poet/lover. He appears to be a little hesitant to tell the story of the garden. There has been a lightning strike, and he is holding back. The caged bird i.e. the poet/lover re-assures him – don’t hesitate, go ahead and tell me the story of the lightning strike in the garden. Why does it have to be my nest that has been struck. It could have been somewhere else. In an unusual twist the victim is reassuring the sympathizer.

6
ye kah sakte ho ham dil meN nahiN haiN par ye batlaao
ke jab dil meN tumhiN tum ho to aaNkhoN se nihaaN1 kyuN ho    
1.hidden
The beloved tells the poet/lover that she does not hold him in her heart. It could either be because she is cruel, or because the rival has succeeded, or because she does not yet trust the poet/lover. In any case, she has told him this and he turns around and asks, but tell me, when it is you and only you in my heart, then why are you hidden from my eyes i.e. why have I not been able to see you. In other words, you are the one to blame.

7
Ghalat hai jazb1-e dil kaa shikva2 dekho jurm3 kis kaa hai
na khiiNcho4 gar tum apne ko kashaakash5 darmiyaaN6 kyuN ho    
1.sentiment, passion 2.complaint 3.crime, fault 4.pull away, withdraw 5.struggle, conflict 6.between
The beloved is complaining/blaming the poet/lover that his passion is not true or strong enough. He counters, just see whose fault it is. If you don’t pull away from me, there would be no conflict between us.

8
ye fitna1 aadmi ki Khaana-viraani2 ko kya kam hai
hue tum dost jis ke dushman us ka aasmaaN3 kyuN ho    
1.mischief, calamity 2.desolation of home/heart 3.sky/heaven/fate
In urdu poetic tradition fate is always the enemy of the protagonist. But in this case the beloved is cruel enough and has caused desolation of his heart, so much so that fate decides it is not necessary for it to do any more harm. The beloved’s cruelty is enough.

9
yahi hai aazmaanaa1 to sataanaa2 kis ko kahte haiN
aduu3 ke ho liye jab tum to mera imtihaaN4 kyuN ho    
1.trial, testing 2.teasing 3.rival 4.test
The beloved has agreed to a liaison with the rival but continues to test the poet/lover for his sincerity and fidelity. If you call this a trial then what is teasing. You have gone over to the rival, so why is there a need to test me. Therefore this must be teasing!

10
kahaa tum ne ke kyuN ho Ghair1 ke milne meN rusvaaii2
bajaa3 kahte ho sach kahte ho phir kahiyo ke haaN kyuN ho  
1.other, rival 2.disrepute, disgrave 3.proper, right
The poet/lover had warned the beloved not to meet the rival, perhaps because he knew that the rival was indiscreet and would start rumours. He has done this and the beloved is disgraced. The poet/lover is bitter and sarcastic. You had said that there is no disrepute in meeting the rival. You were right, you spoke the truth, now say it again, why should there be disrepute!

11
nikaala chaahta hai kaam kya taa’noN1 se tuu Ghaalib
tere be-mehr2 kahne se vo tujh par mehrbaaN3 kyuN ho  
1.taunts 2.unkind 3.kind, show favour
O, Ghalib you are trying to get something out of taunts (it will not work). Why should she show you favours if you taunt her about her unkindness.

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
kisi ko de ke dil koi navaa-saNj1-e fuGhaaN2 kyuN ho
na ho jab dil hi siine meN to phir muNh meN zabaaN kyuN ho

1.maker of selective/refined sound 2.lamentation

muNh meN zabaaN nahiN hona is an expression that means – unable to speak.  Thus, if you have given your heart away to someone, why then should you have the ability to make such a refined sound as lamentation.  You no longer have a heart in your bosom, why should you then have a tongue in your mouth.
2
vo apni Khuu1 na chhoReNge ham apni vaz’a2 kyuN chhoReN
subuk-sar3 ban ke kya puuchheN ke ham se sargiraaN4 kyuN ho

1.nature, habit 2.style 3.light headed, foolish 4.angry, upset

She will not change her nature i.e. she will continue to be upset with the poet/lover, no matter what.  Why then should he change his ways.  Why should be so foolish as to ask her why she is upset.  Just accept it and go on.
3
kiyaa Gham-Khwaar1 ne rusvaa2 lage aag is mohabbat ko
na laave taab3 jo Gham ki vo mera raaz-daaN4 kyuN ho

1.sharing sorrow, sympathizer 2.humiliate 3.bear burden 4.sharing secret, confidant

The poet/lover has shared his pain with a friend/sympathizer.  The friend could not bear the burden of this sorrow and talked to everyone about it.  This caused humiliation for the poet/lover because he was the cause of disrepute of the beloved or because he was perceived to be unable to bear his sorrow in silence.  There is an unusual twist to this she’r.  Normally one desires a sympathisizer who feels your pain … the more the better.  But here the poet/lover blames his good fortune – why should it be MY sympathizer who cannot bear the burden of my painful story.  Why does it have to happen to me and not to others.  He is also cursing the love that got him into trouble.  It is ambiguous whether he is cursing the fact that he is hopelessly in love with the beloved or if he is cursing the loving friendship of the sympathizer.  The reader can decide.
4
vafaa1 kaisi kahaaN ka ishq jab sar phoRna Thahraa
to phir aye saNg-dil2 teraa hi saNg3-e aastaaN4 kyuN ho

1.fidelity 2.hard hearted 3.stone 4.threshold

Normally the poet/lover is distraught and shows this by striking his head against a rock, preferably the threshold of the beloved.  But in this case, she has shown no reciprocity.  Why should be continue to show fidelity.  He is hopelessly in love, he has to break his head against a rock.  If this is to happen anyway, what is so particular about her threshold.  Any other rock would do.
5
qafas1 meN mujh se ruudaad2-e chaman kahte na Dar hamdam3
giri hai jis pe kal bijli vo mera aashiyaaN4 kyuN ho

1.cage 2.story 3.friend 4.nest

In urdu poetic tradition the poet/lover is a caged bird pining away for the garden and his nest.  The friend may be another bird flying over to the cage to see his friend the poet/lover.  He appears to be a little hesitant to tell the story of the garden.  There has been a lightning strike, and he is holding back.  The caged bird i.e. the poet/lover re-assures him – don’t hesitate, go ahead and tell me the story of the lightning strike in the garden.  Why does it have to be my nest that has been struck.  It could have been somewhere else.  In an unusual twist the victim is reassuring the sympathizer.
6
ye kah sakte ho ham dil meN nahiN haiN par ye batlaao
ke jab dil meN tumhiN tum ho to aaNkhoN se nihaaN1 kyuN ho

1.hidden

The beloved tells the poet/lover that she does not hold him in her heart.  It could either be because she is cruel, or because the rival has succeeded, or because she does not yet trust the poet/lover.  In any case, she has told him this and he turns around and asks, but tell me, when it is you and only you in my heart, then why are you hidden from my eyes i.e. why have I not been able to see you.  In other words, you are the one to blame.
7
Ghalat hai jazb1-e dil kaa shikva2 dekho jurm3 kis kaa hai
na khiiNcho4 gar tum apne ko kashaakash5 darmiyaaN6 kyuN ho

1.sentiment, passion 2.complaint 3.crime, fault 4.pull away, withdraw 5.struggle, conflict 6.between

The beloved is complaining/blaming the poet/lover that his passion is not true or strong enough.  He counters, just see whose fault it is.  If you don’t pull away from me, there would be no conflict between us.
8
ye fitna1 aadmi ki Khaana-viraani2 ko kya kam hai
hue tum dost jis ke dushman us ka aasmaaN3 kyuN ho

1.mischief, calamity 2.desolation of home/heart 3.sky/heaven/fate

In urdu poetic tradition fate is always the enemy of the protagonist.  But in this case the beloved is cruel enough and has caused desolation of his heart, so much so that fate decides it is not necessary for it to do any more harm.  The beloved’s cruelty is enough.
9
yahi hai aazmaanaa1 to sataanaa2 kis ko kahte haiN
aduu3 ke ho liye jab tum to mera imtihaaN4 kyuN ho

1.trial, testing 2.teasing 3.rival 4.test

The beloved has agreed to a liaison with the rival but continues to test the poet/lover for his sincerity and fidelity.  If you call this a trial then what is teasing.  You have gone over to the rival, so why is there a need to test me.  Therefore this must be teasing!
10
kahaa tum ne ke kyuN ho Ghair1 ke milne meN rusvaaii2
bajaa3 kahte ho sach kahte ho phir kahiyo ke haaN kyuN ho

1.other, rival 2.disrepute, disgrave 3.proper, right

The poet/lover had warned the beloved not to meet the rival, perhaps because he knew that the rival was indiscreet and would start rumours.  He has done this and the beloved is disgraced.  The poet/lover is bitter and sarcastic.  You had said that there is no disrepute in meeting the rival.  You were right, you spoke the truth, now say it again, why should there be disrepute!
11
nikaala chaahta hai kaam kya taa’noN1 se tuu Ghaalib
tere be-mehr2 kahne se vo tujh par mehrbaaN3 kyuN ho

1.taunts 2.unkind 3.kind, show favour

O, Ghalib you are trying to get something out of taunts (it will not work).  Why should she show you favours if you taunt her about her unkindness.

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Badri Raina’s Translation
1
Why must the lover pine, lament, when his heart he gifts away
A breast bereft of a throbbing heart should not have much to say
2
O, she must but always take offence, and I cannot yield my soul;
Or, would you that I bend on my knee to wheedle and cajole?
3
Oh grief that own confidante should so embarrass me!
Why trust a bosom that cannot bear love’s secret agony?
4
If I must break my crazy head to silence painful moan,
They do so upon your door? why not some other stone?
5
Tremble not but tell, O tell news of the garden green;
The nest that unto the lightning fell my own need not have been.
7
Do not unjustly charge me with generating all the strain;
For should you not wrench yourselv away no tension need remain.
8
Your love is potent enough to kill, as surely as it can;
Why need the gods then trouble themselves to annihilate such a man?
10
You ask me why I must object to strangers meeting you?
How justly ask! Do ask again, do ask, oh do, oh do.
11
O Ghalib why delude yourself to try such trickery now?
No slander can ever assist you to blackmail her into love.

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