Saturday, June 13, 2015

Ghalib~Nama: Rendezvous with Mirza Ghalib (Part-4)


Mirza Ghalib
Source: Google Images

Mirza Ghaib Series (All Parts) : Part (1) │ Part (2) │ Part (3) │ Part (4) │ Part (5) │ Part (6)

Both of us fell silent. My mind was racing towards various facets of Mirza Sahib’s life thinking constantly how he must have actually felt like while going through each of those phases. Throughout his life he remained under the debt, blame it on his bleak financial condition or his lavish lifestyle (which he maintained whatever be his finances) or his ardent love for wine and gambling (he even got arrested once for gambling which had a grave impact on Ghalib’s mind; he was disheartened to see most of his friends, relatives and associates deserting him at that time). The appreciation and place in the royal court which he so rightfully deserved was evaded for long. However, in 1850 the royal title was finally bestowed upon him followed by additional recognition & titles in royal courtyards. All these symbolized a step towards accommodation of Mirza Sahib in the nobility of Delhi. But, these were again short-lived.


“Where have you lost, Son? Seem like you are feeling sleepy and drowsy. Is that the journey that’s taking a toll on you or my talks?” He continued heaving a deep sigh, “Hah, I never knew my talks are also hard to comprehend as were my verses which my contemporaries termed as incomprehensible. But what should I do Son,

मुश्किल है जेबस कलाम मेरा दिल
सुन सुन के उसे सख़ुनवराने कामिल
आसाँ कहने की करते हैं फ़रमाइश
गोयम मुश्किल वगरन गोयम मुश्किल
(Mushqil hai zabs kalaam mera ai dil
sun sun ke usey sukhvanvaraane kaamil
Aasaan kehne ki kartey hain farmaaish
goyam mushqil vargna goyam mushqil)
(I agree, O heart, that my Ghazals are not easy to take in,
When they hear my work, experienced poets
Tell me I should write something easier to understand,
I have to write what is difficult otherwise it is difficult for me to write.)

“Of course not, Mirza Sahib, these moments have been one of the best of mine. I am re-living the whole era of yesteryears with you. My admiration and respect for you is increasing with every passing moment. I am in complete awe for you and your work & just wondering from where did all that inspiration flew to you. I understand the life itself has been a battle for you to conquer each moment, still so much of inspiration and muse is indeed commendable.” I said.

“It’s all divine intervention Son” Mirza Sahib replied gesturing up above, “It is HE who sends the angels to inspire who in turn become my muse else how would a burdened soul like me be ever able to weave those words churning into the couplets that connect.”

आते हैं ग़ैब से यह मज़ामीं ख़याल में
ग़ालिब सरीर- ख़ामह नवा- सरोश है
(Aate hain ghaib se ye mazaameen khayaal mein
Ghalib sareer-e-Khaama nawaa-e-sarosh hai)
(The subjects (for my poetry) come to me from divine hidden sources
The scratching sound my pen makes resonates like the sound of angels)

“You are being modest now. And I am surprised I never thought you believe in God and angels. I have always perceived you as being an atheist may be as I have read that you seldom visited mosques or observed fasts. In that sense, it’s truly a revelation for me that you attribute all your muses and thoughts to someone up there” I said.

“That is what the common perception about me says son perhaps as I never believed in the religious activities and rituals & never performed namaaz (prayer) mechanically at prescribed times or had never gone to the mosque just to mark my attendance there. But unfortunately, this has been grossly misunderstood by the people. I am not an atheist but a firm believer of that one universal God. God was there yesterday when nothing was here and He would be here tomorrow when nothing would be here.”

ना था कुछ तो ख़ुदा था, कुछ ना होता तो ख़ुदा होता
डुबोया मूझ को होने ने, ना होता मैं तो क्या होता?
(Nah thaa kuchh, to khudaa thaa, kuchh nah hotaa, to khudaa hotaa
duboyaa mujh ko honey ney, nah hotaa main, to kyaa hotaa)
(When nothing was, then God was; had nothing been, then God would have been.
Undoing, my being has been; had I not been, then what would have been?)

“But what I don’t affirm and advocate is the line drawn by the guardian of different faiths and different religions dividing the God into many sects and fractions. God is one you may call Him Allah, Brahma or Isa. The life we breathe and the moments we spend is all conferred by that Allah, this is something which can not be argued.” He continued, “What needs to be seen is whether we are doing all to justify his act of giving life to us.” His words echoed his displeasure and annoyance at the division in the name of God & beliefs into so many religions and sects.

जान दी, दी हुई उसी की थी
हक़ तो यूँ है केह हक़ अदा ना हुआ
(Jaan dee, dee huei usee kee thee
Haq to yoon hai keh haq adaa nah huaa)
(Gave away life; was given by Him only
Truth is that the due could be paid, not)

The nobility in thought and action of Ghalib in terms of religion differentiation is well known. Infact, his city of good living, Delhi, has also seen its upbringing amidst the composite culture of Hindus and Muslims, which was nurtured through generations and generations. Despite being ruled by a Muslim ruler, the religion was never a bone of content & the city celebrated Holi and Diwali with the same zest and fervour as did the Ramadan and Id. Ghalib himself was no exception, he believed in the unity of all religion and classes.

वफ़ा दारी बे-शर्त--इस्तवारी असल--ईमान है
मरे बुतखाने में तो काबे में गाड़ो ब्राह्मण को
(Wafa daari be-shart-e-istawari asl-e-eemaan hai,
Mare butkhane mein toh Kaabe mein gaaro brahman ko)
(Steadfast faith is the test of man’s spiritual state
The brahman dying in Temple should be buried in Kaaba)

He also didn’t affirm blind following of the religious & ritualistic practices and was in contempt of the same. He advocated the purity and religion of thought (Sufism). He strongly believed that we humans, by virtue of our existence, have direct access to truly religious experience through unbound compassion and supreme being. The moment one is absolved from his fundamentalism and creeds that bind him from within, all religions and souls converge into one faith.

हम मुवह्हिद हैं, हमारा केश है तर्के रूसूम
मिल्लतें जब मिट गयीं, अज्जा--ईमां हो गईं
(Ham Muvahhid Hain Hamara: Kesh Hai Tark-e-Rusoom
Millaten Jab Mit Gain, Ajza-e-Iman Ho Gain)
(We believe in God, the rituals we renounce
Creeds when dissolved merge into one faith)

“That’s wonderful Mirza Sahib, it was indeed an eye opener. I really admire your thoughts about God and religion. I mean being from the good old times, you managed to stay away the demarcations in the name of religion, cast and creed, is something which I appreciate a lot” I said.

As I spoke, I remembered one anecdote of Mirza Sahib where at the end of Ramadan, the Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar asked him that how many days he fasted during the Ramadan. He meticulously replied that he had failed to keep one leaving it on the interpretation of the King whether this meant he had failed to keep only one or failed to keep a single one. The thought made me smile and I shared the same with Mirza Sahib too which made him giggle as well besides adding with a wink, “I escaped that day as I didn’t keep any fast then.”

“You know son, my begum (wife) was a pious and god fearing lady. She used to offer namaaz five times a day and was always accustomed to follow His ways and rituals. She always used to insist me to offer namaaz or visit masjid. But tell me son, what should I do, whenever I visited His place, I found the gates always closed so I had to retrace my steps back.”

बंदगी में भी वो आजाद--खुदबीं है कि हम
उल्टे फिर आए दरे काबा अगर वा हुआ
(Bandagi meN bhi woh aazada-o-KHudbeeN haiN, ke hum
Ultay phir aaye dar-e-K’aba agar waa na hua)
(Even in the matter of worship, I don’t cringe or creep
If the Kaaba’s door is closed, I retrace my steps back)

How deep and meaningful Mirza Sahib’s words are in our current scheme of events. That’s why I always believed in the spiritual aspect of his writing. The more you penetrate and submerse in his writing, the more layers of mystic thoughts and interpretations will be revealed to you. He was always candid and blunt in his criticism of those self-proclaimed guardian of the religion who spread hate and envy in the name of religion taking advantage of the blind spot in our heart. How can one purify us when he himself is dirty? In one of his couplets he mocks these self-proclaimed godmen by saying

कहाँ मयखाने का दरवाज़ागालिब’ और कहाँ वाइज़
पर इतना जानते है, कल वो जाता था कि हम निकले
(Kahaan maikhaane ka darwaaza ‘Ghalib’ aur kahaan waaiz
Par itna jaante hain, kal woh jaata tha ki hum nikle)
(How can the door of the wine-house and the Preacher be compared, Ghalib?
But I know this much: yesterday he went in/by, when I was coming out from there)

Further, in another of his couplet, Ghalib again mocks about those god man and introspects that the way he talks and writes about philosophy & mysticism, he would have been considered as a saint or God himself but for his habit of drinking.

ये मसाइल--तसव्वुफ़, ये तेरा बयान "ग़ालिब"
तुझे हम वली समझते, जो बादाख़्वार होता
Yeh Masail-e-Tasawwuf..Yeh tera bayaan Ghalib,
Tujhe hum wali samajhte, jo na baadakhwaar hota
(These profound philosophies that you propound Ghalib
We would have taken you for a saint if you weren’t a drunkard)

The above couplet also reveals another aspect of Ghalib - his weakness for wine. One can also interpret that despite knowing that drinking is doing no good to him or to his repute, he just couldn’t overcome this addiction. I do wonder whether it was the way his life’s event unfolded layer by layer giving him jolts and dejection that prompted Ghalib to resort to the drinking as his ultimate haven or was it one of those parcels of the lavish lifestyle that he had adopted which refused to leave him until his last. There is an interesting anecdote associated with Ghalib’s drinking habit.

As we know that Ghalib’s financial position was always in a mess. Whatever small amounts of pension he used to receive was all spent in settling the dues of various lenders. Once it happened that he was composing his Persian deewan (compilation) and felt the need of wine to keep him going. But since he didn’t have any money with him, he asked his wife for some money which she plainly refused mockingly told him, “Offer namaaz to Allah in mosque with pure intent, your wish would be granted”, very well aware of Mirza’s non-inclination towards these religion rituals.

Mirza readied himself wearing neat attire and started for Jama Masjid to offer namaaz. This soon became the talk of the town as passers-by were all in awe seeing Mirza Sahib going for the namaaz. Anyways, Ghalib went to Jama Masjid and offered Sunnat (a part of namaaz followed by Farz and Nafil) bowing head to his knees as prostration to the Almighty. Meanwhile one of his followers visited his home and enquired about Ghalib for some guidance and help in his verses. When Ghalib’s wife told him about the whole incident, the follower went to market and bought a bottle of wine before heading to Jama Masjid. It is said the Ghalib was awaiting Allah’s grace when the follower called him gesturing to the bottle hidden in his robe. Ghalib became jubilant and suddenly stood up and started leaving. One of the devotees said to him, “Mirza, now that you have come to mosque, atleast offer complete namaaz before leaving.” Ghalib replied with a smile, “Miyan, my work has been done by Sunnat only, I don’t need to offer namaaz” and left. Ghalib’s haveli in Balimaran was near masjid and whenever he used to sit and drink, people condemned him for drinking amidst the shadows of mosque (God’s place).  To them he always used to say, that either let him allow drink wine near the mosque or let him know such a place where God doesn’t exist.

गो हाथ को जुंबिश नहीं आँखों में तो दम है
रहने दो अभी साग़र--मीना मिरे आगे
(Go haath ko jumbish nahin aankhon mein toh dum hai
Rahne do abhi saaghar-o-meena meray aage)
(Though my hands are motionless, my eyes can see as yet
Let the cup & flask of wine remain in front of me)

~*~*~ . . .Continued in Part (5) ~*~*~ 

~Shubh Life . . . Om Sai Ram

© 2015 Manish Purohit (Reserved)

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