Monday, June 13, 2016

Diwan-e-Ghalib (1) ~ Naqsh Faryadi. . .




{1.1}
नक़्श फ़रयादी है किस की शोख़ी- तहरीर का
काग़ज़ी है पैरहन हर पैकर- तस्वीर का
{1.2}
काव-काव- सख़्त-जानीहा- तंहाई पूछ
सुबह करना शाम का लाना है जू- शीर का
{1.3}
जज़बा- बे-इख़्तियार- शौक़ देखा चाहिये
सीना- शमशीर से बाहर है दम शमशीर का
{1.4}
आगही दाम- शनीदन जिस क़दर चाहे बिछाए
मुद्दा अंक़ा है अपने आलम- तक़रीर का 
{1.5}
बसकि हूँ ग़ालिब असीरी में भी आतिश ज़ेर- पा
मू- आतिश-दीदा है हलक़ा मिरी ज़ंजीर का

Translation, Interpretation & Analysis of the Ghazal
{1.1}
नक़्श फ़रयादी है किस की शोख़ी- तहरीर का
काग़ज़ी है पैरहन हर पैकर- तस्वीर का
naqsh faryādī hai kis kī sho
hī-e tarīr kā
kāġhazī hai pairahan har paikar-e tavīr kā
Against whose mischievous writing is the impression of complainant?
Made of paper is the attire of the countenance of every image.

Notes on the Couplet
Naqsh: Print, Impression, Expression
Faryādī: Pleader, Requester, Complainant
Shohī: Playful, Mischievous
Tarīr: Writing
Kāġhazī: Made of Paper
Pairahan: Attire, Clothes
Paikar: Face, Appearance, Portrait
Tavīr: Image, Picture

This is the matla (first sher / couplet) of first gazal in Ghalib’s diwan, though it’s not the first one created or written by him. Ghalib’s had this knack for creating complex couplets difficult for the people to comprehend. He assumed a great pride in composing the incomprehensible couplets and basis his profound knowledge of Urdu and Persian language and it would not wrong to say that, more often than not, he succeeded in his endeavor of doing so (the instant couplet is a classic example of the same; infact I read somewhere that some of the affluent urdu poets termed this first couplet of Ghalib’s diwan as meaningless as they couldn’t understand the meaning thereof while there were others who hailed it as one of the wonderfully composed verse!!).

Literal Meaning of the Couplet
Ghalib makes a reference to a commonly prevalent practice in ancient Persian royal courts where the pleader or complainant was required to appear before the king dressed in the attire made up of paper (kagazi pairahan) so as to distinguish himself from the defendant. He says in first line that against whose writings (or deeds) the complainant is dressed or impersonated like this. He further remarks in second line that every face in the painting seems to be wrapped in the papery attire, making a reference that everyone here is a pleader for one reason or the other.

Symbolic Meaning of the Couplet
It’s a commonly known fact that Ghaib was never one of those staunch devotees of God and infact, he had many a times questioned the existence of the ultimate supreme and also his ways. Given his life always remained a struggle for sustenance and recognition, he mocked every living soul as the one assuming the papery attire with helpless face and pleading nature against the will of God. As against the norm of dedicating the opening verses to Almighty, the Ghalib in-turns mocks HIS way of governing and dictating the lives of the people asking against whose writings (read…the will of the God) all these living souls have turned pleader. He further says that wherever he looks he finds every face in the picture (read…every person in the world created by God) assuming the attire of paper and pleading in front of HIM for one thing or the other (comparing with the age old practice in Persian royal courts where the complainants used to appear in paper attire to seek justice from the King).

{1.2}
काव-काव- सख़्त-जानीहा- तंहाई पूछ
सुबह करना शाम का लाना है जू- शीर का
kāv-kāv-e sa
ht-jānīhā-e tanhāʾī nah pūchh
ub karnā shām kā lānā hai jū-e shīr kā
Don’t inquire about my forbearance of the constant hammering in isolation
To turn the night into the day is akin to unearthing a river of milk

Notes on the Couplet
Kāv-kāv: Digging, Continuous beating of the stone with sharp object (axe etc.)
Saht-jānīhā: State of having a 'tough life', extreme agony hard to kill
Tanhāʾī: Solitude, Isolation, Loneliness
Jū-e shīr: River of milk

The second couplet of this ghazal is relatively easier to comprehend than the first one, but here too one has to read the full couplet to gaze its meaning (mere reading of first line doesn’t offer anything to the inquisitive mind). Further, one should also be cognizant of the legend of Shirin – Farhaad to actually understand the intensity Ghalib has woven (and that too wonderfully) in his words (Jū-e shīr). The legend goes as follows:

“Farhad was a stone-mason; he fell desperately in love with the princess Shirin. His helpless passion became the talk of the town. Shirin's husband, Khusrau, decided to mock him by playing a cruel joke. Khusrau invited Farhad to his court, questioned him and then promised to give him Shirin if he removed the Bestoun Mountain from its place as it was blocking a passage to the royal palace. He told Farhad that he could have Shirin if within a fixed time he could cut a channel through the Pillarless Mountain [koh-e be-sutuun] to bring milk for her bath. The sculptor, in a frenzy of passion, actually removed the mountain with his pickaxe, at which the alarmed Khusrau sent an old woman to misinform Farhad that Shirin was dead. When he heard the news, he plunged his own axe into his forehead and died.”

Literal Meaning of the Couplet
In first line of the couplet, the Ghalib says that no one can measure the depth of the misery of his grief stricken life which is constantly hammered by these moments of loneliness. Further, in second line he says that to pass the night and to bring in the morning is like bringing the river of the milk implying that amidst the moments of isolation and loneliness, the journey from night to the morning is as difficult cutting the mountain and carving out the path to bring the milk.

Symbolic Meaning of the Couplet
Here Ghalib tries to express the miseries of life saying that his existence is so much burdened with agony, turmoil and loneliness that every night the wait for the morning appears as much a daunting task as was for Farhaad to cut a channel through the mountains to bring milk for his beloved. While Farhaad did this unimaginable feat only once, for Ghalib this remains the chore of his life which he has to undergo every night. In my understanding, Ghalib also intends to express that eventually only death would be able to absolve him from his miseries, as though Farhaad successfully managed to dig the channel (as does Ghalib successfully overcomes each night for the new day) he could eventually find solace only in the arms of death. Ghalib has beautifully used the phrase ‘kāv-kāv’ to denote the twin struggle of him digging in the web of life and Farhaad digging the mountains.

{1.3}
जज़बा- बे-इख़्तियार- शौक़ देखा चाहिये
सीना- शमशीर से बाहर है दम शमशीर का
jażbah-e be-ihtiyār-e shauq dekhā chāhiye
sīnah-e shamshīr se bāhar hai dam shamshīr kā
See the spirit of my uncontrollable desires
Causing the edge of the sword unfurling from its sheath

Notes on the Couplet
Jażbah: Passion, Determination, Spirit, Desire
Shauq: Zeal, Enthusiasm
Ihtiyār: Authority, Power, Control
Shamshīr: Sword
Dam: Breath, Blood

Literal Meaning of the Couplet
In first line of the couplet, the Ghalib remarks that the spirit of his desires and wants, which are now beyond his control, is worth seeing as they exhibit the strong vividness. He further says in second line that these desires are so strong that they are now causing the sword to come out of its cover to end them to avoid further tribulation.

Symbolic Meaning of the Couplet
Ghalib, yet again, demonstrate his un-satiated life which is brimming with unfulfilled wants and unquenched desires which are so intense that these are now beyond his control or authority. To denote their intensity, he makes a reference to the sword which has come out of his cover to slay him to end all his desires. In alternate inference, the couplets aim to reflect the sentiments of the yearning lover whose desire to attain the martyrdom is so intense that even the sword, itself, has come out to grant his wish.

The remarkable feature of this couplet is the usage of word ‘Dam’ which denotes the twin meaning of power of the sword and also the breath of the protagonist. Similarly the word ‘Shamshīr (Sword)’ also seem to convey a twin notion of sword and of the expression of the zeal of the protagonist.

{1.4}
आगही दाम- शनीदन जिस क़दर चाहे बिछाए
मुद्दा अंक़ा है अपने आलम- तक़रीर का 
āgahī dām-e shanīdan jis qadar chāhe bichhā
ʾe
muddaʿā ʿanqā hai apne ʿālam-e taqrīr kā
No matter how much the intelligence lay its trap to listen
The meaning of my words is non-existent like that bird (anqa)

Notes on the Couplet
Agahī: Knowledge, Intelligence, Awareness
Dāam: Net, Trap
Shanīdan: To hear, To listen
Muddaʿā: Whatever is meant, Matter
Anqā: Legendry bird which doesn’t exist (unicorn)
Alam: World, Universe
Taqrīr: Speech, Discourse

Another trait of Ghalib was that he always had the highest regard for his writing, which he considered is not in everyone’s might to comprehend. The above verses seem to get its weight from the similar notion. Further, reference to ‘Anqa’ which means an imaginary bird like Unicorn is also made to further strengthen this notion.

The ʿanqā (the mythical bird in Persian and Urdu literature characterized solely by its unlocatability) has a parallel in the Western tradition: the black swan. The Roman poet Juvenal wrote in despair of finding a wife with all the right qualities that such a woman is “rara avis in terris, nigroque simillima cygno” (in this world a rare bird, very much like a black swan). In his time and for most of the next two millennia, the black swan was presumed by Europeans not to exist. Indeed, “all swans are white” had long been a favorite postulate in philosophy. When black swans were finally discovered in Australia in 1697, many people thought for years afterwards that it was a hoax.*
* Sourced from the internet

Literal Meaning of the Couplet
In the first line of the couplet, the Ghalib challenges the intelligence to make as much effort as it can and to spread its net in whatsoever manner to understand the meaning of his words. He further goes, in second line, that come what may, his words would remain incomprehensible and non-existent & would not be caught in the net just like that bird which exist but doesn’t exist.

Symbolic Meaning of the Couplet
As mentioned above, Ghalib has this knack of composing the difficult of the verses which the normal Urdu poets of his time were not able to comprehend. His habit seems to arise from the anger within (or may I say the frustration) on the self-proclaimed intellectual lot who were too gifted to understand the worth of his words. In one of the anecdote when he was invited to a mushaira at the court of Bahadur Shah Zafar, he recites this gazal and gets no ‘daad(appreciation, which is a common way to acknowledge the poet’s work) as none present there could understand its meaning.

Thus Ghalib actually seem to ridicule the wisdom and knowledge of the poets of his times that howsoever their intellect try to comprehend the meaning of his words, the true meaning thereof will elude their trap just like the imaginary bird eludes the trap laid to catch him (in that sense this actually is a snide comment from him to his critics and contemporaries).

{1.5}
बसकि हूँ ग़ालिब असीरी में भी आतिश ज़ेर- पा
मू- आतिश-दीदा है हलक़ा मिरी ज़ंजीर का 
baskih hūñ ġhālib asīrī meñ bhī ātish zer-e pā
mū-e ātish-dīdah hai alqah mirī zanjīr kā
Although in captivity, there is still fire underneath my feet
The chains that bind me are the rings of the damaged (roasted) hair

Notes on the Couplet
Baskih: Although, Whereas
Asīrī: Imprisonment, Captivity
Atish: Fire
Zer-e pā: Under the feet
Mū-e atish: hair damages (roasted) by the heat
Dīdah: Meeting, Encounter
Halqah: Ring, Curls

This is another difficult but beautiful composition of Ghalib to end this gazal…Maqtaa – the concluding verse. The peculiar point in this one is the comparison of the chains binding the poet with the strands of hair which are damaged with heat / fire. The moment a strand of hair comes in contact with the heat it curls within forming circles and rings, resembling the concatenations of a chain.

Literal Meaning of the Couplet
In first verse, the Ghalib says that although he is in captive bondage of the life there is a constant fire burning under his feet which is making him restless and uneasy. He further says that the chains that are binding me are like the rings of roasted hair – weak in strength, binding but incapable to hold.

Symbolic Meaning of the Couplet
The final verse (or Maqta) of this ghazal makes Ghalib ponder of the bondages and shackles of the life. He remarks that even though he is bonded by the shackles and imprisoned in the captive bondage of life, he retains his restlessness as if there is a constant fire burning under his feet. Just as fire under one’s feet keeps him restless and jumping, the poet’s desires within in keep him bustle despite the shackles. Further, the intensity of his desires and passion can be ascertained by the fact that due to that constant bustle, the chains that bind him appear as weak as curls of the hair damaged by the heat. Alternatively, Ghalib says that no bondage or captivation can restrain him as even in the captivity, his impatience and passion smolders causing his chains to weaken like half burnt hairs.

What is interesting to note here is the (again) the twin attribute of the word ‘Aatish (Fire)’ – One, the ever burning desires is keeping the poet restless just like fire beneath his feet & Second, due to this restlessness the shackles around him have grown so weak like hair strands damaged by the heat of the fire.

So that was it from the Ghalib’s Diwan for the time being, I will be back again pulling out another gem from the legend’s compilation “. . . kehte haiN ki 'GHalib' ka hai andaaz-e-bayaaN aur”

Do drop in your comment, feedback or suggestion below J

~Shubh Life . . . Om Sai Ram

© 2016 Manish Purohit (Reserved)


Heartfelt thanks for visiting here. . . While the thoughts are woven with the strings of the words, what remains to be seen whether they does manage to form a bridge for you to cross and listen to the beating. And if it does, do drop in your beat in the comment box . . . it always feels great to hear from you J
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