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Dil Hi To hai - Ye Tera Bayaan Ghalib - My Internpretation

दिल ही तो है न संग-ओ -खिश्त , दर्द से भर ना आए क्यों 
रोएंगे हम हज़ार बार, कोई हमें सताए  क्यों। 

दैर नहीं, हरम नहीं, दर नहीं आस्ताँ नहीं 
बैठे हैं रहगुज़र पे हम , कोई हमें उठाये क्यों।

क़ैद ऐ हयात, बंद ऐ ग़म , अस्ल में दोनों एक हैं 
मौत से पहले आदमी, ग़म से निज़ात पाये क्यों।

हाँ वह नहीं ख़ुदा -परस्त, जाओ वो बेवफ़ा सही 
जिसको हो दीन ओ दिल अजीज़ उसकी गली में जाये क्यों 

ग़ालिब ऐ ख़स्ता के बगैर कौन से काम बंद हैं 
रोईए जार जार क्या, कीजिये हाय हाय क्यों। 
(Meaning:
संग-ओ -खिश्त: Brick and Stone 
दैर: Temple हरम : Mosque
दर: Doorstep आस्ताँ : House
क़ैद ऐ हयात: Captivity of Life बंद ऐ ग़म: Prison of Pain
दीन ओ दिल अजीज़: One who loves God and Heart)

Literal Translation

Why, wouldn't this heart of mine fill with pain, it isn't some concrete
I will cry a thousand cries, whenever I get beaten and face mistreat:

I am not at a temple or a mosque, not at your home, nor at doorstep, 
I am sitting at the public street, who are you to pick me up:

The prison of life, the captivity of pain, are in truth, one and the same,
To wish freedom from grief, before death, is a desire so lame:

True she is not god-fearing, true she is not loyal,
but then if you cared for God and self, why long for her at all:

Without Ghalib, the world moves unperturbed, unrepentant,
Cease my friend, these meaningless tears, this useless rant.

Explanations:

Couplet 1:

Never be ashamed of your sorrows, your pain. The pain that I feel, the grief that wrenches my heart, is the sign that I am alive. Cherish your pain, your sensitivity. It is the sign that my heart is in the right place, and it is a feeling, beating heart, not a piece of stone, incapable of empathy, compassion and love. Do not resist it, surrender to it, bask in the glory of love. That is the nature of love, and that is the nature of true heart. As Khalil Gibran would say, "Love will gather you unto itself, it will sift you free from all your confinements, it will grind you to whiteness, it will knead you until you are pliant and then it will assign you to sacred fire, so that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast."  The pain, the Sorrow, the test is only to refine you and ready you for love. Bask in its glory, though painful it might seem. Cry if you must, but don't resist love, be love. 

Couplet 2:

Religion has divided the whole world. The world is split between mosques and temples (and churches). The land and the people are owned by them. A soul which is emancipated, does not belong to the mob and therefore stands alone. It refuses to follow the religion as beyond evaluation.  It comes with solitude, which Ghalib refers to as there is no house where he is guest, not even the doorstep. But by earning an existence independent of anyone, he earns an independence of mind. That is the price of liberty that you have little place to call your own, which is no more than street-side. Still the ground on which a liberated soul stands is his (or her) own. He doesn't borrow from stale wisdom, he has his own mind to think for him. Even if that little piece, the tiny free space be devoid of the charming buildings, it is the space where free soul breathes to the new lights, it is the space which one can call one's own. Even if that be a street-side, it is a free air, beyond presumptions and prejudice. In political sense, it is the audacious space of a mugwump. All glory of mankind in the history has arisen from this irreverence of the street corner, the no-man's land of individual liberty. Truth is often resigned to streets, while dogmas are placed on high pedestals in places of worship and honorable courts of mighty kings. Einstein, much later warned us on this when he wrote, "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth" and Emerson, urged for the same unyielding soul, when he wrote, "best lighting rod for your protection is your spine". Ghalib, of course, was the poet king of free-thinkers of the world. Mind of one must not surrender the collective mind of many. 

Couplet 3:

Pain is an integral part of life. Life grows through grief. There is no way out of it. The search for a life, a future, without pain, sorrow and sadness is a search for utopia. Life and pain are intertwined. Lets not try to escape sorrow, let us celebrate it. Why do we see so many young people getting into drugs and even killing themselves early in the life? They are in search of something which does not exist. Till we live, pain will keep coming back. We will escape it, but it will keep coming back. We escape it truly when we accept it. The captivity of life, and the prison of pain are both same. It is not only impossible, rather incorrect to want to escape one without escaping another. Ghalib's life was an example of immense pain- unrecognized talent, an sensitive mind, loss of progeny, still his story was not of doom, his story, his poetry is always a testimony of a soaring spirit, flying high like an eagle, because, Ghalib, never surrendered to sorrows, he celebrated it. John Keats wrote in a letter, "Do you not see how necessary a world of pain and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?". That is so close to what Ghalib wrote here. 

Couplet 4

Love is not measured on the scales of social correctness, and is not tied to conventions. A love which is too prudent, too calculative is anything but love. Even if the object of your love is not religious, even if it is not loving you back, you must love, anyways. Love is not always returned, but then, love doesn't insist of being returned. Love never binds, love liberates. Love's ways are steep and difficult and it might not lead. CS Lewis mentioned this in The Four Loves, "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possible broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one..."

Couplet 5

Biggest problem in our lives is false sense of self-significance. We are plagued by it. We believe the world would stop once we are gone. It doesn't. We know it will not, and that further aggravates our sorrow. Our present is hounded by the thoughts of a future without us. We destroy any possible trace of greatness which might be in our legacy, in search of a legacy. Ghalib refers to the ephemeral nature of human life when he says that nothing would stop when he is gone. Make no mistake, that Ghalib considers himself insignificant. Ghalib is one of the most self-respecting intellectual of all times, fully aware of his immense talent. But he says this. He accepts this. He almost laughs at it. The same recurrent thought we find in Somerset Maugham, when he writes in Of Human Bondage,"There was no meaning in life, and a man by living served, no end. It was immaterial whether he was born or not born, whether he lived or ceased to live. Life was insignificant and death without consequence." Thinks the protagonist Philips and Maugham writes, that when Philips thinks thus, "he exulted, it seemed to him that the last burden of responsibility was taken from him; and for the first time he was utterly free..his insignificance was turned to power, and he felt himself suddenly equal with the cruel fate which had seemed to persecute him; for if life was meaningless, the world was robbed of its cruelty." The thought liberates Philip and in the ecstasy of emancipation, he cries out, "Oh Life, where is thy sting?". 

There is another couplet of Ghalib which is around this thought, but that is for another time. For now, it is all to the modesty of thought, willingness to surrender to the immense power of love, a love which is reason unto itself, a commitment to uncompromising intellect, refusal  of the intellect to surrender to the social pressure and religious dogmas, and readiness to be human, all too human, without shame and pretense.   
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