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Responsibility of A Writer- As per Ghalib

कहते हैं , जब रही ना मुझे ताक़त ए सुख़न 

जानूँ किसी के दिल की मैं क्यों कर कहे बगैर।  

"Kahte hain, jab rahi na mujhe taqat-e-sukhanJanoon kisi ke dil ki main kyunkar, kahe bagair"

This is one of the lesser known couplet by Ghalib. Loosely translated it means-

“If it is said, that I no longer hold the power of writingWhy should I be told the affairs of someone’s heart, without asking?”

Being a writer is a rare privilege. It allows one to reach out deeper into human hearts, offers rare empathy to pain, happiness and ambitions of fellow human beings. When I say writing here, I am not referring to writers driven solely by commercial necessities, writing as per market-mechanization.

Writers, like doctors, have the ability and authority to look into our hearts and find the treasures which we never know, we possessed. This also puts a great responsibility on the writers. A writer searches the truth, not only for himself, but also for those about him and for the generations after him.

Not everyone is blessed with a writer’s sensitivity and the vastness of vision. Therefore, it is not always an easy life, but being a writer is a privilege. It needs to be earned. A writer often faces trauma, tragedy and terror on account of his writing in his private thoughts or public life. But he needs to keep at it. This only gives him a right to be a friend to many. It is not unusual for people to walk up to a writer and share with him or her feelings which they would otherwise not confide to best of their friends. Sometimes, it is an expectation of answers or sometimes it is merely trust and empathy that a writer offers. He needs to earn this privilege of universal brotherhood and he needs to keep being worthy of it. 

In today’s world where columns are brought by vested interests, this couplet of Ghalib is a reminder to people who write, whether as literary writers or journalists. We, the word-worshipers, owe it to ourselves. We need to celebrate our rare gift, which though might be difficult to pursue at time. Our writings need to have a purpose, offer a meaning to the aching hearts. Writers are like scientists and philosophers, searching the truth for those who are not able to search it for themselves

Which would mean that unless I am committed to reflect with sensitivity of people around me, whose feelings I can know being a writer, without being told, by interpretation and extrapolation as we often do, why should have this ability to delve into other people’s heart and affairs. This couplet may also be translated to mean
If it is said, that I no longer hold the power of writingWhy should I know the affairs of someone’s heart, without being told?”

(I have planned a series trying to interpret one couplet of Ghalib in each post. This is a part of that initiative)
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