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Love and Time (The Passing away of) - Ghalib



दाइम पड़ा हुआ तेरे दर पर नहीं हूँ मैं
ख़ाक ऐसी ज़िन्दगी पे कि पत्थर नहीं हूँ मैं।

Daayim padaa hua tere dar par nahin hoon main
khaak aisi Zindagi pe, ke pathar nahin hoon main

(दाइम- Stationary)

क्यूँ गर्दिश- ए -मुदाम से घबरा ना जाए दिल
इंसान हूँ, पियाला-ओ-साग़र नहीं हूँ मैं।

Kyon gardish-e-mudaam se ghabraa naa jaaye dil
Insaan hoon, Piyaala-o-saagar nahin hoon main
(गर्दिश- ए -मुदाम: Constant movement, पियाला-ओ-साग़र: Glass of Wine)

यारब ज़माना मुझको मिटाता है किस लिए
लौह-ए-जहाँ पे हर्फ़- ए -मुकर्रर नहीं हूँ मैं।

Yaa rab, zamaana mujhko mitaata hai kis liye
loh-e-zahaan pe harf-e-mukarrar nahin hoon main

(लौह-ए-जहाँ: Page of the World, हर्फ़- Alphabet मुकर्रर- To repeat)

हद चाहिए सज़ा में उकूबत के वास्ते
आखिर गुनहगार हूँ काफिर नहीं  हूँ मैं।

Had chahiye sazaa mein ukoobat ke vaaste
aakhir gunahgaar hoon, kaafir nahin hoon main

(उकूबत- Tortures , काफिर: Non-Believer)

ग़ालिब वज़ीफ़ा-ख़्वार हो दो शाह को दुआ
वो दिन गए कि  कहते थे नौकर  नहीं हूँ मैं।

'Ghalib' vazeefakhvar ho, do shah ko duaa
voh din gaye ki kahte the naukar nahin hoon main.

(वज़ीफ़ा: Salary or Stipend)

Translations and Interpretations:
Couplet #1

English Translation:
I might not be able to wait at your doorstep forever,
Pity, am not a stationary stone, waiting for your favor.

Interpretation:
Time is passing. I am waiting for your love, patiently at your doorstep. I wait for your attention, as long as I can. But do not take me for granted. Unfortunately, pitiable as it might be, my existence is not of a dead stone. Spurned by you, I might move on, and you will be left without my love. I wish I could stay at your doorstep forever, like a dead stone, withstanding your neglect forever, but it is not possible. For the forces of life will eventually carry me away. I do love you, but, life happens, so waste not this moment of love.

Couplet #2

English Translation:
Why wouldn't I be troubled
 by constant turmoils of my life?
After all, I am not a glass of wine, 
holding little whirlpools, without a spil,
To calmly, contain my strife.

Interpretation:
Ghalib always advocated letting go of the emotions, to give to life as you get it from it. (Royenge hum hazaar baar, koi hamein rulaaye kyun- Trans. I will weep a thousand times, why would someone hurt me so). His was not the temperament to hide and pretend the real emotions. Here is says, Why should I pretend my life to be calm and composed, when it truly is in constant turmoil? Why would I not be troubled by it and be distressed about it?

Couplet #3

English Translation:
Why do these people come together to erase me altogether?
I am not a frivolous word written on the sacred page of life. 

Interpretation:
Ghalib was very aware of his place in the world, in his own world and the world which was to folllow him. He however, did not find much favor in the Emperor's courts for most of his life. Delhi, then as it is today, was a lobbyists world and networking, not sheer talent decided your place in it. Aghast at the attempts to pull him down in spite of being a brilliant poet, Ghalib penned several couplets expressing his amusement, and despair on schemes of people and courtiers to bring him down. He is sure of his own station in life, in the universe. It can be spiritually extended to include all of us. We all have our own role to play in the world, our own story to be written, our own mark to be created and left for posterity. It matters not that our contemporary world doesn't recognizes us, pulls us down. We are not an alphabet of frivolity, a mistake of the creator and no one should be allowed to erase us. Our existence is our cause and purpose. We only need to find it, and believe in it. 

Couplet #4

English Translation:
There are no limits of cruelty, my dear, which to me, you heartlessly deliver
I am only a sinner, an errant; still for the almighty God, I am a believer.

Interpretation:
Ghalib was much ahead of his time, an iconoclast, a moderate Muslim. In one of the couplets, he calls himself a bird of the garden which has yet not come into existence. He is known to be a master of very sublime satire, which oft comes into play in his poetry. Here he admonishes his beloved for the pain that she subjects him to. And he complains, that she acts as if he were a non-believer of the God who deserved no mercy. He was not religious person, not an orthodox Muslim. He maintained that he believed in a God who was not vengeful, who did not punish and who did not desire completely slavish surrender of his subject. His wife was very orthodox and religious lady and their life-long banter and interactions make a pleasant reading. Probably this deviation from the orthodoxy and fanaticism, is what Ghalib refers to when he agrees that he is a sinner, and an errant, but only that, nothing more. He maintains that he still remains a believer, a religious person, in spite of his liberal outlook.

Couplet #5

English Translation: 

Ghalib should thank the emperor, as he offered his soul for a stipend
The days of independent mind and pen, have, alas, thus come to an end.

Interpretation
Ghalib was fiercely independent mind for his time and I would think even for our times. He got the social and royal recognition much later in his life. He lived his life in penury and his fame and respect among the masses notwithstanding, he could not make to the royal courts till old age, as the Ustaad (Literary master) to the last Mughal emperor. Once he did, he realized the limits being a court poet imposed on him. This couplet refers to the perils of position, as valid today, at it was then. Commercial interests always stifled creativity. So it was then, so it is now. Every artist, every writer feels it. This surrender is often inescapable and that makes if sad. The inevitability of it makes every artist seem so vulnerable. Ghalib merely smiles at it, makes fun at himself. One can almost see him smirk through his dense white beards in these lines. 

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