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Surrendering to Love- Ghalib



Couplet-1

दोस्त ग़मख़्वारी  में मेरी, 'अइ फरमाएंगे क्या
ज़ख़्म के भरने तलक, नाख़ून बढ़ जाएंगे क्या।

(ग़मख़्वारी- Nursing, 'अइ- Efforts, नाख़ून- nails)

Translation

O dearest, your best efforts to nurse my soul,
To my searing sadness, is no match;
While my wounds heal, unknownst to thou,
I grow cruel nails anew,Once again, ready to scratch.

Interpretation:
The solaces of companionship, of fleeting friendships are not sufficient enough to ease the haunting emptiness left by loss of love. There is some inherent pleasure in self-inflicted pain, embedded in love. While friends try to protect me, rescue me, my soul remains beyond repair, as I keep on going back into my melancholic, sad solitude, as if I derive some pleasure in this self-inflicted pain. 

 ***************
Couplet-2

बेनियाज़ी हद से गुज़री, बंदापरवर कब तलक
हम कहेंगे हाल- -दिल और आप फरमाएंगे क्या।

(बेनियाज़ी- Disinterest)
Translation:-

Your cruel apathy towards me, my beloved ladyship
Has gone beyond the limits of my fragile forbearance;
For how long shall I send the pathetic pleas of my heart?
For how long should thou hide behind this cold, feigned ignorance?

Interpretation:-
Ghalib complains about some kind of aristocratic apathy with which beloved treats him. It takes a rare communion of souls for one heart to connect to another. Unless the connection is made, the utterances of a heart means nothing to another. Language rides on the bridge that connects two souls and when hearts do not connect, the language fails. Ghalib was one of the most spiritual, mystical poet of all times. Truth and love are interchangeable and it would be unfair to use the term love in conventional terms when we look at Ghalib's poetry.

Couplet-3

हज़रत-ए-नासेह ग़र आएँ, दीदा-ओ-दिल फ़र्श-ऐ-राह
कोई मुझको ये तो समझा दो कि समझायेंगे क्या।

(हज़रत- Gentleman नासेह- Preacher दीदा-ओ-दिल- Eyes and Heart फ़र्श-ऐ-राह- Spread in your way)

Translation:

O learned preacher, to my abode, with my heart and soul
I should welcome thee;
Pray tell, what wisdom the enlightened one, can bring
For an incurable soul as me.

Interpretation:-
The affairs of love is way beyond the understanding of religious scholars and hearts in love are beyond repair. These are affairs of heart, much elevated beyond the religious philosophy. Logic of life fails in the interpretation of logic of love. Loftiest of the religious wisdom will fall short as far as comforting a heart in love goes. In the next couplet, Ghalib further elaborates the failure of structured religion to define the religion of hearts.  

Couplet-4

ग़र किया नासेह ने हमको क़ैद, अच्छा यूँ सही
ये जुनूने - इश्क़ के अंदाज़ छूट जाएंगे क्या।

जुनूने - इश्क़- Passions of Love)

Translation:

The preacher recommends keeping me
in custody, 
to tame my rebellious soul, I agree;
Do tell me, this emancipated soul of reason, this passionate love, which simmers in my heart, 
Incarcerated in darkness, will it ever abandon me?

Interpretation:-
The structured religion is now a captive of written diktats. Some prophets, some books, in one religion and other, initially written as a reportage of their own spiritual pursuit in search of truth, are now prisoner of their own rigidity. What was meant to be free-flowing brook is now stale, muddied pond-water, in which Nietzsche said, one would hear frogs croak. We try to find truth in interpretations, molding them to suit our sensibilities, never ever finding courage to reject them and search truth afresh. The courage to explore our souls to find our own truth, our own wisdom is in captivity of conventions. But Ghalib, ever a rebel, questions if these established wisdom, this steel-framed knowledge- unalterable, unquestionable, refuses to surrender his voice of new-age reason. One can feel a strange breeze of freshness, a rare manliness reflecting in this couplet. 

Couplet-5

खानाज़ाद--ज़ुल्फ़ हैं, ज़ंजीर से भागेंगे क्यों
हैं गिरफ़्तार- -वफ़ा, ज़िंदाँ से घबराएंगे क्या।

(खानाज़ाद--ज़ुल्फ़- Prisoner of the locks of your hair; ज़ंजीर- Chains; गिरफ़्तार -वफ़ा- Imprisoned by faith; ज़िंदाँ - Prison)

Translation:

I have long been a captive of your blessed locks,
Why should I try escaping these chains?
So long has my soul been a prisoner of your love
No fear of a prison, in me, any longer remains.

Interpretation:-

What makes Ghalib stand apart is his unorthodox views, his courage, his intrepid interpretations of tradition and pronounced intent to break free of the past. He throws challenge to established wisdom, his unafraid, untamed, unyielding soul stands erect, refusing to bend. He celebrates his surrender of his self to a spiritual love, which rises above the squalor of tame wisdom, hands-me-down knowledge across the ages. He contradicts convention and embraces emancipation, and is not worried about what might come out of it. He says that he has now resigned to his fate, the hardships which comes with his emancipation. He has lived such for so long that he is unafraid. It in a sense, also reflects the loneliness of less understood and a surrender to a lonely journey for his mind scaling above mediocrity, his enlightened (therefore least understood)  soul which belonged to an age beyond its own. It has surrendered to the feeling, that haunting feeling that it has to pass through this world rarely understood. He resigns to his fate- the fate of every solitary genius.

Couplet-6

है अब इस मा'मूरे में केहत - -ग़म- 'असद'
हमने माना की दिल्ली में रहें, खावेंगे क्या।     

(मा'मूरे - City/ civilization, केहत - -ग़म-  A famine of emotions, a dearth of feelings)

Translation:
In this heartless city of yours, 'Assad' 
There is a famine of feelings,
Which urges me to beat a hasty retreat;
I shall still, if you insist, stay put in this soulless Dilli,
Do tell, my friend, without love to feed on,

In this heartless city, what shall I offer my soul to eat? 

Assad - Ghalib's Nom de Plume (Pen name)

Interpretation:-

The world around him is soulless. No one has time for softer emotions of a sensitive poet. Feelings are frowned over, love is outdated, emotions are rarely found appreciated. The abrasive society has killed all the nourishment for the soul. A kind of famine has befallen on the world and the soul passes through the world hungry for human touch. That is Delhi for Ghalib, that is every unfeeling large city for every modern man and woman. How is one to survive such a city, laments Ghalib.

Comments

Martin Kloess said…
Well done. Thank you for sharing this.

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