Friday, July 12, 2019

The Living Dead

~ Honouring our poetic ancestors ~

Mirza Ghalib, Pinterest

Born on December 27th, 1797 in Agra, India Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib aka Mirza Ghalib is one of the most read and quoted Poets when it comes to Urdu Poetry.

His talent flowered at an early age and as such he ended up writing most of his poems at the age of nineteen, initially his ghazals conveyed the pain and ache of love but he expanded his horizon in the days to come.

Now, without further ado let us dive into the world of poetry which bloomed in the Mughal era.


J.L. Kaul’s translation of the aforesaid is as under:

 I know –
The lover may sigh the livelong day
To touch the loved one’s heart;
It takes too long to win thy love, and
can death outlive and hope to quell thy curls?
I know how long-suffering love must be;
Desire brooks no delay, and death
may summon me to pity by my complaint
I would rather seek and find thy love
I grant thou wilt not treat me unkindly
when lamentations reach thine ears
I know love’s fruition
I know death closes all, and doth all sorrow end;
and man, like candle, burns away,
until the coming of the day, until he finds release in death…
It dies as soon as it flares.


Issue 12, February 2013. - The Criterion


He  was a gifted letter writer. In one of his letters, he described his arranged marriage at the age of 13 as the second imprisonment after the initial confinement that was life itself. He viewed life as a continuous painful struggle which can end only when life itself ends. This is a recurring theme in his poetry.
                                                          
I remember this ghazal as though it was yesterday, coming across it perhaps a million times during my college days in my syllabus, the translation is as following:



No hope comes my way
No visage shows itself to me

That death will come one day is definite
Then why does sleep evade me all night?

I used to laugh at the state of my heart
Now no one thing brings a smile

Though I know the reward of religious devotion
My attention does not settle in that direction

It is for these reasons that I am quiet
If not, would I not converse with you?




     

Why should I not remember you?
Even if you cannot hear my lament

You don't see the anguish in my heart
O healer, the scent of my pain eludes you

I am now at that point
That even I don't know myself

I die in the hope of dying
Death arrives and then never arrives

How will you face Mecca, Ghalib?
When shame doesn't come to you



                                                        

Translation, courtesy of inspirational stories.



Ghalib's best poems were written in three forms: ghazal (lyric), masnavi (moralistic or mystical parable), and qasidah (panegyric).

Ghalib took the concept of ghazals and changed them from an expression of anguish in love to philosophies of life.

His critics accused him of writing in an ornamental style of Persian that was incomprehensible to the masses. But his legacy has come to be widely celebrated, particularly his mastery of the Urdu ghazal.


https://www.amazon.com/Ghalib-Selected-Letters-Translations-Classics/dp/0231182066
Amazon

This selection of poetry and prose by Ghalib provides an accessible and wide-ranging introduction to the preeminent Urdu poet of the nineteenth century. Ghalib's poems, especially his ghazals, remain beloved throughout South Asia for their arresting intelligence and lively wit. 
  
A liberal Muslim, Ghalib was a free-spirited man who lived right next to a masjid, yet hardly ever paid a visit. Such was his philosophy of life that even though he spent his day drinking and attending mushairas, he felt a deep connection with the almighty. Ghalib struggled throughout his life but he was aware that with his rebellious writing, he was paving way for the future generation.
 

He died in New Delhi on February 15, 1869. The house where he lived has been turned into a memorial and hosts a permanent Ghalib exhibition.


I hope you guys enjoyed the glimpse and insight into the life of one of my favorite Urdu Poets, do let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. I leave you with a poetry reading of "Aah ko chahiyeh ik umer asar hone tak," with English translation. Until next time!🌹



28 comments:

  1. I always enjoy poetry from different cultures, that was originally written in a completely different language, and you haven't disappointed with Ghabril, Sanaa. These lines resonated, as there have been times when I've felt this way:

    'No hope comes my way
    No visage shows itself to me

    That death will come one day is definite
    Then why does sleep evade me all night?'

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    1. Thank you so much, Kim 😊 so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž☕

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  2. Thank you Sanaa for keeping the original as well as the translation. Aah...the Ghazal in original simply stole my heart away. Beautiful.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sumana 😍 I too am a huge fan of his ghazals.πŸ’ž

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  3. Thank you for giving us such a treat, Sanaa, sharing the work of this beautiful poet and very interesting person. I might have gone my whole life never knowing of the existence of this poet, and would have been poorer for that. It was lovely to hear your reading, too.

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    1. Awww gosh!πŸ’ž Thank you so much, Rosemary 😍 so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž☕

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  4. I enjoyed the ghazal especially, Sanaa. I liked that the poet was a free-spirited man and a bit rebellious! I can see why you would like his writing, Sanaa. I can't imagine being married at 13 though. Sigh.

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    1. Thank you so much, Mary!πŸ’ž People in that era were highly conservative and weird to be quite honest.. early marriages were common and considered to be a good thing .. though I strongly disagree. I believe marriage is an important decision and cannot be rushed. I love Ghalib's ghazals and use to study them as part of syllabus in college.😊

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    2. I agree that marriage is an important decision and cannot be rushed. It was nice to learn about Ghalib really, especially since his writings seem so well known to you personally.

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    3. Thank you once again, Mary!πŸ’ž☕

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  5. What a lovely feature, Sanaa. I love the work of mystical ports from earlier times. What an interesting life story....he wrote such lovely poems. Sigh. Thank you for this.

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    1. Thank you so much, Sherry!πŸ’ž He indeed led a very interesting life .. what struck me the most was that Ghalib also wrote masnavi (moralistic or mystical parable), and qasidah (panegyric).. will definitely look more into it☕

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  6. This is a wonderful share, Sanaa. Love your reading, too. I shall look closely at his book of poems and letters. Thank you!

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    1. Thank you so much, Khaya 😍 so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž☕

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  7. A wonderful share on this poet, who dares change in his time
    Thanks Sanaa

    MuchπŸ•Š❤πŸ•Šlove

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    1. Thank you so much, Gillena 😊 so glad you liked it πŸ’ž

      Much🌹🌻🌷love

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  8. "Koi mere dil se pooche tere teer-e-neemkash ko
    Ye khalish kahan se hoti, jo jigar ke paar hota"

    Something which comes to mind when I think of Ghalib — thanks for this lovely feature, Sanaa!

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    1. Waaah waaah!πŸ’ž To that I would have to say,

      "Yeh masaail-e-tasawwuf, yeh tera bayaan 'GHalib'
      tujhe hum walee samajhate, jo na baada_khwaar hota.


      Thank you so much, Anmol 😊 so glad you enjoyed itπŸ’ž☕

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  9. Thank you for this wonderful share Sanaa. I enjoyed your reading too!

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda 😍 so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž☕

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  10. Thank you Sanaa. I appreciate being exposed to poets from different cultures. I love that last poem.

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    1. Thank you so much, Myrna 😍 so glad you liked itπŸ’ž☕

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  11. Sanaa, Thank you so much for telling us more about Mirza Ghalib. I was always intrigued by the quotes you shared with your poetry in the past. It is wonderful--and enlightening--to see where he comes from, and reading the way he chose to react to his life's troubles is rather inspiring. Also, I can see his influence dancing in your writing.

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    1. Thank you so much, Magaly 😍 so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž☕

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  12. A fascinating, well researched and edifying post, Sanaa. You have featured some beautiful and compelling lines of poetry from Mirza Ghalib. I often think to myself, it must be challenging to settle on a sampling of poems when putting together a brief synopsis of a writer's body of work - and I think you chose very well, here. I very much enjoyed your recitation. You have a lovely voice - and it was a pleasure to listen to your reading. Thanks for this, Sanaa!

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    1. Thank you so much, Wendy 😍 so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž☕

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  13. Thank you, Sanaa, for this very lovely and informative post.
    i think poetry transcends all language barriers, and we may argue that the translations may not do justice to the original, but otherwise how are we to enjoy the poetry of these poets who write in other languages?
    i have come to love the ghazal in English, though at first i thought it was best left to the Persian and pan-Indian languages. I find there is a certain musicality in it, perhaps due to its form. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Lee San 😊 so glad you enjoyed it!πŸ’ž☕

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