Ghalib - Translated by Ziauddin Ahmed

Naqsh faryadee hai kiss ke shokhiay tahreer ka

Kaghazee hai pairahan her paikaray tasweer ka 


Whose dazzling work
does the impression stricture.
Of paper is the robe,
of every figure in the picture. 

(The impression – the picture or creation, is questioning, crying out loud, for having been given the brilliance and the joy of being created; brought into existence and bestowed with the knowledge and consciousness of it. Yet there is lament and pain of awareness because all is temporary and short lived, just like the dress of paper of each figure face in the picture.) 

Kavay kavay sakht jani hai tanhayee na pooch
Subh karna shaam ka lana hai jooyeh sheer ka
Trial upon trial, torture is life;
Ah!  of loneliness  do not talk.
To go through the night till dawn,
Is to dig a milk canal through a rock.

(Life is full of ups and downs, trials and tribulations at every stage, yet each individual has to go through it by himself. One cannot live anyone’s life nor can another live  for someone  else. Each has to bear his own burden. So much so that even some thoughts cannot be shared with another. Hence the feeling of  extreme loneliness. Remember all heights are lonely and the more unique the idea the greater the feeling of isolation.)


Jazba bay ikhtiaaray shooq dekha chahiyeh
Seenae shamsheer say bahir hai dam shamsheer ka
Watch the spirit
of the untamed desire;
Beyond the chest
is the sword’s own ire.

(A desire over which there is no control is akin to a sword whose sharpness is outside of it    -- on its edge, not within the body where it may be harnessed or  controlled.) 

Agahee damay shuneedan jis qadar chahay bichaey
Mudda-ae unqua hai apnay alamay taqreer ka
Spread the sense of awareness
to its ultimate extent.
Unique and rare is the topic
of my sacrament.

( Here the poet says, however hard one may try to understand, grasp and master his poetry and its philosophy, it will be really difficult to do so for the subject matter he deals with is  quite rare, obscure and unique.)


Buskay hoon Ghalib aseere may be aatish zaeray pa
Munh e  aatish deeda hai halqa meri zangeer ka
Though  incarcerated, O’ Ghalib,
Yet have fire under my feet.
Each link of my fetter is
like hair, curled with intense heat.


( Although man is imprisoned and cannot escape from the burden of life, yet he is always restless and keeps on trying. Each link of the chain of life seems to be formed out of hot metal  that has curled up like a hair does with intense heat. )


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