Mirza Ghalib’s Verses


Ghalib, his Ghazals, his poems, his genius, and his wits have always fascinated millions including myself.

This is my 57th installment. I have received excellent response from lot of friends, both Urdu and non-Urdu speakers. Please know that this is my own, Asghar Vasanwala’s, work and not a forwarding of someone else’s work as some you thought. Please forward this to as many friends you can. Also, please send me your comments/complements. I will appreciate if you forward me email addresses of your Urdu/non-Urdu friends.

Here are today’s verses (she’r) & its explanations in Urdu, Gujarati, and English

For my past work from beginning, please click the following link http://www.mirza-ghalib.org/ and then on left column click Ghalib series. On top of that page, you’ll see 1 to 65 numbers. Please click them one by one and read my past explanations I guarantee you’ll enjoy them.

For Urdu Script Click: http://lists.elistx.com/archives/blank/201005/docWI6pU88ijg.doc

Or http://tinyurl.com/2c3k4cr

This is the 6th verse of Ghalib’s 18th ghazal.

Le gaye KHak meiN hum, dagh-e-tamanna-e-nishat

We carried to our grave, scar of unfulfilled pleasure

Tu  ho,  aur  aap  ba  sa?d  rang  gulistaN  hona

Now, you be and your 100-color rose-garden enchantment

Khak = grave, dirt dagh=scar, pain tamanna = wish, longing Nishat=pleasure

Tu ho=be you ba sad rang= with 100 colors gulistaN=rose garden, garden


Ghalib says, Alas! My desire of enjoying a life of fun remained unrealized and I went to my grave defeated. However, my friend, I wish you a life as colorful as a100-color rose garden.

Finer aspects: This is a very beautiful verse. In two lines, Ghalib has told so many things: 1. man is embodiment of desires; 2. he goes to grave desires unfulfilled; 3. he wishes that the fun he couldn’t have, be luck of his loved ones 4. Ghalib is tangentially taunting his beloved that by denying love, she kept him from fulfilling his dream. Now Ghalib gone, she and her cheers of 100-color rose-garden are left unbothered.

Ghalibologists’ opinions:

“Hasrat’s” and “Saeed’s” opinion: This verse is a taunt to beloved.  Ghalib taunts her that “you didn’t fulfill my desire winning your love and being me in your arms; now I am gone, get busy with your colorful life unbothered”

This is the 8th verse of Ghalib’s 18th ghazal.

Ki  mere  qatl  ke  ba’d  oos  ne  jafa  se  toba

After killing me, she repented: she will hurt no one no more

Ha’e! oos zood-pashemaN ka pashemaN hona

What a swift repenting!

qatl = behead, kill jafa=cruelty, tyranny toba= repentance zood=swift, instant

pasheman=regretful, repenting

Meaning: After spilling my blood, my beloved regretted and promised not to hurt anyone anymore. What a swift repenting it was! How quickly she changed her mind! I wish if she had changed mind before killing me. The word ”Zood PashemaN” —quick repenter is a taunt; it has added a beautiful punch in the verse.

Finer aspects:

This is a universally acclaimed and a beautiful verse. Ghalib in his verses avoid using the same word twice. However, in this verse, Ghalib has used word ‘PashemaN’ twice. Nevertheless, ‘Zood pasjhemaN’ is a phrase. Therefore, this repetition is within the rules of Ghazal.

Ghalibologists’ opinions:

Taba Tabai’s opinion: As soon as she saw my blood flowing, she shuddered: “What did I do”, she regretted. It didn’t take much, her be in rage and kill me; nor did it take much her to cool down and repent — the fickle nature of beloved. Possibly Ghalib used word “Zood PashemaN” – swift repenter to lampoon her. When situation went out of control, she thought of repenting and having mercy.

Aasi’s opinion: When she beheaded me, watching blood gushing from my arteries she shuddered and repented from further bloodshed. Thus, my rivals’ turn for beheading never came. What an injustice! Now, my rivals will live to enjoy her. (King Ashok spilled lot of blood, then repented, and became a Buddhist. Spared relatives of then slaughtered people must have wished if he had repented little early)

This is the 9th verse of Ghalib’s 18th ghazal.

Haif oos char-girah kapDe  ki qismat  ‘Ghalib’

Fie, the misfortune of that four-fist long cloth, oh! Ghalib

Jis ki qismat meiN ho, aashiq ka garibaN hona

That is destined becoming collar of a lover’s shirt.

Haif = fie, contempt girah=knot, a fist length garibaaN=shirt collar, shirt cloth at neck line


Ghalib says, “I pity the misfortune of that four–fist long piece of cloth that is destined becoming lover’s shirt collar” Under spell of love-excitement the collar will be always ripped to pieces; viz. during union with lover, beloved will rip it in hurry in uncontrollable emotions; when away from her, the lover would tear it apart in passion. In the book ‘Aab-e-Hayat’ it is narrated that when Ghalib, after serving time in jail for the crime of gambling, when set his foot out in open, his shirt was so dirty that lice were crawling on it. At this moment, Ghalib ripped apart his shirt, threw it away, and recited this verse.

Finer aspects:

In just two verses, Ghalib tells a history. Old testaments, new testaments, and Quran, talks about Joseph, the Son of Prophet Jacob.  Joseph stepbrothers threw him in a well. A passing caravan found him. The merchant took him to Egypt and sold him in slavery to pharaoh’s palace. Joseph was young and very beautiful.  Beautiful Zulaikha, wife of Potiphar got obsessed with this slave, Joseph. One day, in the palace passage, Zulaikha grabbed Joseph and Joseph struggled to free himself. During struggle, Joseph’s shirt or collar was ripped. For concealing shame, Zulaikha ripped her clothing and accused Joseph of grabbing her. Joseph was thrown in a dungeon. A long time passed by. Finally, his case came for hearing. The Qazi ruled that the rip was on back of shirt. It proved that Joseph was running away and Zulaikha grabbed him from behind. Joseph was set free. This narration is more than three thousand year old. It proves that collar’s bad luck is prevailing for past millenniums. Ghalib pities on this misfortune.

Hasrat’s” opinion: The verse is very good but repetition in both lines of verse has created a bad flavor.

For Gujarati script click http://lists.elistx.com/archives/blank/201005/docXmhsvdF3Ky.doc

Asghar Vasanwala can be reached at asgharfv@gmail.com

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