Monthly Archives: July 2013

Forgiveness… مجھے معاف کرنا

The notion of seeking and asking for forgiveness is a very complex one. Particularly when there are nuances you want to observe with regard to the act of seeking forgiveness. However, I believe that seeking forgiveness is important, despite many of us seldom understanding how it should be sought. It is not an internal forgiveness since I believe that human beings are very good at explaining things to themselves and giving excuses to themselves for their behavior.

I think that forgiveness has to be sought from others, for the things we did and perhaps more importantly, for the things we did not do. On the subject of forgiveness and the various manners it can be sought in, I was inspired to write a ghazal that I present below.  You might note that the words “Mujhe Maaf karna” i.e. forgive me hold several different meanings in each verse and I hope this poor effort amuses you in some measure.


بارگاہِ رب و مدہوش سلام؟ مجھے معاف کرنا

یا ملکِ  عذاب  و  انعام،  مجھے  معاف  کرنا

In god’s temples

You present drunken salutes? Shame!

Oh lord of gifts and punishments

Forgive me


کچھ غلطیاں تو ہو جائیں گی ہم سے اب

یہ  رت  و  ماہِ  تمام ،  مجھے معاف کرنا

The moon and the atmosphere

May lead me to commit

A few mistakes

Please forgive me if I do


رقیبِ  بد  زبان  سے  ہم  یہی  کہتے  ہیں

جاری رکھیں اپنا کلام، مجھے معاف کرنا

To the ill voiced rival I say

Please continue

What you have to say

Forgive the interruption


نہ  کہ  سکا  کسی  کو  کافر  با  طرزِ  شیخ

گر ایں اسلام؟ ترک اسلام، مجھے معاف کرنا

I could not follow

The hate I was taught

If that’s the right path I break from it

Forgive me


کیوں سنیں کوئی بات واعظ کی کے  وہ

کج  ادا  و بد  کلام، مجھے  معاف  کرنا

Why should I listen

To the narrow minded preacher

With poor manners

I’m better off not listening


کن  بزرگوں  سے  ناتا  ملاتے  ہو استاد؟

رومی و حافظ و خیام؟ مجھے معاف کرنا

Who do you dare

relate to?

Rumi, Hafiz and Khayam?

Hah! Please forgive me!

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Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

Wondrous Beauty… جہاں کی جوانی

  جہاں کی جوانی… Wondrous Beauty

I make a habit to regularly gain some inspiration from the many works of scripture as well the religious traditions of various schools of thought. I have the same level of respect for Lent as I have for Ramzan therefore it becomes rather easy to relate and gain some meaning for the words.

Of course, I do not present a defence for scripture nor do I apologize for it. It simply is what it is and as a reflector on the words contained within it I gain what I can from it. One of the lines I read recently mentioned the case of Moses talking to God and asking God to remove the hindrance he had in terms of using his words. It appealed to me greatly personally as I’m sure that all writers struggle with their words and language. The greatness of the words themselves inspired a ghazal that I present below.


کون  جانتا  ہے  اسے؟   اک راز  نہانی

خوبصورت، سہانی، جہاں کی جوانی

Who knows what it is

A mystery?

Beauteous, Wonderous

The grandeur of nature


اک دلفریب  قصہ  ہمارے  اجداد کا

اک معزز  خاندان  کی معزز کہانی

It is a fascinating tale

The story of my ancestors

An honor filled account

Of an honorable family


ثباتِ جہاں تو  فریب  ہے یاروں

پس ذاتِ خدا  ہے، قائم  لافانی

The permanence of anything

Is mere illusion

The only permanence

Is divinity


ہوتی  ہیں  اکٹھی  یہ  کیفیات اکثر

چشمِ یار انجانی، حالتِ دل طوفانی

These conditions occur together


A stranger’s gaze

A storm in my heart


اجی  آپ  کیا  دل  پے غم لیے پھرتے  ہیں؟

چلیں کوئی اور بات کریں، سہانی سہانی

Why do you go about

Laden with sorrows

Say something nice

Something beautiful


چلے آے پھر میکدے میں استاد؟

چاہتے ہو کیا؟ بچی عزت گواںی؟

Are you back at the tavern?


What do you want?

To lose what you have left?


دعا کرتے ہیں جب زباں ساتھ نہ دے

مانندِ موسیٰ ، حلل عقدہ من لسانی  

We seek help when we do not know

What should be said

Like Moses

We ask for our tongues to be liberated


Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

The Caravan of Life… زندگی کا کارواں

The Caravan of Life… زندگی کا کارواں

On an unseasonably warm day, the idea of a walk in nature is quite disturbing. Admittedly, on any other day where the temperatures hover around 20 and partly sunny conditions exist، I’d happily go on a trail or along a creek enjoying what nature has to offer.

However, on some days it is simply better to go for a walk through the mall. A place which is certainly as far as one can be from nature and in many ways, malls today are the cathedrals of capitalism but they still offer such a wonderful cross-section of life and what life has to offer that some of my best thoughts come to me in a mall. [Aside: It is also usually full of beautiful happy people which is good for the eyes and certain parts of the soul]. In any case, a walk through the mall once elicited this weak ghazal (as i reflected on Iqbal’s me nagreem o me raweem) that I present for you.

زندگی کا کارواں، زیست دریاِ رواں

ہم  بہتے  جاتے،  شعر کہتے جاتے

The caravan of life

A moving river

I flow with it

I say what I want to say


خدا بڑا مہرباں، ناصح ذرا بد زباں

ہم سنتے جاتے،  شعر کہتے جاتے

A merciful God

A furious pastor

I listen

I say what comes to mind


انجمنِ دوستاں، راز ہوے  ہیں  آیاں

دل دکھتے جاتے، شعر کہتے جاتے

A gathering of friends

Some secrets revealed

Some hearts hurt

I say what I had to say


میری قومِ مومناں، با حالِ بے کراں

ہم روتے جاتے، شعر کہتے جاتے

My people are full of hope

But remain in a poor condition

I weep

I say useless things


دل ہے بے ایمان، پر  ہے  رازدان

ہم ہنستے جاتے، شعر کہتے جاتے

I am dishonest

But I keep secrets

I smile

I speak when I need to


کوِ ملکِ دوستاں  تا رہِ  شہرِ دشمناں

اکیلے استاد جاتے، شعرکہتے جاتے

From the house of my friends

To the city of my enemies

I walk alone

I sing while I go to my death


Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

Like a stranger… مثلِ انجان

خوش  تھے  ہم  کے  وہ  بن   آے  مہمان

پر آ کے کچھ بات نہ کی، رہے مثلِ انجان

I was pleased

That she came as my guest

Yet she remained a stranger

For she said nothing to me


حکام   تو  ہمیشہ  نالاں  رہے  ہم  سے

کے جو بات کی,  وہ خلافِ راےِ سلطان

The rulers of the land

Remain unhappy with me

For whatever I say

Goes against their desires


خیالِ یار سے ہر طرف روشنی ہے

وہی نورِ دل ہے تو، وہی نورِ زندان

The thought of the beloved

Brings light all around me

She is the light inside me

The light in my cage


بے  وجہ الفاظ  پےہم نےامید لگا لی

وعدہ عیدِ رمضان کا، آے عیدِ قربان

I fooled myself with words

She promised to come one day

But did not come

Till many days had passed


آخر کار اپنا ہی گریبان چاک کیا

نہ ملا  روزِ محشر،  دامنِ یزداں

I eventually had to rip my own collar

Since on the day of judgement

I could not find

God’s apron


کہتے ہیں تیری باتوں میں کچھ دم نہیں

کہاں   سے  لاؤں میں،  وہ  اندازِ  بیان

They say

Your words do not move us

Where do I find

A moving manner of speech


دل کی بات مغفی ہے معنوں کے بوجھ سے

میرے   نغمے  نہ  سن،   سن  نعراِ  فغاں

A secret is laden

With the burden of meaning

Pay no heed to my joyous songs

Listen to the cries within


جا دیکھ تو سہی شاید استاد نے توبہ کر لی

شور برپا ہے میکدے میں، چلا ماتمِ  رنداں


Mayhap he has quit drinking

A brouhaha in the drinking den

The drunkards protesting in sorrow


نہ ملا فارسی کو پھر کوئی رومی جیسا

خوب  سیرت  و شیریں  دہن،  گلِ  ایران

The Persian language

Did not find another like Rumi

A beautiful man with beautiful words

The flower of Persia

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Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

The Half-Hearted Protest… زحمتِ فریاد

A friend of mine brought to attention the words zehmat-e-faryad. It was used by Faraz in one of his poems and I found it relatively impossible to present a concise meaning of the words/idea in English. The closest I could come up with was something akin to ‘a half hearted protest’. However, it did lead me towards asking what Zehmat-e-faryad would be and how it would be answered. That led to a rather poor ghazal that is produced below.


زحمتِ فریاد کی کے یہ عشق کیسا ہے؟

چِل کے بولے کے، جیسا ہے ویسا ہے!

I complained

About the way she loved me

She said dismissively

It is what it is


دولت  سے  ناپتے ہیں  لوگ رشتے

معیارِ  انسانیت کیا  اب  پیسا  ہے؟

Relationships are measured

With money

Is this now

The measure of humanity?


کبھی  غمِ  روزگار،  کبھی  دل کا  کاروبار

سفرِ دن و رات، ماہ و سال تو بس ایسا ہے

I work

I love

That is how I spend

My day, night, month and year


جواب  نہ تھا مرے  پاس  جمالِ یار کا

ہنس کے بولے، بتا یہ کمال کیسا ہے؟

I was speechless

At her beauty

She smiled and said

How do I look?


چلو رقیب سے بھی ہاتھ  ملا  لیتے ہیں

دشمن تو ہے پر انساں میرے جیسا ہے

Lets shake hands

With her boyfriend

He may be my enemy

But he is a man like me


جلال و بزرگی میں برابری تو نہیں پر

مزاجِ خدا  بھی اکثر  تیرے جیسا ہے

There is no comparison

Between her and God

But there are times

When she behaves like her


دعوتِ گناہ اور وہ بھی رمضان میں؟

کیا سمجھے آپ؟ استاد ایسا ویسا ہے؟

An invitation to sin

In the holy month?

Do you think

I am a sinner?


Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

The school of love… مکتبِ عشق

“Maktab-e-ishq ka dastoor nirala dekha”

uss ko chutti na mili jiss nay sabaq yad kia.


مکتبِ    عشق    کا   دستور   نرالا    دیکھا

اس کو چھٹی نہ ملی جس نے سبق یاد کیا


The school of love has strange ways

The brightest ones are put in detention


A friend pointed out this verse and asked me to explain the meaning. As best as I could, I did and in my limited understanding of the words I felt that it shows how the rules of the schools of love are mysterious. In the real world, once you are done with school, you graduate. You don’t have to go back to school if you don’t want to. In fact, there is only so much schooling you can engage in (as my friends engaged in post-doc research will agree with) before they kick you out. On the other hand, for the more mythical/mystical schools you can stay in and will probably be kept in if you are good at what you do. As I was thinking on the verse, the Zameen of the first line appealed to me greatly and I formed a few verses out of it as follows;

مکتبِ عشق کا دستور نرالا دیکھا

جہاں  پے لا تھا  وہاں اللہ دیکھا

The school of love

Has strange ways

Where there was nothing

I saw nothing but God


گھر تو کعبہ  پر مکاں  دلِ  عاشق؟

رب کے رہنے کا انداز نرالا دیکھا

A house of worship

Is said to be God’s house

Yet strangely she resides

In the heart of a lover


بے ادبی کی جا کہاں تیرے سامنے

گستاخ نے اپنا  ہی مونھ  کالا دیکھا

Who can dare to be rude?

In manner towards you

Those who are

Find themselves debased


انتظارِ یار میں کچھ حاصل نہ ہوا

کئیں بار کاٹ کے یہ چللہ دیکھا

Little was ever gained

Waiting for her

I tried doing that

So many times


استاد  تو اب  ملتا  ہی نہیں ہمیں

ہر جگہ میں نے اسے بلا دیکھا

I can not find myself


Even though

I invited myself to many places


Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

An Apology to Ghalib… دیر و حرم و آستاں

I was driving (getting on the highway ramp) when I saw a sign that basically meant that non-motorized vehicles or pedestrians were not permitted to use the ‘path’ meant only for cars. It triggered a rather philosophical idea in my mind that paths were first made by the footsteps of man/animal and walking on roads used to be an essential means for us to get around until Von Otto went about creating the infernal contraption which eventually led to our present evolution of suburbia. In this day and age, if we simply sat down by the highway, in a few minutes (or perhaps hours) a cop would roll by and ask us to move. Essentially defying the question asked by Ghalib in the very famous verse

Dair Nahi Haram Nahi Dar Nahi Asstaan Nahi

Baithein hein Rahguzar pay hum, ghair humay uthay kyon?

Which in loose translation means;

Its not a temple, nor a mosque, nor a doorway nor a hermitage

I sit by the wayside, why should someone ask me to move?

I confess, sitting on the side of a road and watching people go by is one of my favorite wastes of time. Particularly on a nice day with a reasonable cup of coffee and a laptop to get some work done (yes there are bills to pay!). But obviously, as opposed to Ghalib, we can no longer reasonably engage in that activity everywhere. That led me to thinking about being asked to move or being asked to get out of the way of cars which made me tap out a few verses (parked on the side of the highway no less) which I present below.

دیر  و  حرم  و آستاں تو دور کی بات

یاں تو رہگزر سے بھی اٹھا دیتے ہیں

Temples, mosques and hermitages

Are a distant concern

They would move you

Even from the wayside

سچ گواب بچتے ہیں سب کی نگاہ سے

کے لوگ اب سچائی کی سزا دیتے ہیں

Those who speak the truth

Often have to hide

People punish you

For saything the truth

کس خوش گوئی سے کج کلام ہیں وہ

ذرا سی بات کہ کے دل جلا دیتے ہیں

With eloquence,

She says biting words

With a few sentences

She can set my mind to flame

ریا و سیاہ کاری میں ہماری عمر کٹی

سفرِ آخر پے کیوں سفید قبا دیتے ہیں؟

I spent my life in sin and hypocrisy

My black deeds cover me

Yet on my final journey

I’ve been given a white shroud

آؤ مانندِ موسیٰ  کسی طور پے چڑھیں

سنا کے رب جلوہ بھی دکھا دیتے ہیں

Let us go you and I

To a mount like the one Moses climbed

I hear that it is possible

To see the sight of God

عمر بھر  کسی نے قدر نہ  کی ہمری

بعدِ موت کیا ہیرا سمجھ دبا دیتے ہیں؟

I held no value for anyone

While I lived

But now

They bury me as I were a treasure

خاموشیِ بتاں  پے توں دل برا مت کر

حسین خامشی سے ہی رضا دیتے ہیں

If the idol remains silent

Do not despair

I hear that the beauteous

Give approval through silence

غمِ عشق  پے روتا  ہے  کیوں  استاد؟

اس کھیل میں غم بھی مزہ دیتے ہیں

The sorrow of love

Should not move you to tears

In this game even sorrows

Bring joy


Filed under Ghazal, Poetry