Tag Archives: Couplet

The complaint

Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib was one of the greatest poets who ever lived in the Mughal Empire. More than his poetry, it is his life and love for life that I find quite inspiring. Undoubtedly, his words have inspired generations of poets that followed him and I still find his diwan (collection of poetic writings) to be quite delightful. The first couplet of the diwan is reproduced below:

نقشِ فریادی  ہے  کس کی  شوخیِ تحریر  کا

کاغذی    ہے   پیرہن    ہر  پیکرِ  تصویر  کا

Naqsh-e-faryaadi hai kis ki shaukhi-e tehreer ka

Kagazi hai pairahan har paikar-e tasveer ka

A rather simplified meaning of this couplet is:

This sign made by the one who complaints

Is it a mischief through writing?

Every image worthy of being admired

Wears paper thin clothes

Obviously, different thinkers and critics have applied their own meanings to the words and a very powerful as well as detailed explanation (along with criticism) can be found at the Ghalib index maintained by Columbia University. I suggest you read it if you’re so inclined. It does explain a lot of the difficulty in translating poetic thought, particularly from languages such as Persian and Urdu. As I reflected on Ghalib’s words, a rather dismal ghazal formed in my mind, of which the hasil-e-ghazal (primary meaningful verse) is the second couplet.

ان مناظر  پے  اب  دھیان کون کرے

ترے سامنے تعریفِ جہاں کون کرے

These vistas

Are immaterial

Am I to waste time praising the world?

Or should I admire your beauty?


شوخیِ تحریر تو جرم  ٹھہری یاروں

فریادی  موجود پر، نشان کون کرے

And it is a crime to write

Or to make a mark

The injured party is there

Who registers the complaint?


دیوانگی میں افسردگی؟  ہنسی اتی ہے

ہم ہنسے  رقیب ہنسے،  فغاں کون کرے

A sense of sadness

With a hint of insanity

It makes me and him laugh

But who cries?


کیوں  صدائیں  اپنی جدا  ہو گئیں

آج تجھ کو میرا،  ہمنوا کون کرے

And for some reason

We now have different beliefs

Who today

Will make us sing in harmony


فیضی ضبطِ حالی، اقبالی کم نصیبی

اب  تیرے  در کو،  آستان  کون  کرے

Faiz like patience

Poor timing as Iqbal

Now who shall make your house

A dwelling


کوئی تو  ہے یہاں,  جو من میں  آتا ہے

یوں میری جان کو، جانِ جان کون کرے

You are creeping further

Right into my heart

Turning my life

Into the life of your life


رنگے مرے ہاتھ اسی کے لہو سے

اب مرے ہاتھوں کو، حنا کون کرے

And my hands are soaked

In her blood

Who shall now

Put henna on my hands?


یہ  شہر  تو تیرے  اسیروں کا ہے

جو  قید توں کرے، رہا  کون کرے

This city belongs to those

Who have been ensnared by your tresses

And who can free

Whom you have captured


عجب بے دلی سی ہے سرِ شام

جفا  ہوتی نہیں،  وفا کون کرے

Without her

The evening feels sad

I am accused of being faithless

Who can be faithful?


بس   کر یہ فتوے   بازی   او قاضی

جنہے  رب اک  کرے، جدا کون کرے

Please stop

Passing judgements and sentences

Individuals who are made to think alike

Are alike in action


کچھ سبب تو ہے، کے خاموشی ہے

اک  راز پنہاں ہے،  آیاں کون کرے

There must be a reason

For this silence

A secret, hidden

Who makes it obvious?


ہے تو استادِ بے باک جو سچا ہے

جراتِ گناہ اسکے سوا کون کرے

And it is only I

Who says the truth

This courage to sin

Belongs to none other


اَلصَّلاَةُ خَيْرٌ مِّنَ النَّوْمِ سنا صبحِ ازل

ایسی  پر  سوز  اذان  کون  کرے؟

With first light I heard

Worship is better than sleeping

Who said

Those beautiful words?


Filed under Ghazal, Poetry

Spring and Autumn… عالمِ بہار یہاں پر رنگِ خزاں

I heard a fantastic verse which was as follows:

اسی  تلاش  و  تجسس   میں  کھو  گیا  ہوں  میں

جو میں نہیں تو کیوں ہوں، جو ہوں تو کیا ہوں میں؟


“Isi talaash-o-tajassus mein kho gaya hun main,

jo main nahi hun to kyun hun, jo hun to kya hun main”


The search for an answer and my curiosity

Has me lost in bewilderment

If I am not, then why am I?

If I am, then who am I?


As I thought more on it, the beauty of the lines started forming more words in my mind. I’ve always felt that great art inspires more art and with that measure, the verse above is certainly great art. I wrote something in a similar vein but as the words came to me in a sort of rush, I feel it remains a little disjointed (Particularly the first two couplets). I so wish I could write better and give a better tribute but still, my words remain. You might even consider the first two couplets as a response to the verse above and take the remaining ghazal on its own merits. Limited as they may be 🙂


توں ساتھ ہی تو رہتا ہے جہاں ہوں میں

تبھی  تو  فکر نہیں کے  کہاں  ہوں  میں

You remain with me

Wherever I may be

Therefore I do not wonder

About my whereabouts


کبھی شاہ پھر گدا،  کبھی  رند  یا  پارسا

تیرے عشق میں آخر، کیا کیا نہیں ہوں میں

A king, A beggar

An alcoholic, a pious man

In your love

I took on so many shapes



صد افسوس کے لب نہ کھلے عالمِ نزاع میں

معلوم  ہوا  بسمل  کا،  نعراِ فغاں  ہوں  میں

I could not speak

As I lay dying

I then discovered

I am a silent scream


کیفیتِ  دورِ  حاضر تو  یہی  کہتی  ہے دوست

معرکہِ  حق ہونے کو ہے، صداِ  اذان  ہوں  میں

The state of the world tells me

The battle for truth

Is about to take place

I am the siren’s call


عمر کی نقدی کم ہوئی، چاندی بالوں میں دیکھی

ہے  تو  عالمِ  بہار  یہاں،  پر  رنگِ  خزاں ہوں میں

The accounts of my life are low

I see strands of grey in my hair

I see spring everywhere

But carry autumn within


عشق سے بچیں کیسے کے وہ ہنس کے کہتا ہے

جہاں چاہے رخ کر،  مکان  و  لامکاں   ہوں  میں

How can you protect yourself from love

It smiles and says

Turn where you may

I am here and nowhere


میرے  دل  کے فیصلے، یکلخت  مت کرو  ایسے

ہم سے بھی پوچھ لو، کوئی بے زبان ہوں میں؟

Do not presume to make for me

The decisions of my thoughts

You should ask me

I am not speechless


حبِ  حق کی آواز تو دل ہے، سن کیا کہتا ہے

بیانِ  یزداں  ہوں  میں،  پیامِ  قران  ہوں  میں

Your soul is the voice of truth

Listen to it

It is the word of God

The lesson of the scripture


Filed under Ghazal, Poetry