Saturday, September 24, 2016

Mirza Ghalib best couplets

"Hazaaron Khvaahishen aisi ki har Khvaaish pe dam nikale,
bahut nikale mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikale"
I have a thousand desires, all desires worth dying for
Though many of my desires were fulfilled, majority remained unfulfilled.
Its one of his philosophical Sher where he talks about desires. He says life is all about desires, and it is this desire which defines human existence. He says he has thousands of desire which are so profound that each could consume his life. But in life some desire gets fulfilled while some doesn't. As time passes by, new desires keep getting added in this never ending list of desires. Even if many of his desires are fulfilled, he is never satisfied, coz many still remain unfulfilled, and the ones fulfilled aren’t enough for one lifetime !!!
Ghalib's views as a moderate, madhushala-frequenting, mystic Sufi Muslim made him an icon. Thankfully, he lived in the time of the demise of the Mughal era. Otherwise, God knows how many fatwas would have been put upon him! My favorite is:

Waiz! Teri duaon mein asar ho
to masjid ko hila kay dikha
Nahin to do ghoont pee,
aur masjid ko hilta dek
If your devotion has strength,
then make the Mosque tremble.
Otherwise, have a couple of pints,
And watch the Mosque shake
Aah ko chaahiye ik 'umr asar hone tak,
Kaun jeeta hai teri zulf ke sar hone tak.
A lifetime passes before a sigh shows its effects.
Who would wait so long to see your curls fixed up?
Ghalib laments that it would take a lifetime of sighs of the lover to have an influence (or effect) on the heart of the beloved. Who knows who will live so long so see this fructify. Who will live so long to see your hairs properly arranged and your small nuances (curls of your hairs could mean the tangled/mysterious ways of your life) to get resolved. The poet says these small niceties/concerns of yours may take forever and who knows if I am alive to see you finally free and giving me the full attention that I deserve.

Daam-e har mauj mein hai halqa-e-sad kaam-e-nahang
Dekhein kya guzre hai qatre pe guhar hone tak.
A hundred crocodiles lie ambushed in the web of every wave,
See what happens to the droplet ere it becomes a pearl.
In a net of each ocean wave, lies a circle of devouring crocodiles with hundred jaws. See what struggle a grain of sand has to go through to become a magnificent pearl. The metaphor, the imagery in the lines is simply breathtaking. The poet says that life is full of endless churning (as waves in the vast ocean) and of dangerous obstacles (like the menacing crocodiles on this ocean) and yet my deep love for you and my patience will ultimately make my love, the jewel of my life. This love will survive against all odds slowly growing on to be something really magnificent and worth cherishing.
'Aashiqi sabr-talab aur tamanna betaab
Dil kaa kyaa rang karoon khoon-e jigar hone tak.
Love demands patience but lust is relentless,
What to do with the heart till it bleeds to death!
True love asks for patience but this desire and longing and search is making me restless. How should my heart remain, until I am consumed by this suffering? What color should I paint my heart with till it dies within the agony of love? What should be the mood/temperament of my heart until you destroy it with your whims and indifference? What kind of emotion should it wear until it is killed? The poet says he know love demands patience but what should he tell his heart until it is ruthlessly broken by the beloved.
Hum ne maana ke taghaful na karoge lekin
Khaak ho jaayenge ham tumko khabar hone tak.
True, you'd respond without least delay,
But ere you come to know, I'd be no more.
I know you will not be indifferent to me, but I may have died and turned to dust when the news of my situation reaches you. The poet says that I know you will not be apathetic towards me forever, but it could be that by the time you care to inquire about my well being (or respond to my love); I may be dead and turned to dust. The poet reassuringly tells his beloved, that I understand you will not be indifferent towards me, but who knows I may be dust by the time you get some news of me. One could also interpret it as poet hinting that if his love is not requited he will kill himself for the sake of love and it will be the only news she will get.
Ek nazar besh nahin fursat-e-hasti ghaafil
garmi-e-bazm hai ik raqs-e-sharar hone tak.
Short is our lifespan, as the twinkling of an eye,
The glamour of the court is but the glimmer of the spark.
A single glance (from you) and no more is enough to fill the years (span) of my life and keep me lost in this world careless thinking of you only. That one glance is adequate to make me lose interest in the matters of living. Alternatively one can argue that it could mean the exact opposite where the poet says that - just your one glance is not enough for me and for my existence that is unaware/confused and looking for answers. The warmth of the meeting (between the lovers) is no longer than the dance of the flames burning in the night. The warmth (of the company) provides comfort as long as it burns (as long as we are together) but as soon as it burns out (i.e. we separate), the darkness (despair in our relationship) takes over.

Gham-e-hasti ka 'Asad' kis se ho juz marg 'ilaaj
Shamma'a har rang mein jalti hai sahar hone tak.
Who but death can cure, Asad, the sorrows of this life,
The candle burns in many colors, right till the dawn.
The endless suffering that we call as life, ‘Asad’ has no cure for it other than death. Death eventually would heal all the misery and struggle that existence carries. The candle burns all through the night to the very dawn, burning (suffering) through all the colors and then eventually die out. In the same way, existence would eventually fade out passing through all the shades of life. The candle is the metaphor for life that burns sometimes brightly sometimes flickering and ultimately gets extinguished.
Ranj se khugar hua insaan to mit jata hai ranj,
Mushkilein mujh par padin itni ki aasan ho gayeen.
Once you get used to sorrow, sorrow it ceases to be,
So many hardship fell upon me that they became easy.
"The path,of sorrow and that path alone,
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown".
Bas ki dushwaar hai har kaam ka aasaan hona,
Aadmi ko bhi muyassar naheen insaan hona.
We live in an age where everything seems such a task,
One cannot even afford to be human these days.
The poet says that it is just too difficult to ask (it is nearly impossible a wish) that every work be easy. Even, men do not succeed always (not always possible) in becoming human. They may be flesh and blood and guts, but they lack the spirit and emotion and empathy that makes them human. It is those difficult tasks/situations that separate the real from the ordinary.
Dil-e-naadaan tujhe huaa kya hai ?
Aakhir iss dard kee dawa kya hai ?
Oh naive heart, what has happened to you?
What is the cure for this pain, after all?

Ghalib castigates his heart in the first verse. Oh naive heart, what is the matter with you? Why are you in such a bad shape? What is the cure of this pain? He implies that there is no cure of the pain of love or the pining heart.
Hain aur bhi duniya mein sukhanwar bohot achche
Kehte hain ke ghalib ka hai andaaz-e-bayaan aur.
The world contains many a poet, meriting high praise,
But unrivalled is Ghalib's verse, distinctive is his style and grace.
'Ishrat-e-qatra hai dariya mein fanaa ho jaana,
Dard ka had se guzarna hai dawa ho jaana.
The joy of a drop is to diminish in the river,
Transcending the limits, pain becomes antidote.
Na tha kuch toh khuda tha, kuch na hota toh khuda hota,
Duboya mujhko hone ne, na hota main to kya hota.
God existed when nothing else did, God would have existed if nothing were there.
I have been undone by my being, nothing would have been lost if I were not here.
When there was nothing, God was there.. If there had been nothing, there would have been God. In emptiness, God would still exist. In nothingness Only God would exist. In the beginning nothing was there, except God. If there would have been nothing, God would have still been there. My existence has let me down. Becoming (My being) has defeated me. If I did not exist, what would I be? If I did not existed, what harm would it be?

Ragon mein daudte phirne ke hum nahin qayal,
Jab aankh hi se na tapka to phir lahoo kya hai.
We are not convinced by running in the veins,
Unless it flows from the eyes, it is not blood !
It means: "The blood flowing in our veins indicates that we exist, but does not mean that we are alive. Being alive means being aware of others' pain. The desire to alleviate this pain should be intense enough to make one shed tears of blood." Ghalib was deeply aware of the vagaries of life. His acceptance of human vulnerability and his desire to stand by people in their hour of need is what makes him special.
Yeh na thi hamari qismat ke visaal-e-yaar hota,
Agar aur jeete rehte yehi intezaar rehta.
It was never my fate to be united with my beloved,
If I had lived any longer, it would be nothing but more waiting.
Humko ma'aloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin,
Dil ke khush rakhne ko, 'Ghalib' ye khayaal achcha hai.
We know the reality of Paradise o' Ghalib,
But to keep the heart happy, this idea is good.
We are privy to the the secrets of paradise But it's a notion that's good news for those who greedily yearn for it and their pious actions are in response to the temptation for this reward.What do we have to do with it this paradise? Our work is worship without the temptation of a reward so why would heaven be a temptation for us?
Ghalib says that he knows the truth behind the heaven, but nevertheless it is a useful ploy to keep your heart content and satisfied. In a very accessible manner, the poet questions the concept of heaven after death, but then adds it's a good way to keep the heart pacified and content.
There are many meanings that this couplet can take but I am only sharing the one I believe in. And I have reasons to believe in this translation as this thought has occurred before in his writings.
'Ishq se tabiyat ne zeest ka maza paaya,
Dard ki dawa payee dard be dawa paaya.
From love itself nature has found love's saviour,
found the cure from pain, found the pain without remedy.
Na suno gar bura kahe koi,
Na kaho gar bura kare koi.
Hear not if evil someone speaks,
Retaliate not if evil someone does.
Rok lo gar ghalat chale koi,
Baksh do gar khata kare koi.
Restrain the man who goes astray,
Forgive, if someone is at fault.
Haan woh nahin Khuda parast, jaao wo bewafa sahi,
Jisko ho deen-o-dil azeez, uski gali mein jaye kyun?
So what if he doesn't believe, let him be a traitor,
For those who adore God and love, why go to him at all?
It could also be a Ghalibesque reflection of complete resignation in unrequited love. Ghalib says that yes she is not God-worshiper, she is unfaithful, agreed! One who loves his faith and his heart, why would they go to her street? Ghalib in conversation with someone (presumably the so called keepers of the faith/society). They warn the poet about his beloved's Godless ways and lack of devotion, besides doubting her faithfulness to him as well. The poet with a hint of irritation says that "agreed, she is not god-fearing and its fine if she is unfaithful as well. Why (those who so call love their heart and faith) why do they frequent her street?" Ghalib in other ways hinting that he does not care about his heart and his faith, for he will continue to go after his beloved but those so called moral custodians themselves are aware and maybe frequenting her street and yet preach the exact opposite to him.

'Ishq par zor nahin hai ye woh aatish, 'Ghalib',
Jo lagaaye na lage, aur bujhaaye na bane.
We have no control on love, it is such a fire,
Which cannot be snuffed or kindled at our own desire.
'Ghalib'-e-khasta ke baghair kaun se kaam band hain?
roeeye zaar-zaar kya, keejiye haay-haay kyon?
Without the wretched/devastated “Ghalib”
Has any activity come to a halt?
What then is the need to cry bitterly?
What then is the need to wail and brood?
Although this has been mentioned by Navin in his list, I wish to add it separately for emphasis, along with the interpretation. I find it profound.
Tere waade par jiye ham to ye jaan jhooT jaanaa
ke KHushee se mar na jaate agar 'eitabaar hota
If you believe that I'm alive in the hope that you will fulfil your promise (and be mine) some day, you are mistaken! If I'd really trusted your word, I'd have died of ecstasy the very day you made the promise.
There are many. It's difficult to choose one as the best. I will list three of my personal favorites.
aah ko chaahiye ik umr asar hone tak
kaun jiitaa hai tirii zulf ke sar hone tak
A lifetime passes before a sigh shows its effects
Who would wait so long to see you fixing the tangles in your hair
Bazeecha-e-itfal hai duniya meray aage
Hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha meray aage
the world is a children’s playground before me
Night and Day, this theatre is enacted before me
Ek khel hai aurang-e-Suleman meray nazdeek
Ek baat hai aijaz-e-Masiha meray aage
For me the flying throne of Solomon is a game
And only talk, the miracles of Christ before me
Yeh masaael-e-tasavvuf yeh tera bayan ghalib
Tujhe ham wali samajhate Joh na badaakhwar hota.
The marvels of ethical problems and your statements full of meanings.
I would have counted you, "Ghalib" amongst dearest friends of God; if only, you had not been a lover of drinks.
Udne de in Parindo ko Aazad Fiza me ‪Ghalib
Jo tere Apne Honge Wo Laut Aayenge Kisi Roz
(let the birds fly in free air, the ones which are yours will come back)
Allama Iqbal:
Na Rakh Ummeed-e-Wafa kisi Parindey se ‪Iqbal
Jab Par Nikal Aate Hain, To Apna Bhi Aashiyana Bhool Jaatey Hai
(Don't expect loyalty from the birds
when they get wings then our own also forget the home)
As the question is about couplets I would list a few couplets (ashaar) from different ghazals. I would not translate the couplets as translations to me tarnish the beauty of poetry, I would rather give the meaning of some of the khaalis (pure) Urdu words.
मौत का एक दिन मुअ'ययन है
नींद क्यों रात भर नही आती
Ghalib here talks of the paranoia of the inevitable almost all of us suffer from. A strikingly similar set of lines (in essence not structure) comes in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar which goes as follows:
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard,
It seems to me most strange that men should fear,
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.
दर्द जब दिल में हो, तो दवा कीजिये
दिल ही जब दर्द हो, तो क्या कीजिये
ग़ज़ल - दिल ही जब दर्द हो, तो क्या कीजिये ;
क़ैद-ए-हयात ओ बंद-ए-ग़म अस्ल में दोनों एक हैं
मौत से पहले आदमी ग़म से निजात पाये क्यों
ग़ज़ल - दिल ही तो है न संग-ओ-खीस्त ;
क़ैद-ए-हयात ओ बंद-ए-ग़म- imprisonment of life and pain's captive
Ghalib here talks of the pain innate to human life. He had lost seven children; witnessed riots and had an imbecile brother who was a riot victim. All of this is captured in this couplets where he accepts that life and pain concomitant.
रगों में दौड़ते फिरने के हम नही क़ायल
जब आँख ही से न टपका, तो फिर लहू क्या है
ग़ज़ल - हर एक बात पे कहते हो ;
This couplet stands testimony to the sentiments of a poet where in Ghalib states that the blood that merely flows in veins isn't true blood until it carries your emotions (ecstasy/agony) and spills out of your eyes.
उम्र भर का तूने पैमान-ए-वफ़ा बांधा तो क्या
उम्र को भी तो नहीं है पायदारी हाय हाय
ग़ज़ल - दर्द से तेरे है मुझको बेक़रारी हाय हाय ;
पैमान-ए-वफ़ा- vow of fidelity; पायदारी- permanence/certainty
This couplet is a "Memento Mori"( . It reflects that no matter how many vows we make, they are extant till we live.
रहिये अब ऐसी जगह चलकर जहाँ कोई न हो
हमसुख़न कोई न हो और हमज़बान कोई न हो
बे दर-ओ-दीवार सा इक घर बनाया चाहिए
कोई हमसाया न हो और पासबां कोई न हो
पड़िये गर बीमार तो कोई न हो तीमारदार
और अगर मर जाइये तो नौहाख्वां कोई न हो
"ग़ज़ल -रहिये अब ऐसी जगह चलकर जहाँ कोई न हो "
हमसुख़न- person with the same speech; हमज़बान- person speaking the same language; पासबां- protector; तीमारदार- doctor/ someone to take care of; नौहाख्वां - mourner.
I have made an exception here by writing the whole ghazal as all three couplets to me, need to be together to give complete meaning to what Ghalib tried to say. He wrote this ghazal in the aftermath of the Hindu-Muslim riots. These lines reflect his lost faith in his own country and his own people.
PS: These are some of Ghalib's best couplets unordered but there are many more which could be added to this list.
“Poochte hain woh ki Ghalib kaun hai!
Koi batlao ki hum batlayein kya?”
This verse, perhaps, best describes a person's (Ghalib here)
own dilemma about himself.
and the other one is
Hui muddatt ki Ghalib marr gaya magar yaad aata hai…
Woh harr ek baat pe kehna yun hota to kya hota…
Ghalib here is used as a metaphor for not just people but also for incidents in our lives. It mean “even after ages of something that happens in ones life we keep thinking about the What if…
What if I had done so…What if I had not…
What if I said so…what if I had not…
We keep imagining how our lives would be different if we would have done certain things differently, clearly forgetting that while thinking about the “what if”, what you have is just passing you by…”
There are so many writers and I am surprised nobody mentioned this couplet.
Apocryphally, someone asked Ghalib, how does he write such beautiful ghazals?
he answered in following couplet
Sound of pen on paper is steps of an angel. Wow!
aate haiN GHaib se ye mazaameeN KHayaal meiN
'GHalib', sareer-e-KHaama nawa-e-sarosh hai
[ GHaib = hidden/mysterious, mazaameeN = topics, sareer = scratching
sound made by a pen, KHaama = pen, nawa = sound, sarosh = angel ]
I like the existential ones the best, they are also often the most simplest to understand. I have a written an answer to this already, so just providing the link here
"Hathon ki lakeeron pe mat ja aae ghalib
Kismat unki bhi hoti hai jinke hath nahi hote"
Don’t put too much weight in palm lines, oh Ghalib,
Those without hands have destinies too.
Ishrat e qatra hai dariya me fanaa ho Jana,
Dard ka hadd se guzarna hai davaa ho Jana.....Mirza Ghalib
Meaning- It's the ultimate ( not compulsion) pleasure of a drop of water to get destroyed in a river. Similarly, pain also has the ultimate aim of changing itself into a medicine.
Aah ko chahiye ek umr asar hone tak,
Kaun jita hai Teri zulf ke sar hone tak...Mirza Ghalib
A prayer needs a lifetime to get it's effect but who lives till the time you decide to deign. (Your wishes will take more than a lifetime to be in consonance with me. Even the God who takes a lifetime to answer, is doing it before you. I'm not gonna have you either way in this lifetime.)
All of Mirza Ghalib's kids died during their infancy. He then adopted his nephew named ‘Arif’, who also died at the age of 16.
He was emotionally collapsed because of the death of his adopted son.
He composed the Ghazal with 'Radeef' : "Koi din aur.."
I am not writing the whole Ghazal here, i love this 'sher' from it. It completely explains how he was feeling, as if his whole world ended right there and then.
Jate hue kahte ho qayamat ko milenge.
Kya khub! qayamat ka hai goya koi din aur?

English Translation:
Leaving me, you say that we shall meet on Doomsday.
How nice! As if Doomsday is some other day (for me)?
Well, Every Couplet of ghalib hits you and takes you to some other world.This couplet of Ghalib is one of my favourites
Humne mohabbat ke nashe mein aa kar usey khuda bana daala,
Hosh tab aaya jab usne kaha ki khuda kisi ek ka nahi hota.
I considered her my god, too drugged/blinded by my love for her,
It was only then I realised I was blinded, when she quoted that god never belongs to
Zara kar jor seene par ki teer-e-pursitam niklejo
Wo nikle to dil nikle, jo dil nikle to dam nikle
Put a little bit more pressure on the cruel arrow which is plunging the heart,as when it comes out,the heart will come out and so the life
Here Ghalib asks the lover ,who is already hurting that, hurt to such an extent and it will be over for once and all.
Daam har mauj mein hein halqa-e-sad kaam-e-naahang...
Dekhiye guzre h kya qatre pe gohar hone tak.
This was just amazing. How well
it was given shape to match it with the real life circumstances.
Meaning: In every wave there are many traps & crocodiles with 100 jaws. We'll see that a drop of water has to face what type of conditions, on the process of becoming like pearl...
Here Entire Ocean is used for people of entire world. And drop of water is used for an alone individual. Who had to face tough and rare circumstances to suvive. And in return this type of life will convert him from nothing to a person of great value.
Really a motivational and inspirational quote.
Peene de sharab masjid me baith ke Galib
Ya woh jaga bata jaha KHUDA nahi hai !!
The above couplet means ...Allow me to drink alcohol in the mosque, church...if you cannot then tell me the place where there is no God...
This implies that God is everywhere...he is not just confined to mosques, temples or churches...So if I can drink alcohol anywhere else....then why not Mosque or churches.
Masoom Mohabbat Ka Bus Itna Fasana Hai,
Kaghaz Ki Haveli Hai Barish Ka Zamana Hai.
An innocent love has just that story of pain,
A mansion of paper,in the time of rain.
Kya Rasm-E-Mohabbat Hai Kya Shart-E-Zamana Hai,
Awaaz Bhi Zakhmi Hai Aur Geet Bhi Gaana Hai.

What a ritual of love,what a condition of this age,
Voice is wounded and needs a song to stage.
Toota Hua Dil Apna Yoon Unko Dikhana Hai,
Bheegi Ankhon Se Ek Sher Sunana Hai.
In this way,show my broken heart to her,
To recite a couplet with wet eyes to her.
Us Paar Utarnay Ki Umeed Bohat Kum Hai,
Kashti Bhi Puraani Hai Aur Toofan Ko Bhi Aana Hai.
Don't expect to land across,
Dinghy is old,storm to surpass.
Samjhay Ya Na Samjhay Wo Andaaz Mohabbat Ka,
Ek Shakhs Ko Aankho Se Ek Shair Sunana Hai.
They may understand or not this gesture of love.
To recite a couplet to a person.
Yeh Ishq Nahi Aasan Bus Itna Samajh Lijiye,
Ek Aag Ka Darya Hai Aur Doob Kar Jana Hai.
Understand that this love is not easy,
A river of fire and to go drowning.
This verse is painted on the entrance of Ghalib’s Haveli at Ballimaran, New Delhi
Koi veerani si veerani hai,
Dasht ko dekh ke ghar yaad aaya
I wondered if any wilderness would be more desolate than this!
And then I remembered another of the kind – the home I'd left behind
dam liya tha na qayamat ne Hanuz
phir tera waqt-e-safar yaad aaya
Doomsday had barely passed (I had barely breathed a sigh of relief) when the moment of your departure came rushing to my memory (leading to another state of restlessness – another doomsday)
phir tere kooche ko jaata hai khayal
dil-e gham-gustah magar yaad aaya
I’m again thinking of your street ‘but’ that makes me think of my lost heart. Could mean the street reminds me of my lost heart (thinking of the pains I suffered last time) saying that apparently thats where I lost it OR I would like to think of your street again but since my heart is lost, I have nothing to offer this time
Following are considered to be best couplet by Mirza Ghalib
Aah ko chahiye ek umr asar hote tak
Kaun jeeta hai tire zulf ke sar hote tak
A prayer needs a lifetime, an answer to obtain
Who can live until the time that you decide to deign
Bazicha-e-atfaal hai duniya mire aage
Hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha mire aage
Just like a child's playground this world appears to me
Every single night and day, this spectacle I see
Bas ki dushwaar hai har kaam ka aasaan hona
Aadmi ko bhi mayassar nahi insan hona
Tis difficult that every goal be easily complete
For a man ,too , to be human, is no easy feat
Dard minnat-kash-e-dawa na hua
Main na achha hua bura na hua
My pain did not seek favours from any opiate
I don't mind the fact that I did not recuperate
Hazaaron khwaahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikle
Bahut nikle mire armaan lekin phir bhi kam nikle
I have thousand wishes, each one afflicts me so
Many were fulfilled for sure, not enough although
Mohabbat mein nahi hai farq jeene aur marne ka
Usi ko dekh kar jeete hain jis kaafir pe dam nikle
In love there is no difference between life and death do know
The very one for whom I die, life too does bestow
Ragon me daudte rahne ke hum nahin qayal
Jab aankh se hi na tapka to phir lahoo kya hai
Merely because it courses through the veins, I am not convinced
If it drips not from one's eyes blood cannot be held true
Ye na thi hamari qismat ke visal-e-yaar hota
Agar aur jeete rehte yehi intezaar hota
That my love be consummated fate did not ordain
Living together had I waited, would have been in vain
Kaba kis munh se jaaoge Ghalib
Sharm tumko magar nahin aati
Ghalib what face will you to the kaaba take
When you are not ashamed and not contrite
Un ke dekhe se jo aa jaati hai munh par raunaq
Woh samajhte hain ki bimaar ka haal acha hai
Rekhte ke tumhein ustaad nahin ho Ghalib
Kehte hain agle zamane mein koi Mir bhi tha
Dil-e-nadaan tujhe hua kya hai
Akhir is dard ki dawa kya hai
rahi na takat-e-guftaar, aur agar ho bhi,
to kis ummeed main kahiye ki aarajoo kya hai.
I don't have the strength to talk to you,but even if I had,
in what hope would I tell you what I want.
This one I really apreciate and the story behind this ghazal is also very interesting:Himanish Ganjoo's answer to What are some of the most badass poems ever?
har ek baat pe kahate ho tum ki tuu kyaa hai
tumhii.n kaho ke ye a.ndaaz-e-guftaguu kyaa hai
[guftaguu: talk]
At everything that I say, you say, “Who art thou”?
Tell me what kind of talk is this?

na shole me.n ye karishmaa na barq me.n ye adaa
koii bataao ki vo shoKh-e-tu.ndaKhuu kyaa hai
[karishma: miracle, barq: lightning, ada: coquetry]
[shokh-e-tund khu: coquettishly ill tempered]
Neither the flame has this miracle, nor the lightning this grace,
Will anyone tell me, what is that ill tempered mischievous/coquettish one.
ye rashk hai ki vo hotaa hai hamasuKhan hamase
vagarnaa Khauf-e-badaamozii-e-adu kyaa hai
[rashk: jealousy; hamasuKhan: some who converses with you]
[Khauf: fear; baaamozii: mislead]
My envy is that he converses with you
Otherwise what is the fear that he would mislead you (against me).
chipak rahaa hai badan par lahuu se pairaahan
hamaarii jeb ko an haajat-e-rafuu kyaa hai?
[pairaahan: dress/cloth/robe]
[jeb: collar, haajat: need, rafuu: darning]
Sticking to the body is the dress with blood
What is the need now to darn the collar?
jalaa hia jism jahaa.N dil bhii jal gayaa hogaa
kuredate ho jo ab raakh justajuu kyaa hai?
Where the body has burned, the heart too must have been burned,
Raking/poking the ashes, what do you desire for (search for) now?

rago.n me.n dau.Date phirane ke ham nahii.n qaayal
jab aa.Nkh hii se na Tapakaa to phir lahuu kyaa hai?
We do not believe in only running through the viens
When it does not drip through the eye, then is it blood at all?
vo chiiz jisake liye hamako ho bahisht aziiz
sivaa_e baadaa-e-gulfaam-e-mushkabuu kyaa hai?
[bahisht: heaven; baadaa: wine; gulfaam: delicate/like a flower]
[mushkabuu: the smell of musk]
The thing for which paradise is dear to us
Is nothing except the pink, musk scented wine.
piyuu.N sharaab agar Khum bhii dekh luu.N do chaar
ye shiishaa-o-qadaah-o-kuuzaa-o-subuu kyaa hai?
[Khum: wine barrel]
[shisha: glass, qadaah: goblet, subuu: tumbler]
I would drink wine if I see a few wine barrels
What is this glass and goblet and tumbler.
rahii na taaqat-e-guftaar aur agar ho bhii
to kis ummiid pe kahiye ke aarazuu kyaa hai?
[guftaar: speech]
The strength to speak has gone; and even if it existed
With what expectation would one say “What is my desire?”
banaa hai shaah kaa musaahib, phire hai itaraataa
vagarnaa shahar me.n "Ghalib" kii aabaruu kyaa hai?
[musaahib: associate aabruu: dignity]
Having become the king’s associate he is putting on airs
Otherwise what dignity does Ghalib have in the city.
Jala hai jism waha dil bhi jal gaya hoga,
kuredte ho jo raakh, ab zustoo zoo kya hai
These lines are not actually a Shayari but they are very beautiful description of the surroundings where Ghalib used to live
Balli maarhah ke mahalle ki wo pechida daleelon ki see wo galiyan
saamne Taal ke nuKkad pe bateron ke posheede,
gud-gudaati hui paan pi peekon mein wo daad wo wah-wah,
chand darwaaze par latke huye boshida se kuch taat ke parde,
ek bakri ke mamiyaane ki awaaz,
aur dhoondhlaayi huyi shaam ke be-noor andhere,
aise deewaron se mooh jod kar chalte hain yahan,
chudi-waala unke katri ke badi bee jaise,
apni boojhti hui aankhon se darwaaze tatole,
aisee be-noor andheri see gali qaasim se,
ek quran-e-sukhan ka safa khulta hai,
asad allah Khan 'GHalib' ka pata milta hai.
Bik jaate hain hum aap mata i sukhan ke saath
Lekin ayar i taba i kharidar dekh kar
Translated by Ralph Russell as:
I give my poetry away, and give myself along with it,
But first I look for people who can value what I give.
"har ek baat pe kahate ho tum ki tuu kyaa hai
tumhiin kaho ke ye andaaz-e-guftaguu kyaa hai"
Ghalib is not insulting his beloved, but kind of tells her that if she disagrees with him, she could argue, but not shut him up.
"na shole men ye karishmaa na barq me.n ye adaa
koii bataao ki vo shoKh-e-tundaKhuu kyaa hai"
Ghalib is flummoxed trying to describe his beloved. He wants to compare her to a flame but it does not have her fury. He wants to compare her to lightning, but it too does not have her mischievousness or coquetry. Would anyone tell him, what she is?
"ye rashk hai ki vo hotaa hai hamasuKhan hamase
vagarnaa Khauf-e-badaamozii-e-adu kyaa hai"
Ghalib says that he does not care if his enemy misleads you against him. He is envious that you are (habitually/constantly) conversing with him. The lover’s insecurity comes out openly in the verse.
"chipak rahaa hai badan par lahuu se pairaahan
hamaarii jeb ko an haajat-e-rafuu kyaa hai?"
The dried blood causes the clothing to stick to his body and keeps the torn collar in place. Ghalib does not explain the reason for his bleeding in this verse though. However when the whole body is bleeding and hurting, is there a need to be worried about the torn collar?This verse is also a pointer to the harsh realities of life, where bigger misfortunes make smaller misfortune appear trivial.
"jalaa hia jism jahaan dil bhii jal gayaa hogaa
kuredate ho jo ab raakh justajuu kyaa hai?"
The fire (of love) has consumed the body and the heart. What are you looking for now by shifting the ashes? This verse can be interpreted either to mean that the beloved is looking for the heart in the ashes either to check that it is fully burnt with the body, or to see if it can be retrieved. It can however also be taken to mean that when Ghalib seems to be getting over her, she is trying to rekindle the old passions.
"ragon men daudate phirane ke ham nahiin qaayal
jab aankh hii se na Tapakaa to phir lahuu kyaa hai?"
That blood that merely flows in the veins is not worthy of anything. It becomes ‘blood’ only when in the grief of passion/trials and tribulations of life, it flows out of the eyes i.e when the eyes cry the tears of blood, it is worthy of praise.
"vo chiiz jisake liye hamako ho bahisht aziiz
sivaae baadaa-e-gulfaam-e-mushkabuu kyaa hai?"
Save for fragrat flavoured wine, what else can it be,
that for which we persistently pursue paradise
"piyuun sharaab agar Khum bhii dekh luun do chaar
ye shiishaa-o-qadaah-o-kuuzaa-o-subuu kyaa hai?"
Glasses, goblets, jugs and pitchers all are of no use,
even if in the barrels found, I'd gladly drink the brew.
"rahii na taaqat-e-guftaar aur agar ho bhii
to kis ummiid pe kahiye ke aarazuu kyaa hai?"
With a lifetime of waiting, my strength to speak is gone. Even if I could muster enough strength to speak, with what expectations can I say what I desire? Having been ignored all along, what point will it serve?
"banaa hai shaah kaa musaahib, phire hai itaraataa
vagarnaa shahar me.n "Ghalib" kii aabaruu kyaa hai?"
Having become the associate of king, he is pulling on airs,
otherwise what dignity does Galib have in the city.
Ghalib started it in the 19th century .
“Zahid, sharaab peene de masjid mein baith kar
Ya wo jagah bataa, jahaan Khuda nahin”
Let me drink in a mosque; or tell me the place where there is no God.'
Allama Iqbal was not convinced. He decided to reply about half a century later, his poetic reply to Ghalib.
“Masjid Khuda ka ghar hai, peene ki jagah nahin
Kaafir ke dil mein jaa, wahaan khuda nahin”
Mosque is the abode of God, not a place to drink. Go to the heart of a non-believer because there God is not.
Faraz had the last word. (Later half of 19th century) .
“Kaafir ke dil se aaya hun, main ye dekh kar Faraz,
Khuda maujood hai wahaan, par usey pata nahin”
I have returned from the heart of the disbeliever and I have observed that God is present in his heart too, but he just doesn't know it.
The elegance of urdu at its best!
Am surprised this one hasn't been mentioned as yet - it just forces a "wah!" to emanate from your lips.
Since the question asks for couplets and not full ghazal or nazm, I will simply quote the main couplet
ragoN meiN dauDte firne ke ham naheeN qaayal,
jab aaNkh hee se na Tapka to fir lahoo kya hai ?
I am not impressed by the running around in veins,
if it hasn't dripped from the eyes, then what is blood?
And the matla of the ghazal for completeness sake:
har ek baat pe kehte ho tum ke 'tu kya hai’?
tumheeN kaho ke yeh andaaz-e-guftgoo kya hai ?
In every conversation you say "what are you"?
You only tell, what style of talking is this?
haal-e dil nahin malum, lekin iss qadar yaani
hum ne barha dhunda, tum ne barha paya
Surely, the whereabouts of my heart are not known, but even,
As I searched for it over and over, you found it, again and again
In addition, this whole one Ghalib... - Someplace Else
Kahoon kis se main ki kya hai, shab-e-gham buree bala hai
mujhe kya bura tha marna ? agar ek baar hota
What should I tell anyone what it is, the night of sadness is a bad deal. How bad would it be for me to die, had it been just this once?
This one:
"Ragon mein daudte phirne ke hum nahi qaael,
Jab aankh hi se na tapka to phir lahoo kya hai "
The blood flowing in our veins indicates that we exist, but does not mean that we are alive. Being alive means being aware of others' pain. The desire to alleviate this pain should be intense enough to make one shed tears of blood.
This 'sher' is one of my favourite.
Qaasid ke aate aate,, khat ek aur likh rakhun,
main jaanta hoon jo,, wo likhenge jawaab me,
It's literal meaning:
Let me be ready with my reply, while the messenger arrives,
for I already know what she would write in response
And I just love this one :-
Humko maaloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin,
Dil ke khush rakhne ko, 'Ghalib' ye khayaal achcha hai,
It's literal meaning:
Know we, the reality of paradise but,
to please the heart, 'Ghalib' this thought is good,
I've provided the literal meaning of the couplets, because when it comes to 'what they actually mean', it all boils down to translation and understanding. According to me, It's best left to the reader to ponder.
Kal bhi kal ki bat huwi,
aaj bhi kal me beet gaya,
kal phir kal me aaj huwa,
phir youn hi zamana beet gaya
Go haath ko jumbish nahee aankhon mein to dum hai
Rehne do abhi Sagar o Meena mere aage
Meaning: Ghalib is old, weak and motionless; he pleads that so what if there is no movement in my hands, I can still see through my eyes. Please keep the bottle and glass in front of me (to quench my thirst)
The one engraved on Ghalib’s tomb (Mazar-e-Ghalib), penned by himself -
Na tha kuch to Khuda tha, kuch na hota to Khuda hota
Duboya mujh ko hone ne, na hota main to kya hota?
I won’t dare to explain this ! As with other exemplary work of Ghalib, this too has several different meanings.
"unhe dekh kar aati hai chehre pe raunak,
aur wo samajhte hain beemar ka haal achha hai"
"When I look at her, my face starts to glow,
and she thinks this ailing man is fine now
Read this somewhere and it has stayed with me since. Ghalib captures such a beautiful emotion that is a mix of love, innocence and helplessness in such few words. It's almost magical!
Today, (Dec 27th 2013), marks the 216th birth anniversary of this great legend who lives in our hearts through his verses and will continue to live through his incredible work.
This gazal of Mirza Ghalib is one of my favourite. I feel Mirza Ghalib at his natural bin this gazal.
Bazeecha-e-itfal hai duniya meray aage
Hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha meray aage
The world is a children’s playground before me
Night and Day, this theatre is enacted before me
Ek khel hai aurang-e-Suleman meray nazdeek
Ek baat hai aijaz-e-Masiha meray aage
For me the flying throne of Solomon is a game
And only talk, the miracles of Christ before me
Juz naam nahin surat-e-aalam mujhe manzoor
Juz waham nahin hasti-e-ashia meray aage
I acknowledge the face of the universe as only a name
The substance of reality is but superstition before me
Hota hai nihan gard mein sahra meray hote
Ghista hai jabeen khaak pe dariya meray aage
Next to me, the wilderness is shamed into hiding in dust
The servile river grovels in the dust before me
Mat pooch ke kya haal hai mera teray peechey
Tu dekh ke kya rang gait era meray aage
Do not ask what my condition is without you
Just look at your own comportment before me
Sach kahte ho khud bin-o-khud aara hoon, na kyun hoon
Baitha hai but-e-aaina seema meray aage
True, I appear consumed by the niceties of adornment, but of course
An idol mirrors my reflection before me
Phir dekhiye andaaz-e-gul afshaani-e-guftaar
Rakh de koi paimana-o-sahba meray aage
Then witness the blossoming manner of speech
Just place a decanter of wine before me
Nafrat ke gumaan guzre hai main rashk se guzra
Kyunkar kahoon lo naam na unka meray aage
I was presumed hostile where I am merely jealous
Why should I say do not take that name before me
Imaan mujhe roke hai jo kheenche hai mujhe kufr
Kaaba mere peechhe hai kalisa meray aage
Faith retards me, where idols lure me
Kaaba is behind me, the church is before me
Aashiq hoon pah mashooq farebi hai miraa kaam
Majnun ko bura kahti hai Laila meray aage

I desire, my craft is to seduce the desired
The beloved Laila insults the lover Majnun before me
Khush hote hai par wasl mein yun mar nahin jaate
Aai shab-e-hijran ki tamanna meray aage
Joy prevails, but union need not signal death
Yearnings of the dark night of my soul came before me
Hai mauj-zan ik qulzum-e-khoon kaash yahi ho
Aata hai abhi dekhiye kya kya meray aage
Tears of blood create oceans of blood, if only this were it
And yet, what unknown fates must I still behold before me
Go haath ko jumbish nahin aankhon mein toh dum hai
Rahne do abhi saaghar-o-meena meray aage
Even when hands have no movement, sight retains vitality
So leave the accoutrements of wine before me
Hum-pesha-o-hum-mashrab-o-humraaz hai mera
Ghalib ko bura kyun kaho achha meray aage
He is my comrade, my confidant, my fellow carouser
Do not speak ill of him, Ghalib is good before me
One particular Urdu poem by Mirza Ghalib is a special favorite of mine.
Na tha kuch to khuda tha…Na hota kuch to khuda hota…
Duboya mujh ko hone ne…Na hota main to kya hota…
Hua jab gham se yun behis to gham kya sarr ke katne ka…
Na hota garr juda tann se to zanno pe dhara hota….
Hui muddatt ki Ghalib marr gaya magar yaad aata hai…
Woh harr ek baat pe kehna yun hota to kya hota…
When nothing was, Almighty was there,
If nothing were, Almighty would have been there,
My being (existence) has ruined me,
Had I not been, then what would have been?
When I became benumbed with grief,
then why to feel sorry for being beheaded,
If it was not separated from the body,
then would have rested down upon the knee.
It is long time since "Ghalib" died,
but is still beingremembered,
He used to say about every subject,
if these were thus, then what that would be.
Read inquisitively...
बैठा है जो कि सायह-ए दीवार-ए यार में
फ़रमां-रवा-ए किशवर-ए हिनदूसतान है
हस्ती का एतिबार भी ग़म ने मिटा दिया
किस से कहूं कि दाग़ जिगर का निशान है
Translation: -
One who is sitting under the shadow of stone (grave) of his beloved,
Is like the ruler of the great country of Hindustan (metaphor, puns intended :D)
When even delightment of being a dignitary is erased by grief,
To whom should i say sorrow is the mark of being courage .
सियाही जैसे गिर जावे दम-ए-तहरीर काग़ज़ पर
मिरी क़िस्मत में यूँ तस्वीर है शब-हा-ए-हिज्राँ की
Like ink falls while writing on the paper,
My fate has portrait of same with nights separated from my beloved...
I don't know if it is the best but it is my favourite one.
Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi
Hazaaron khwaishein aisi ke har khwaaish pe dam nikle,
Bahut nikle mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle..
Thousands of desires, each worth dying for,
I have realized many of my wishes; yet I yearn for more..
Nikalna khuld se aadam, ka sunte aae the lekin,
Bahut be aabroo ho kar tere kuche se ham nikle..
Often have we heard about Adam's exile from Eden,
With even more humiliation I walked out from your door..
Mohabbat mein nahin hai farq jeene aur marne ka,
Usi ko dekh kar jeete hain, jis kaafir pe dam nikle.
When in love, there is little difference between life and death,
The same infidel is my life, for whom I could give my last breath..
Khuda ke waaste parda na kaabe se uthaa zaalim,
Kaheen aisa na ho yaan bhi wahi kaafir sanam nikle..
For God's sake, don't lift your veil,
The infidel may turn out to be my lover..
Kahaan maikhana ka darwaaza Ghalib, aur kahaan waiz,
Par itna jante hain kal woh jaata tha ke ham nikle.
Aren't the doors of the Preacher and the Bar poles apart?
But yesterday I saw him enter, as I was coming out..
If I have to pick only one stanza then it would be :
"Mohabbat mein nahin hai farq jeene aur marne ka,
Usi ko dekh kar jeete hain, jis kaafir pe dam nikle."
Tumhe Gairon Se Kab Fursat,
Hum Apne Gum Se Kab Khali,
Chalo Bas Ho Chuka Milna,
Na Tum khali Na Hum Khali.
You are never free from strangers,
Neither am I free from my sorrow,
Nevertheless we shall never meet,
Neither are you free nor am I.
This is not a single but a sequence of couplets regarding the appropriate place to drink wine by some great poets including Mirza Ghalib.
Ghalib: Sharab peene do Masjid mein baith kar
Ya woh jagah batao jaha khuda nahi.
To this Iqbal replied,
Iqbal: Masjid Khuda ka ghar hai, peene ki jagah nahi
Kafir ke dil mein ja waha khuda nahi.
Faiz added to this,
Faiz: Kafir ke dil se aaya hu main ye dekh kar
Khuda maujood hai waha par use pata nahi.
Then came Wasi,
Wasi: Khuda to maujood duniya mein har jagah hai
Tu jannat mein ja waha peena mana nahi.
Finally Saqi,
Saqi: Peeta hu gam-e-duniya bhulane ke liye,
Jannat mein kaunsa gam hai isiliye waha peene me maza nahi.
Ghalib: Let me drink in Mosque
Or tell me the place where Allah(God) is absent.
Iqbal: Mosque is God's home, go to infidel's heart
God is absent there.
Faiz: I'm coming from infidel's heart seeing that
God is present there but he doesn't know it
Wasi: God is present everywhere
Go to heaven, drinking is not forbidden there
Saqi: I drink to forget grief
there is no grief in heaven hence no fun in drinking.
har ek bat pe kahte ho ke tum ke tu kya ha,
tumhee kaho ke yeh andaze guftugu kya hai.
(at each thing I say-- you ask "what are you ?"-- you tell me... is this the way to talk ? (literally, the words mean: what kind of style of talking is this ? like in response to a chyck bein serendaded that's tryin her best to put down the suitor each time he says something.
show's Ghalib's creative genius that even hundreds of years back... he could capture such details of human relationships that're timeless and true even today and perhaps forever)
I feel distraught to see so much injustice with Mirza Ghalib here, couplets in many answers either don't belong to ghalib at all (I believe he would have chosen to commit suicide over writing these), or are badly tempered with, It is also to be noted that he wrote poetry in Urdu, it really feels bad to read zindagi as jindagi and aarzo as aarjo in the work of arguably the best urdu poet.
anyways, here goes mine,
Waiz! Teri duaon mein asar ho to masjid ko hila kay dikha
Nahin to do ghoont pee, aur masjid ko hilta dekh
(If your prayers are potent, Mullah, move this mosque my way
Else have a drink or two with me, and we’ll see its minarets sway).
My personal favorite Mirza Ghalib couplets:
“Kaasid ke aate aate khat ik aur likh rakhun,
Main jaanta hun Jo WO likhenge jawaab main “
Before the messenger of my letter returns let me write one more letter as I know what and how my darling will reply .
"Taa Fir n intzar main neend aaye umr bhar,
Aane ka ahad kar gaye, aaye Jo khaab main”
I may not be able to sleep again as she promised to come in my dreams.
“ Hamko unse wafa kis HAI ummeed ,
Jo NAHI jaante wafa kya HAI “
I expect faithfulness from those who do not know anything about faithfulness.
“ N tha kuch to Khuda tha, n hota kuch to Khuda hota,
Duboya mujhko hone ne, n hota main to kya hota”
When I was not in the world then I was like God, when I will no longer be there I will again be like God, my being has ruined me ,what difference would it have made to the world had I not been here.
Aashiqi sabra talab aur tamanna betaab
Dil ka kya rang karun khoon-e- jigar hone tak
Humne maana ke taghaful na karoge lekin
Khaak ho jayenge hum tumko khabar hone tak
(Love needs time and patience to develop but ghalib feels so excited that he finds himself unable to wait and asks his lover whether to be optimistic or not ? )
(He is hopeful that his lover will not deny his love but if acceptance will take much time ,he will die while waiting for her reply.)
ps: poetry can not be translated with the exact feeling. I tried my best to translate .
Being a rookie poet, this question is so great for me to answer!
Kitna khauf hota hai shaam ke andheron mein,
Puch un parindo se jin ke ghar nahi hote...
(How terrifying is the darkness of night/evening,
Ask those birds who do not have a home)
Haatho ki lakeero pe mat ja ae Ghalib,
Naseeb unka bhi hota hai jinke haath nahi hote..
(Do not go by the lines on your palms(hands) 'Ghalib',
Those without hands have a destiny too!)
Dil-e-naadaan tujhe hua kya hai,
aakhir iss dard ki dawa kya hai,
humko unse wafa ki hai ummeed,
jo nahi jaante wafa kya hai...
(O innocent heart, what has happened to you,
What is the cure for this pain after all,
I hope for faith from the one,
Who doesn't even know what does it mean to be faithful!)
Meherbaan hoke bula lo mujhe chaaho jiss waqt,
main gaya waqt nahi hoon ke fir aa bhi na sakoon...
(Call me kindly whenever you feel like,
I am not like time, which cannot come back)
Koi ummeed bhar nahi aati,
Koi soorat nazar nahi aati..
Maut ka ek din mu'ayyan (definite) hai,
Neend kyu raat bhar nahi aati?
Aage aati thi haal-e-dil pe hansi,
ab kisi baat par nahi aati..
Hum wahaan hain jahaan se humko bhi,
Kuch humari khabar nahi aati..
Marte hain aarzoo mein marne ki,
Maut aati hai par nahi aati...
Hazaro khwahishein aisi ki har
khwahish pe dum nikle,
Bahut nikle mere armaan lekin phir bhi kam nikle...
Mohabbat me nahi hai farq jeene aur marne mein..
Usi ko dekh kar jeete hain jiss kaafir pe dum nikle..
(Being in love, there is no difference between living and dying,
I live seeing the person whom I die upon)
Have highlighted the ones I guess people might not have heard much. But, there is an ocean of superb poems, couplets, ghazals and shayari by Mirza Ghalib. So kindly read all the answers available. You'll get a couple of new ones in each answer! :)
So many, here are few of my favorites-
koi mere dil se poochhe, tere teer-e-neemkash ko
ye khalish kahan se hoti, jo jigar ke paar hota
aate hain gaib se ye mazameen khayal me
Ghalib sareer-e-khaama nava-e-sarosh hai
Bas ke dushwaar hai har kaam ka asaan hona,
Aadmi ko bhi maessar nahi insaan hona
(We live in an age where everything seems such a task,
One cannot even afford to be human these days.)
Ragon mein daudte phirne ke hum nahi qaael
Jab aankh hi se na tapka to phir lahoo kya hai
(We are not convinced by running in the veins,
Unless it flows from the eyes, it is not blood !)
Loosely translated, it means: "The blood flowing in our veins indicates that we exist, but does not mean that we are alive. Being alive means being aware of others' pain. The desire to alleviate this pain should be intense enough to make one shed tears of blood."
Na suno gar bura kahe koyee
Na kaho gar bura kare koyee
Rok lo gar galat chale koyee
Baksh do gar khata kare koyee
(Don't heed bad words/ don't speak of the misdeeds of others/ if one is on the wrong path, stop him/ forgive those who err.)
Diya hai dil agar usko,
Bashar hai kya kahhiye
Hua raqeeb namabar hai, kya kahiye
(What can one say if he, too, has fallen in love with her and becomes my rival? After all, he is human too, and has a heart.)
And My favorite one is :
Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikle
Bohat niklay mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle
Daray kyon mera qaatil? kya rahega us ki gardan par?
Voh khoon, jo chashm-e-tar se umr bhar yoon dam-ba-dam nikl
(Thousands of desires, each worth dying for...
many of them I have realized...yet I yearn for more...
Why should my killer (lover) be afraid? No one will hold her responsible
for the blood which will continuously flow through my eyes all my life)
It is extremely difficult to pick "best" couplets since whatever he has written is beautiful beyond measure. These are some of the couplets which readily comes to my mind now.
Yeh na thi hamari visaal-e-yaar hota
Agar aur jeete rahte...yahi intezaar hota!!
Translation: it was not my destiny to meet my beloved; if I were to live an inordinately long life, it would still be an eternal wait!!
Kahoon Kis se main ke Kya hai..shab-e-gham buri balaa hai
Mujhe Kya bura tha marna..agar ek baar hotaa
Translation: who is there, with whom I could share how unbearable are all these distressful nights..i don't mind dying if only I could die once & for all & be done with it instead of dying moment by moment...
Ashiqi sabr-talab aur tamanna betaab....
Dil kaa Kya rang karoon khoon-e-jigar hone tak!!
Translation: the dignity in loving warrants loads of patience, whereas the desire of love per se is given to sense of recklessness;
What am I to do with this despondency of heart, till the love takes me to my total annihilation!!
Ham ne maana ke taghaaful na karoge lekin..
Khaaq ho jayenge ham..tum ko khabar hone tak!!
Translation: I know you won't keep me waiting unnecessarily & accord a suiting consideration to my plight...but I am afraid, by the time you get any news of me..nothing may remain of me but my ashes..
Few more of my personal favourites
Bas ki dushvaar hai har kaam ka asaan hona,
Aadmi ko bhi mayassar nahi insaan hona!!
Translation: every work, every thing we do is with some difficulty, nothing gets done with any ease... For human beings to have humaneness seems quite natural but it is not so & rather rare- what an irony!
Fikr-e-duniya mein sar khapaata hun,
Main kahaan aur yeh bawaal kahan!!
Translation: I tend to think too much about this world & whatever is going on around me..but honestly speaking I am not cut out for it..for I lack the temperament, craftiness as well as the energy required for such pursuits..
Dost ghamkhwaari mein meri, sai farmaayenge Kya
Zakhm ke bharne talak, naakhun ne badh jayenge kya!!
Translation: even if they really wished, my well-wishers can't help me much in alleviating my pains..for so incorrigible I act that I look forward to growing of my that I could scratch my wounds...
Khaanazaad-e-zulf hain, zanzeer se bhaagenge kyun,
Hain giraftaar-e-wafaa, zindaan se ghabraayenge kya..
Translation: someone who is madly in love with your beautiful tresses & is in the chains of your you really think any prison can instill any sort of fear in such a heart..
PS: these translations are only indicative, for it is, if not impossible, then next to impossible, to actually capture the beauty & essence of Ghalib's shayari..
This is one of my favourites:
Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikle,
Bohat niklay mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle...
Thousands of desires, each worth dying for...
many of them I have realized...yet I yearn for more...
Each of the ghazals by Ghalib is a gem. The best one? Each one.
Some of my favourite:
"Taskeen ko hum na royein jo zouq e nazar miley
Hooraan e khuld me teri surat magar miley
Apni gali main mujh ko na kar dafn baa'd qatl
Mere patey se khalq ko kyun tera ghar miley..."
I won't cry for solace,if you cast an appreciative
Your likeness among the fairies of Paradise I find perchance
Do not bury me in your street, after you slay me,
Lest people find your address, when looking for me
"Ragouu'n me daudte firne ke ham nahi qaail
Jab aankh hi se na tapka to fir lahoo kya hai
Jala hai jism jahan dil bhi jal gaya hoga
Kuredtey ho jo ab raakh justaju kya hai..."
I do not believe in only running through the viens
When it does not drip through the eye, then is it blood at all?
Where the body has burned, the heart too must have been burned,
Raking the ashes, what do you desire for (look for) now?
Hum toh fanaah ho gaye uski ankhen dekh kar Ghalib,
Naa jane woh aainaa kiase dekhte hogey.
Mat pooch ke kya haal hai mera tere peeche,
Tu dekh ke kya rang hai tera mere aage.
Hazaron khwaheshen aise ki har khwahesh pe dum nikale,
Bahut nikale mere armaan lekin phir bhi kam nikale.
Hum Nay Mana Keh Taghaful Na Karo Gay Lekin
Khaak Ho Jaayenge Hum Tum Ko Khabar Honay Tak
Rough Translation:
We agreed that you, my beloved, won't ignore me
But I will be left to ashes by the time you'll be privy to my plight
Kafas mai mujhse roodad-e-chaman kahte na der humdum
giri hai jispe kal bijli wo mera aashiyan kyon ho.
roodad-e-chaman => Bad news of the world
Meaning: ( I am sorry I am clearly not good at this:)
A bird is caged and another free bird comes to meet the caged bird. So the caged bird says:
Do not be worried to tell me about the world outside o friend,
If the lightning has destroyed my nest in the woods, I could not have claimed to be my dream home any ways.
Some of the Ghalib's outstanding poetry is here...
Bazicha-e-atfal hai duniya mere aagey
hota hai shabo Roz tamasha mere aagey
This world for me is but a children's playground
Where day and night a funny something is happening around
Meharban ho ke bulao mujhe chaho Jis waqt
Main gaya waqt nahin ,ki phir aa bhi na sakoon
Call me with a little kindness whenever you like, please try,
I can always come because I am not like time gone by
Kyun jal gaya na,taab-e-rukhe yaar dekh kar
Jalta hun apni taaqat-e-didaar dekh kar
Why wasn't I burnt by the fiery charm of my beloved's face
I am jealous even of my ability to withstand her grace
Muhabbat mein nahin hai farq jine or Marne Ka,
Usi ko dekh kar jite hain,Jis kafir pe dam nikle!
In love there is no difference between life and death
We die for the same infidel who is our life's breath
Ghalib is easily the most quotable of Urdu poets. There is not a mood for which he does not have a couple:
Wo aaye hamare Ghar khuda ki qudrati hai
Kabhi hum unko kabhi apne Ghar ko dekhte hain
She comes to our house, God shows His grace
Sometimes we look at her sometimes at our place
Zaid Shamsi's knowledge about Ghalib is only second too Ghalib's knowledge about himself.....
Ghalib wrote about himself....
Hain aur bhi duniya mein sukhanvar bahut achche
Kehte hain ki 'Ghalib' Ka hai andaze bayaan aur
There are other poets in the world, very good, well known
But Ghalib, they say, has a way of expression all of his own
Mirza Asadullah Khan
So many that haven't been included!
Baazecha-E-Atfaal hai duniya mere aage,
Hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha mere aage!
Ye naa thi hamari qismat ki visaal-e-yaar hota,
Agar aur jeete rehte yehi intezaar hota!
Dil hi toh hai naa sang-o-khisht dard se bhar naa aaye kyun!
Royenge hum hazaar baar koi hamein sataye kyun
Dair nahi haram nahi dar nahi aastaan nahi,
Baithe hain rehguzar pe hum gair hamein uthaye kyun!
Naa tha kuch toh khuda tha kuch naa hota toh khuda hota,
Duboya mujhko hone ne naa main hota toh kya hota!
Sair kar duniya ki galib, zindagani phir kahan
zingagani gar rahi tou , naujawani phir kahan
Rough translation of the Galib’s Couplet
Let's explore this world while we can, because who knows how long we may live
And even if we live, how long are we going to remain young …
Ghalib has many great shers, and my most favourite is:
"mat pooch ki kya haal hai mera tere peeche...
Tu dekh ke kya rang hai tera mere aage..."
Don't ask me my condition because of you ( due to Love ). You see your grandeur in front of me.
And this tells about the selflessness of love. When you love someone, you should not want her to love you back...
It's because of you that she is beautiful ^_^
Ghalib bura na maan jo vaiz bura kahe,
aisa bhi koi hai ke sab acha kahein jise?
Which means,
Ghalib, don't mind if the preacher maligns you
Is there someone, who is praised by all?
This one is not a favorite; but it deserves more attention:
Phir dekhiyen andaz-e-gul afshaani-e-guftar;
rakh de koyi paimaan-e-saiba mere aage
Watch then the blossoming of conversation, were someone to place a glass of wine in front of me.
Ditto for this one
Na sitaish ki tamanna, na sile ki parwah
Gar nahin hain mere ashar main mani na sahi
Neither do I crave praise, nor do I care for reward, If my couplets are worthless, so be it
1. kahte ho na denge ham dil agar para paya//
dil kahan k gum kije hamne muddaa paya
1. kahte ho na denge ham dil agar para paya//
dil kahan k gum kije hamne muddaa paya
1. You say you will steal my heart, if found lying around//
But where is a heart to lose, I will argue
mudda'a मुद्दआ مدعا point, argument, complaint , desire, wish, meaning, object
Mudda'ii = complainant
( mudda'ii lakh bura chahe to kya hota hai ..)
2. Ishq se tabiyat ne ziist ka maza paya//
Dard ki dawa payi dard-e-bedawa paya
2. I found the joy of living , through love //
love is my cure and incurable is its pain
ziist / zeest = zindagi / life / existence
dard be- dawa = incurable pain
3. saadagi-o-purkaari bekhudi-o-hoshiyaari //
husn ko taghaaful main jurrat azama paayaa
saadgi = simplicity
pur-kaarii = skill, cleverness
be=khudi = ecstacy, rapture, senselessness
taghaful = neglect, forgetfulness
jur'rat-aazmaa जुरअत-आज़मा جرأت آزما testing courage
3. her innocent guile, her vigilant senselessness //
The negligence of beauty tests the lovers being
( Ghalib the master of contradiction )
I would mention two of my favourites,
kya kahun bimari gham ki faragat ka bayan
jo kih khaya khun - e - dil, be minnat - e - kamus tha...
faraghat - leisure, rest ease; kamus - second stage of digestion
What to say of the idleness of my suffering in sorrow; whatever I eat bypasses digestion and ends up converting directly into blood - as if I am not eating food but drinking blood. "Eating sorrow" and "eating one's heart out" are intended here. The sickness of sorrow has left me so incapcaitated that my food bypass digestion: it is like eating blood.
ta kiya ai agahi rang - e tamasha bakhtam
chashm - e va gar dida (h) aghosh - e vida jalva (h) hai
ta kiya - for how long; bakhtam - to lose at play; chashm - eye; va - open; dida(h) - the eye;
He adresses his own sesne of observation by asking, "O' Awareness, when will you stop judging the value of what you see?
You know well that as soon as you open your eyes (know the real meaning of things), the spectacle will disappear. Notice how the closing of eyelids forms an embrace like that of arms.
I have a dream, Understanding Mirza Ghalib! these are my favorites!
Naqsh faryadi hai kis ki shokhi e tehreer ka
Kaghzi hai pairhan har paikar e tasweer ka
Ye ham jo hijr mein diwaar o dar ko dekhte hain
kabhi saba ko kabhi naamaabar ko dekhate hain
Wo aaye ghar mein hamaare Khudaa ki kudarat hai
Kabhi ham un ko kabhi apne ghar ko dekhte hain
Nazar lage na kahin us kay dast-o-baazu ko
Ye log kyun mere zaKhm-e-jigar ko dekhte hain
Tere javaahir-e-tarf-e-kulah ko kyaa dekhen
Ham auj-e-taalae-e-laal-o-guhar ko dekhate hain
Being a big Ghalib fan, I'll say ke aaj kal this one is my fav:
ghar hamara, jo na rote to bhi, viraaan hota
behr agar behr na hota to bayabaan hota
meaning: even not crying would change nothing, if not veeraan like the ocean, it wouldv'e been veeraan like the desert
fortunately, shayari can be used to explain simple words - we cant use simple words to explain shayari
ye na thee hamaaree qismat ke wisaal-e-yaar hota
agar aur jeete rehte yahee intezaar hota
Rough English Translation :
Ghalib speaks as a lover who has waited his whole life hoping to meet his beloved but couldn't. Now he is about to die and yet he says : "It looks like I didn't have the fortune to meet you (wisaal-e-yaar = meeting with lover). That's alright. I just want to say that had I lived more, I would have still continued the quest."
A few gems which are my personal favorites-
1) ye na thee hamaaree qismat ki wisaal-e-yaar hota
agar aur jeete rehte, yahee intezaar hota
2) kahu kisse mein ki kya hai, shab- e- gham buri bala hai
mujhe kya bura tha marna, agar ek baar hota
3) gham- e- hasti ka asad kya ho, juj murg ilaj
shamma har rang me jalti hai, sahar hone tak
4) mohobbat me nahi hai, fark jeene aur marne ka
usi ko dekh kar jeete hai, jis kaafir pe dum nikle
Love demands patience, desire is restless; What color shall I paint the heart, until you savage it? You shall not ignore me when the time comes, I know, but I may turn to dust before the news reaches you. ---:Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib
My favourite one
Translation will spoil the fun and to be honest I wont be even able to give translation same feel and emotion. so let the words flow as they were written
dil e nadan tuje hua kya hai
akhir is dard ki dawa kya hai
humko unse wafa ki hai umeed
jo nahi jante wafa kya hai
hum hai mushtakh aur woh bezaar
yailahi yeh majraa kya hai
jab ki tuj bin nahi koi majoodh
fir yeh hangama aa kudha kya hai
jaan tujpar nisar karta hon
main nahi janta dua kya hai
This one..
Un ke dekhe se jo aa jati hai muh par raunak
Wo samajhte hai ki beemaar ka haal accha hai.
I think the meaning is pretty obvious, and there are no difficult Urdu words as well.
I am not sure if this is by Ghalib but like it.
Neend toh bachpan mein aati thi Ghalib,
Ab toh bas thak kar so jaate hain....
Sleep was a routine when i was a kid, now its a matter of time when i get exhausted.
Fir usi bewafa pe marte hain,
Fir wahi zindagi hamari hai.
I am again drawn to the deceitful friend,
The life (without control) is again mine.
उन के देखे से जो आ जाती है मुँह पर रौनक़
वो समझते हैं कि बीमार का हाल अच्छा है
(My face lit up with joy whenever i see my lover and he/she thinks that my illness has cured)