Books & Comics

Jannat ki Bada E Gulfaam O Mushkbu – Mirza Ghalib

The Musky Wine of Heaven

Ghalib‘s ‘Jannat ki Bada E Gulfaam O Mushkbu’ translated by Sunil Datta

Each time I open my mouth, the Great One Says: “You-You, who are you?

Help me, How would you describe the style of such a conversation?

A spark is lacking in awe. Lightning lacks playfulness.

Neither has the Great One’s adroit fierceness.

My jealously arises because my rival gets to speak to you;

Otherwise its okay if he ruins my reputation.

Blood makes my whole shirt stick to my body.

The good thing is I dont have to repair my collar.

With the whole body cindered, the heart was clearly burnt.

Digging into the ashes, what’s the point of that?

Blood flowing along through the veins doesn’t impress us.

If blood doesn’t drop from the eyes, it’s not real blood.

My main attraction to Heaven has always been its wine

That musky, fuschia-colored wine we’ve been promised.

If it’s drinking time, I need large containers.

Let’s put away these mingy cups and flagons.

My gift of speech is gone but even if I still had it

What reason would I have to put desire into words?

Since he’s a friend of the Emperor, he oozes arrogance.

How else can Ghalib gain any respect?

— xxx —

Har ek baat pe kahate ho tum ki tu kya hai,

tumhin kaho ke ye andaz-e-guftagu kya hai

Na shole mein ye karishma na barq mein ye ada,

koi batao ki wo shokh-e-tundakhu kya hai

Ye rashk hai ki wo hota hai hamasukhan hum se,

vagarna khauf-e-badamozi-e-ad kya hai

Chipak raha hai badan par lahu se pairahan,

hamari jeb ko an hajat-e-rafu kya hai

Jala hia jism jahan dil bhi jal gaya hoga,

kuredate ho jo ab rakh justaju kya hai

Ragon mein daudate phirane ke hum nahi qayal,

jab aankh hi se na tapaka to phir lahu kya hai

Wo cheez jisake liye hamako ho bahisht aziz,

sivae bada-e-gulfam-e-mushkabu kya hai

Piyun sharab agar khum bhi dekh lun do char,

ye shisha-o-qadah-o-kuza-o-subu kya hai

Rahi na taqat-e-guftar aur agar ho bhi,

to kis umeed pe kahiye ke aarzoo kya hai

Bana hai shah ka musahib, phire hai itarata,

varna shahar mein “ghalib” ke aabaru kya hai

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