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Hazaaron khwahishen aisi… Mirza Ghalib

Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dum nikle…

Thousands of desires, each worth dying for…

Mirza ‘Asadullah Baig Khan’ Ghalib

Actor 'Naseeruddin Shah' playing  Mirza Ghalib

Actor ‘Naseeruddin Shah’ playing Mirza Ghalib

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 him/her responsible
for the blood which will continuously flow through my eyes all my life

We have heard about the dismissal of Adam from Heaven,
With a more humiliation, I am leaving the street on which you live…

Oh tyrant, your true personality will be known to all
if the curls of my hair slip through my turban!

But if someone wants to write her a letter, they can ask me,
every morning I leave my house with my pen on my ear.

In that age, I turned to drinking
and then the time came when my entire world was occupied by jus drinks

From whom I expected justice/praise for my weakness
turned out to be more injured with the same cruel sword

When in love, there is little difference between life and death
we live by looking at the infidel who we are willing to die for

Put some pressure on your heart to remove that cruel arrow,
for if the arrow comes out, so will your heart…and your life.

For god’s sake, don’t lift the cover off any secrets you tyrant
the infidel might turn out to be my lover!

The preacher and the bar’s entrance are way apart
yet I saw him entering the bar as I was leaving!

thousands of desires, each worth dying for…
many of them I have realized…yet I yearn for more

— xxx —

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 nikle

Nikalna khuld se aadam ka soonte aaye hain lekin,

Bahot be-aabru hokar tere kooche se hum nikle

Bharam khul jaaye zaalim! teri qaamat ki daraazi ka,

Agar is tarahe par pech-o-kham ka pech-o-kham nikle

Magar likhvaaye koi usko khat, to hum se likhvaaye,

Hui subaha, aur ghar se kaan par rakh kar qalam nikle

Hui is daur mein mansoob mujh se baada aashaami,

Phir aaya voh zamaana, jo jahaan mein jaam-e-jaam nikle

Hui jin se tavaqqa khastagi ki daad paane ki,

Voh ham se bhi zyaada khasta e tegh e sitam nikle

Mohabbat mein nahin hai farq jeenay aur marnay ka,

Usi ko dekh kar jeetay hain, jis kaafir pe dam nikle

Zara kar jor seene par ki teer-e-pursitam niklejo,

Wo nikle to dil nikle, jo dil nikle to dam nikle

Khuda ke waaste parda na kaabe se uthaa zaalim,

Kaheen aisa na ho yaan bhi wahi kaafir sanam nikle

Kahaan maikhane ka darwaaza Ghalib aur kahaan vaaiz,

Par itna jaantay hain kal voh jaata tha ke ham nikle

Hazaaron khwahishen aisi ke har khwahish pe dam nikle,

Bohat niklay mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle…

— xxx —

His original Takhallus (pen-name) was Asad, drawn from his given name, Asadullah Khan. At some point early in his poetic career he also decided to adopt the pen-name of Ghalib meaning all conquering, superior, most excellent. Born in  Kala Mahal in Agra at the end of 18th century. Around 1810, he was married to Umrao Begum, daughter of Nawab Ilahi Bakhsh Khan of Loharu. With Umrao Begum, he had seven children, none of whom survived and this pain also found its echo in some of his ghazals. There are conflicting accounts of his relationship with his wife, she was considered to be pious, conservative and God-fearing Muslim lady who remained largely inside the home. While he was famous for his love of drinks and Chaudavin – the dancing girl. He died in Delhi on 15 February 1869.

 Mirza Ghalib was proud of his reputation. He was once imprisoned for gambling and subsequently relished the affair with pride. In the Mughal court circles, he even acquired a reputation as a “ladies’ man’. The house where he lived in Gali Qasim Jaan, Ballimaran, Chandni Chowk, in Old Delhi has now been turned into ‘Ghalib Memorial’ and houses a permanent Ghalib exhibition.

Ghalib was a very liberal mystic who believed that the search for God within liberated the seeker from the narrowly Orthodox Islam, encouraging the devotee to look beyond the letter of the law to its narrow essence. His Sufi views and mysticism is greatly reflected in his poems and ghazals. Like many other Urdu poets, Ghalib was capable of writing profoundly religious poetry, yet was skeptical about the literalist interpretation of the Islamic scriptures. In his works, he staunchly disdained the Orthodox Muslim Sheikhs of the Ulema, who in his poems always represent narrow-mindedness and hypocrisy. Ghalib believed that if God laid within and could be reached less by ritual than by love, then he was as accessible to Hindus as to Muslims. As a testament to this, he would later playfully write in a letter that during a trip to Benares, he was half tempted to settle down there for good and that he wished he had renounced Islam, put a Hindu sectarian mark on his forehead, tied a sectarian thread around his waist and seated himself on the banks of the Ganges so that he could wash the contamination of his existence away from himself and like a drop be one with the river.

Mirza Ghalib belonged to a family descended from Aibak Turks who moved to Samarkand, Uzbekistan to India after the downfall of the Seljuk kings. His paternal grandfather, Mirza Qoqan Baig Khan, was a Saljuq Turk who had immigrated to India from Samarkand during the reign of Ahmad Shah (1748–54).

Mirza Abdullah Baig Khan (Ghalib’s father) got married to Izzat-ut-Nisa Begum, and then lived at the house of his father-in-law. He was employed first by the Nawab of Lucknow and then the Nizam of Hyderabad, Deccan. He died in a battle in 1803 in Alwar and was buried at Rajgarh (Alwar, Rajasthan). Ghalib was a little over 5 years of age at the time of his father’s death. He was raised by his Uncle Mirza Nasrullah Baig Khan who, at that time, was the governor of Agra under the Marathas.  He  moved to Delhi after marriage at the age of 13, along with his younger brother, Mirza Yousuf Khan, who had developed schizophrenia at a young age and later died in Delhi during the chaos of 1857. In one of his letters he describes his marriage as the second imprisonment after the initial confinement that was life itself. The idea that life is one continuous painful struggle which can end only when life itself ends, is a recurring theme in Mirza Ghalib’s poetry.

 

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