Sunday, 9 March 2008

Faiz - Naagahaan aaj mere taar-e-nazar se

We recently looked at those two ghazals, one by Mir and the other by Ghalib, that ended in the radif 'mere baad' - remember?

I recalled today that Faiz has pulled a rather neat trick in one of his nazms, managing to pull in an entire sher from the Ghalib ghazal above, but in a totally transformed context and mood. Let's have a decko, shall we?

Naagahaa.n aaj mere taar-e-nazar se kaT kar
TukDe TukDe hue aafaaq pe khurshiid-o-qamar
ab kisii simt andheraa na ujaalaa hogaa
bujh gaii dil kii tarah raah-e-wafaa mere baad
dosto.n, qaafilaa-e-dard kaa ab kyaa hogaa?
Ab koii aur kare parvarish-e-gulshan-e-gham
dosto.n, khatm huii diida-e-tar kii shabnam
tham gayaa shor-e-junuun, khatm huii baarish-e-sang
khaak-e-raah aaj liye hai lab-a-dildaar ka rang
kuu-e-jaanaa.n mei.n aaj khulaa hai mere lahuu kaa parcham
dekhiye dete hai.n kis kis ko sadaa mere baad
“kaun hotaa hai hariif-e-mai-e-mard-afgaan-e-ishq?”
hai muqarrar lab-e-saakii pe salaa mere baad

नागहाँ आज मेरे तार-ए-नज़र से कट कर

टुकड़े टुकड़े हुए आफ़ाक़ पे खुरशीद-ओ-क़मर

अब किसी सिम्त अँधेरा न उजाला होगा

बुझ गई दिल की तरह राह-ए-वफ़ा मेरे बाद

दोस्तों, क़ाफिला-ए-दर्द का अब क्या होगा ?

अब कोई और करे परवरिश-ए-गुलशन-ए-ग़म

दोस्तों, ख़त्म हुई दीदा-ए-तर की शबनम

थम गया शोर-ए-जूनून, ख़त्म हुई बारिश-ए-संग

ख़ाक-ए-राह आज लिए है लब-ए-दिलदार का रंग

कू-ए-जानां में आज खुला है मेरे लहू का परचम

देखिये देते हैं किस किस को सदा मेरे बाद

"कौन होता है हरीफ़-ए-मय-ए-मर्द-अफ़गान-ए-इश्क?"

है मुक़र्रर लब-ए-साकी पे सला मेरे बाद

Suddenly today, cut by the thread/darkness of my glance,
(scattered) in pieces (all over) the heavens, are the sun and moon;
in no direction shall there now be darkness...or light;
the path of faithfulness lies extinguished (darkened) like a heart, after me
friends, what shall become of the caravan of suffering...?

Let someone else now nurture the garden of pain,
friends, the dew of (my) wet eyes has run out,
The clamour of madness has ceased, the downpour of stones has let up.

The dusts of the pathway have taken the hue of the sweetheart's lips, today,
(for) the ensign of my blood has opened out on the beloved's street, today.

Let us see who all they will call out for, after me;
"who shall be equal to the man-slaying wine of love?!"
the cry is constant on the saaqi's lips...after me.

This short piece appeared under the title of 'khatm hui baarish-e-sang' in Faiz's Dast-e-tah-e-Sang (hand beneath the stones). The tone is intensely political, of course - as in almost every poem in this collection. But, apart from the clever use of the last two lines - lifted verbatim from Ghalib - the poem is also notable for its rather unusual technical elements. In particular, note how the rhyme-structure and the sense-structure of the lines diverge in a maddeningly deliberate way...namely, the lines that rhyme with each other more than often belong to distinct thought-units... a very intriguing piece of construction, this.

Some points worth revisiting:
'naagahaan' denotes a sudden, unexpected, occurrence, usually accidental. The nicest part of this first line is probably the 'taar-e-nazar'. The common sense in which 'taar' is used, i.e. a wire or a string, lends meaning to the 'slicing' of the sun and moon that the line evokes; but this meaning is given further beauty by the alternative meaning of 'taar' which is 'darkness' (as a diminutive form of taariqii) - it is, thus, equally the 'darkness' of the glance that has laid waste to the sun and moon, scattering their pieces all over the horizons. And it is this condition - wherein (mere) fragments of the sun and moon dot the entire sky - which makes for that statement about every place being neither adequately lighted nor properly darkened. simt is usually used in the sense of 'direction', but equally means a path or passage towards something. Which, in turn, links up intriguingly with the next line, about the path of devotion having been 'extinguished' like a heart (when used for a heart, bujhnaa would imply being beset by sorrow or depression, of course).

And baarish-e-sang is such an expressive expression, isn't it? A sort of hailstorm of stones, perhaps...?

Parcham is a flag or an emblem (or, more accurately, the 'colours' of an advancing army, carried wound up or tasselled on a spear or mace), hence the 'opening' or 'spreading out' of the "parcham of the Lover's blood" on the Beloved's lane, is a beautifully haunting way to signify his life-fluid being spilt there, thereby reddening the soil in a way redolent of the Beloved's lips.

And the two-line quote from Ghalib - how much more challenging it sounds here, in a political context, calling out for successors to the just-sacrificed poet...

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