Saturday, 19 February 2011

Dard - Tuhmaten chand apne zimme dhar chale

One of the founding fathers of the Urdu Ghazal, and a towering figure in the Delhi poetic circles of his time, was Khvaja Mir Dard. He was a contemporary of Mir Taqi Mir, and was actually a respected 'mystic' as opposed to a court poet. He was also as much a writer of prose - with an influential body of theological work - as a poet. However, not all his poetry necessarily shows a 'mystical' bent, and most of it fits well within the generally accepted milieu of the romanticised ghazal world. Frankly, I have yet to read anything particularly striking by Dard, but for sake of completeness, thought we could look at the following ghazal, which is among his more famous ones.

Tuhmate.n chand apne zimme dhar chale
jis liye aaye the so ham kar chale

तोहमतें चन्द अपने ज़िम्मे धर चले
जिस लिए आये थे सो हम कर चले

تہمتیں چند اپنے ذمّے دھر چلے
جس لئے آئے تھے سو ہم کر چلے

having taken a few accusations on to myself, I leave
what I had come (to do), I have accomplished

The farsi word 'tohmat' signifies a suspicion of guilt, a false allegation, an aspersion or calumny. The sher wears a grimly celebratory mood, at the poet having managed to attract all the undeserved indignities that had been destined for him...

zindagii hai yaa koii tuufaan hai
ham to is jiine ke haantho.n mar chale

ज़िन्दगी है या कोई तूफ़ान है
हम तो इस जीने के हांथों मर चले

زندگی ہے یا کوئی طوفان ہے
  ہم تو اس جینے کے ہاتھوں مر چلے

is (this) life, or some (sort of) storm
As for me, I have been slaughtered by this life

kyaa hamei.n kaam in gulo.n se ai sabaa
ek dam aaye idhar udhar chale

क्या हमें काम इन गुलों से ऐ सबा
एक दम आये इधर उधर चले

کیا ہمیں کام ان گلوں سے اے صبا
   ایک دم آئے ادھر اودھر چلے

what interest do I have in these flowers, O zephyr?
(they) suddenly appear here, (and immediately) leave for there

The idea being, of course, that despite their appeal, the sheer evanescence of the blooms makes them unworthy of attention. There's some nice philosophising behind that disdain...

dosto.n dekhaa tamaashaa yaa.n kaa bas
tum raho ab ham to apne ghar chale

दोस्तों देखा तमाशा याँ का बस
तुम रहो अब हम तो अपने घर चले

دوستو دیکھا تماشا یاں کا بس
   تم رہو اب ہم تو اپنے گھر چلے

friends, (I've) seen enough of the spectacle here
you stay on; (as for) me, I'm now going home!

Rather nicer, na?

aah bas jii mat jalaa tab jaaniye
jab koii afsuun teraa us par chale

आह बस जी मत जला तब जानिये
जब कोई अफ्सून तेरा उस पर चले

آہ بس جی مت جلا تب جانئے
    جب کوئی افسوں ترا اس پر چلے

oh, that the heart isn't burn, one can (only) know
when some sorcery of yours works on it!

Some subtle word-play here, which comes from the two ways 'afsuun chalnaa' can be interpreted. afsuun is farsi for a charm, a spell, sorcery or witchcraft. jii par afsuun chalnaa could signify a spell being merely cast on the heart, but, in a slightly different sense, could also specifically refer to such a spell working after being cast. Hence, the sher is playing teasingly with two meanings. In one it is saying merely that the state of the heart will be tested when the Beloved casts her next spell on it. In another, it is a little more playful, throwing at her something like, "we will know that my heart isn't burnt only if one of your spells manages to affect it!"

ek mai.n dil-resh huu.n vaisaa hii dost
zakhm kitno.n ke sunaa hai bhar chale

एक मैं दिल-रेश हूँ वैसा ही दोस्त
ज़ख्म कितनों के सुना है भर चले

ایک میں دل ‌ریش ہوں ویسا ہی دوست
    زخم کتنوں کے سنا ہے بھر چلے

It is just I who is so (specially) heart-wounded, o friend
or else, I hear, so many have had their wounds healed!

Quite a nice one, this! The sher wears a sweetly self-mocking note, wryly observing the bloody-mindedness of the wounds in the poet's heart, which refuse to heal, even though others (who had been similarly afflicted by the Beloved?) seem to have recuperated quite comfortably! There's almost an admission of self-inflicted (not to mention self-indulgent!) hypochondria in the poet's persistently painful pangs...

shamaa ke maanind ham us bazm mei.n
chashm-tar aaye the daaman-tar chale

शमा के मानिंद हम उस बज़्म में
चश्म-तर आये थे दामन-तर चले

شمع کے مانند ہم اس بزم میں
   چشم‌تر آئے تھے دامن‌تر چلے

like a lamp, in that gathering
I had came damp-eyed, and leave with (my) daaman stained

While I don't much like this kind of overt simile-making, one must admit there's some clever imagery at work here. Being daaman-tar, which literally means 'having a wet daaman' commonly signifies having been dishonoured, tainted. The simile is to a lamp, a sham'a, which, at the beginning of the bazm, has its wick steeped in oil, and hence is 'moist-eyed' in a manner of speaking; and at the end of the bazm is extinguished, often by having a damp cloth thrown over the outer casing of the lamp (to block off the oxygen supply and thus make the flame die out, while not allowing the resultant smoke to escape). This allows Dard to play rather smartly with the chashm-tar and daaman-tar stylisations here.

DhoonDte hai.n aap se us ko pare
Sheikh saahib chhoR ghar baahar chale

ढूँढ़ते हैं आप से उस को परे
शेख़ साहिब छोड़ घर बाहर चले
ڈھونڈھتے ہیں آپ سے اس کو پرے
   شیخ صاحب چھوڑ گھر باہر چلے

(he) searches for Him (somewhere) apart from himself
the wise one leaves his house and goes outside!

This one is quite purely sufistic, of course, and does reveal Dard's theological bent somewhat. A religious worthy is gently derided for searching for the almighty in the outer world, when he only needs to look within...

ham na jaane paaye baahar aap se
vo hii aaRe aa gayaa jidhar chale

हम न जाने पाए बाहर आप से
वो ही आड़े आ गया जिधर चले

ہم نہ جانے پائے باہر آپ سے
وہ ہی آڑے آ گیا جیدھر چلے

I wasn't able to able to get away from myself
he verily came in the way, whichever way I went

Somewhat similar in tone to the last sher, this one aims deep too. Dard rues the inability of man to get away from his 'self', which inevitably blocks his progress on the path of mystical knowledge.  AaRe aanaa is a colloquial expression for 'getting in the way' of someone or some action.

ham jahaa.n mei.n aaye the tanhaa vale
saath apne ab use le kar chale

हम जहां में आये थे तनहा वले
साथ अपने अब उसे ले कर चले

ہم جہاں میں آئے تھے تنہا ولے

ساتھ اپنے اب اسے لے‌کر چلے  

even though we had come alone to this world
we now take it along with us, as we leave/move

Once again, some nice word play. Dard uses the expression 'take the world along with us' to denote man's susceptibility to burden himself with worldly worries and possessions. The le kar chale could denote two ideas - in one, it is stressing that we unnecessarily trudge through life 'burdened with the world', while we could travel so much lighter if we could only renounce these attachments. In the other, the 'chale' could signify the act of leaving from the world (to contrast with the act of entering the world, talked about in the first misraa), in which case the sher is mocking man's disinclination to let go of his worldly possessions even as he is on the verge of death, almost wishing to 'take it all with him'...

wale is a contraction of the persian wa-lekin, which has a sense of 'but', 'yet', or 'albeit'.

juu.n-sharar ai hastii-e-bebuud yaa.n
baare ham bhii apnii baarii bhar chale

जूं-शरर ऐ हस्ती-ए-बेबूद याँ
बारे हम भी अपनी बारी भर चले

جوں شرر اے ہستیِ بے‌بود یاں
بارے ہم بھی اپنی باری بھر چلے

O spark-like non-existent existence,
at last I too have finished my turn here

juu.n or jyuu.n is a colloquial word meaning 'like' or 'as'. be-buud is the negated form of buud, which is the root of the persian verb buudan, meaning 'to exist'. baare is the indefinite form of the farsi baar, and denotes a sense of 'at length', 'at last' or 'at some time'. Baarii bhar chalnaa signifies something like 'completing one's turn' in a game...

saaqiyaa yaa.n lag rahaa hai chal-chalao
jab talak bas chal sake saagar chale

साक़िया याँ लग रहा है चल-चलाओ
जब तलक बस चल सके साग़र चले

ساقیا یاں لگ رہا ہے چل چلائو
جب تلک بس چل سکے ساغر چلے

O Saqi, there is (such) a bustle here!
until it can be helped, (let) the (wine) pitcher last!

bas chalnaa indicates being able to control or influence things.

dard kuchh maaluum hai ye log sab
kis taraf se aaye the kidhar chale

दर्द कुछ मालूम है ये लोग सब
किस तरफ से आये थे किधर चले

درد کچھ معلوم ہے یہ لوگ سب
کس طرف سے آئے تھے کیدھر چلے

'Dard', (do you) know that all these people
had come from which direction, (and) where they went?

Nothing too special, but a nice note to sign off on, nonetheless!


Dr. Ravinder S. Mann said...

Beautiful Ghazal, beautiful selection. Deewan sahab, agar aap is ghazal ko apne is collection mein shamil naa karte, to eak din main aap par "Tuhmat" zaroor lagaataa.

Chandrakanta said...

Am I glad I am back reading your blog! Thanks for the LOVELY rendition.

nimish said...


Muhammad Anas said...

You are doing a wonderful job.