, , ,

In this enthralling ghazal by the famous Persian and Urdu poet, Mirza Ghalib, he poetically and metaphorically asks the eternal, fundamental questions of life. These couplets do not denote any inquisition, but astonishment instead, for the wonderful things existing in this world. This famous Ghazal is a fine example of Ghalib’s acumen of crafting poetic expressions of realities around.
Sabz-o-gul kahaan se aaye hai (Where did this nature come from?), Abr kyaa chiz hai, havaa kyaa hai (What is this cloud and the wind?). Read on and take a moment to delve upon the meaning of each couplet.


Dil-e-naadaan tujhe huaa kya hai ?
Aakhir is dard kee dawa kya hai

O innocent heart, what happened to you
What is the cure for this pain, after all?

Hamko unse wafa ki hai ummeed
Jo naheen jaante wafa kya hai

I hope for faith from one
Who doesn’t know what it means to be faithful

Ham hain mushtaaq aur woh bezaar
Ya ilaahee ! Yeh maajra kya hai ?

I am anxious and eager, he is cold and displeased
Oh God, what is this mystery?

Main bhi muh me zabaan rakhataa hun
Kaash puchho ki mudda kyaa hai

I too have a tongue in my mouth (I too have an opinion)
If only I was I asked my intention (mudda’ is a distorted form of the actual Urdu word ‘mudua’ which means ‘ intention’, ‘will’ or ‘objective’)

Jab ki tujh bin naheen koyi maujood
Fir ye hangaama, ‘ei khuda ! Kya hai

If there is no one except you in my world
Then why this ruckus, what is this world, O God?

Ye pari chehra log kaise hain
Gamaza-o-ishwa-o-ada kya hai

What are these beautiful angelic-faced women like?
What are all the airs and graces about? (their amorous glances, their coquettishness and their enticing style)

Ghamza : an amorous glance or wink; Ishwa: Coquetry (naaz/ nakhray); Ada: an enticing style or a tempting gesture (generally by women)

Shikan-e-zulf-e-ambari kyon hai
Nigah-e-chashm-e-surma sa kya hai

Why do these fragrant curls exist? (referring to a woman’s tresses)
What is the meaning of the glance of your eyes lined with kohl?

Sabz-o-gul kahaan se aaye hai
Abr kyaa chiz hai, havaa kyaa hai

Where has this beautiful greenery and nature come from?
What is this cloud and the wind?

Jaan tum par nisaar karta hoon
Main naheen jaanata duaa kya hai

I am willing to sacrifice my life for you
I do not know what else is prayer?

Haan bhalaa kar, teraa bhalaa hogaa
Aur daravesh ki sadaa kyaa hai

Yes, do good, and good will come to you
What, but this does the dervish say?

Maine maanaa ki kuchh nahi “Ghalib”
Muft haath aaye, to buraa kyaa hai

I agree that ‘Ghalib’ is ‘nothing’,
But what harm does it do, if you get him for ‘nothing’?

Here is part of the ghazal as depicted in the 1954 film, Mirza Ghalib, directed by Sohrab Modi, which portrays the trials, tribulations, triumphs, and utlimate descent to poverty of Mirza Ghalib and his tragic and ill-fated love with a beautiful courtesan named Chaudvin. Bharat Bhushan played the role of Ghalib. The Urdu short story writer, Saadat Hasan Manto is credited with the storyline for the movie.

Below is the same song as sung, in a very different tempo and style, by Chitra Singh for the 1988 TV show of the same name. Naseeruddin Shah essayed the role of Ghalib and is the face of the poet for many in today’s generation!


(Thanks to Shakeel Warsi for his inputs to this post)