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Ghalib at his natural best in this ghazal – “which represents a dazzling array of poetic interrogations, none of which contravene one another; instead, they draw the ghazal together to illustrate the workings of the many-minded Ghalib” – From the book “Ghalib: Epistemologies of Elegance” by Azra Raza and Sara Suleri Goodyear.

Here is the entire ghazal (14 couplets) in Roman Urdu with an English translation from the same book, for your enjoyment:

Bazeecha-e-itfal hai duniya meray aage
Hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha meray aage

The world is a children’s playground before me
Night and Day, this theatre is enacted before me

Ek khel hai aurang-e-Suleman meray nazdeek
Ek baat hai aijaz-e-Masiha meray aage

For me the flying throne of Solomon is a game
And only talk, the miracles of Christ before me

Juz naam nahin surat-e-aalam mujhe manzoor
Juz waham nahin hasti-e-ashia meray aage

I acknowledge the face of the universe as only a name
The substance of reality is but superstition before me

Hota hai nihan gard mein sahra meray hote
Ghista hai jabeen khaak pe dariya meray aage

Next to me, the wilderness is shamed into hiding in dust
The servile river grovels in the dust before me

Mat pooch ke kya haal hai mera teray peechey
Tu dekh ke kya rang gait era meray aage

Do not ask what my condition is without you
Just look at your own comportment before me

Sach kahte ho khud bin-o-khud aara hoon, na kyun hoon
Baitha hai but-e-aaina seema meray aage

True, I appear consumed by the niceties of adornment, but of course
An idol mirrors my reflection before me

Phir dekhiye andaaz-e-gul afshaani-e-guftaar
Rakh de koi paimana-o-sahba meray aage

Then witness the blossoming manner of speech
Just place a decanter of wine before me

Nafrat ke gumaan guzre hai main rashk se guzra
Kyunkar kahoon lo naam na unka meray aage

I was presumed hostile where I am merely jealous
Why should I say do not take that name before me

Imaan mujhe roke hai jo kheenche hai mujhe kufr
Kaaba mere peechhe hai kalisa meray aage

Faith retards me, where idols lure me
Kaaba is behind me, the church is before me

Aashiq hoon pah mashooq farebi hai miraa kaam
Majnun ko bura kahti hai Laila meray aage

I desire, my craft is to seduce the desired
The beloved Laila insults the lover Majnun before me

Khush hote hai par wasl mein yun mar nahin jaate
Aai shab-e-hijran ki tamanna meray aage

Joy prevails, but union need not signal death
Yearnings of the dark night of my soul came before me

Hai mauj-zan ik qulzum-e-khoon kaash yahi ho
Aata hai abhi dekhiye kya kya meray aage

Tears of blood create oceans of blood, if only this were it
And yet, what unknown fates must I still behold before me

Go haath ko jumbish nahin aankhon mein toh dum hai
Rahne do abhi saaghar-o-meena meray aage

Even when hands have no movement, sight retains vitality
So leave the accoutrements of wine before me

Hum-pesha-o-hum-mashrab-o-humraaz hai mera
Ghalib ko bura kyun kaho achha meray aage

He is my comrade, my confidant, my fellow carouser
Do not speak ill of him, Ghalib is good before me


The link below is of the video of this beautiful ghazal sung by Jagjit Singh in the Mirza Ghalib TV series, where Naseeruddin Shah played the role of Ghalib:

Below is the entire ghazal, in Urdu script .