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Here’s one our Ghalib’s best ghazals, open to multiple interpretations and a brilliant demonstration of the complexity yet simplicity that the Urdu language offers.

aah ko chaahiye ik umr asar hone tak
kaun jiitaa hai tirii zulf ke sar hone tak
daam-e har mauj mein hai halqah-e sad kaam-e nihang
dekhein kyaa guzre hai qatre pah guhar hone tak
aashiqii sabr-talab aur tamannaa betaab
dil kaa kyaa rang karuun khun-e jigar hone tak
ham ne maanaa kih tagaaful na karoge lekin
khaak ho jaaeinge ham tum ko khabar hone tak
partav-e khur se hai shabnam ko fanaa ki taaliim
main bhii huun ek inaayat kii nazar hone tak
yak nazar besh nahiin fursat-e hastii gaafil
garmii-e bazm hai ik raqs-e sharar hone tak
gam-e hastii kaa asad kis se ho juz marg ilaaj
shamma har rang mein jaltii hai sahar hone tak
-Mirza Ghalib

An English translation from is below:
A lifetime passes before a sigh shows its effects
Who would wait so long to see you fixing the tangles in your hair
A hundred dragon mouths create a net of waves from a single ocean
Oh what a task it is for a drop to turn into a pearl
Love needs patience but lust is restless
What color should my heart be, till it bleeds to death
I know you will not ignore me, but
By the time you know of me, I would have turned to ash
Each drop of dew is aware that it can be destroyed with the rays of the sun
I will survive similarly, till you glance at me
Your glances can bring my life to end
As dancing sparks bring an end of a fun filled gathering
Life is all suffering, Asad, it can be cured with death
The candle burns in many colors till the morning comes

Some more interpretations of this classic ghazal are at:
1. http://frostedglass.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/a-piece-of-gem-from-ghalib-aah-ko-chahiye/

2. Click here for the English translation from the book “Ghalib: Epistemologies of Elegance” by Azra Raza and Sara Suleri Goodyear: Aah ko chahiye – Ghalib Epistemologies of Elegance” by Azra Raza and Sara Suleri Goodyear

Below is the link to the ghazal from the TV series Mirza Ghalib, where Naseeruddin Shah played Ghalib:

And here is another rendition of the ghazal by the late Jagjit Singh in one of his live concerts: