Thursday, January 03, 2013

Interpreting My Poem - VI

I owe this one to Mir Taqi Mir. One of my most favourite ghazals by Mir has a couplet that I like very much, so I ended up writing one very similar to that one. Here is Mir’s couplet.

नाहक हम मजबूरों पर ये तुहमत है मुख्तारी की
चाहते हैं सो आप करें हैं हम को ‘अबस बदनाम किया

The couplet inspired by Mir was written sometime around 1994. At that time, I wasn’t aware of the concept of behr (meter). A decade or so later, when I learnt about meter I realized that my ghazal had serious ‘technical’ issues and I had to re-write it. All the couplets of the original ghazal could not be fitted into the same meter, so I split this one into two by adding a few new couplets in the each ghazal. The first one can be read here. And the second, shorter one is given below.

As earlier, except the Urdu couplets, all that is written below is by Archana Gupta.

This ghazal stumped me a bit - seems at odds with the rest of the work I have interpreted so far. Its more depressed and resigned than usual but also carries a strong ring of sarcasm and suspicion that I have not noticed in previous ghazals that I looked at closely.  There is a definite ring of self-pity as well as extreme resentment towards the subject, perhaps a lover?   Its simply worded but is harder to decipher, IMHO ...

अब क्या सुनायें दास्ताँ इस आलम-ए-सरशारी की

हैं बेतकल्लुफ़ सब नहीं है फ़िक्र परदादारी की
What can I tell you about this time of hysteria and frenzy
Everyone is so open with no concern for privacy

आलम-ए-सरशारी = state of intoxication; बेतकल्लुफ़ = informal, open; फ़िक्र = concern; परदादारी = state of being hidden, veiled

Literally translated it simply means "How do I describe this environment of frenzy bordering on hysteria.  Everyone is so informal in their expression and no one is bothered about even pretense of  secrecy (more decorum)".  There are nuances attached to the words used though.

If I analyze a little, the comment is sarcastic as well as representative of the poet's discontent with the state of affairs.  In the simplest sense, it could be a comment (a disgusted one at that) on the very prevalent trend amongst the current generation to get drunk at parties, lose all self-control and make a complete fool of themselves.  So it seems to be a taunt at those who believe in drunken revelry and in the process lose their dignity/decorum and behave in a vulgar manner.

For some reason, it also reminds me of the first work I had examined and seems to carry a more private meaning to the poet -  this also appears to be a complaint against what the poet perceives as invasion of privacy.  It certainly could also be an expression of discontent against the hysterical behavior of perhaps a partner or lover or even a friend where she/he has forgone the norms of decorum and perhaps revealed some intimate details to "outsiders" that should have remained within the confines of the relationship. 

ग़मज़े हमारी ओर हैं मक़सूद लेकिन ग़ैर से

है आज नज़र-ए-शौक़ में कैसी झलक अय्यारी की
Her glances seem to beckon me but another is her real intention
In my lover's eyes, today I sense a strange deception

ग़मज़े = glances ; मक़सूद = intention; नज़र-ए-शौक़ = loving look ; अय्यारी = deception

While she/he looks at me and seems to be beckoning me and telling me something, I suspect she is actually aiming at someone else.  The message that appears to be for me is actually intended for another.  Why do I sense a tinge of deceit in my lover's eyes, her/his glances today?  Applied generally, rather interpreted impersonally,  it could also be a comment that in general there is deceit in all expressions of love in all relationships at some point or the other - another comment completely colored with disillusionment.

हो जल्वागर कुछ देर तक फिर राख में तब्दील हो

क़िस्मत में है हस्ती-ए-फ़ानी एक अदद चिन्गारी की
It’s reduced to ashes after for a while shining brightly
To be obliterated completely is every tiny spark's destiny

जल्वागर = illuminated; तब्दील = convert; हस्ती-ए-फ़ानी = temporary existence; अदद = small
On the surface its a comment on the transient nature of existence of most things in life.  The example taken is that of an ember of fire and the statement made is that it is the destiny of the ember to burn brightly for a bit of time, put on the show and then quietly be eliminated, rather turn to ashes (that contain no beauty or life or vitality).  Applying this universally to all existence including human, is easy to comprehend and needs no explanation. 
However, perhaps reading the next sher led me here, but I strongly felt that the reference to ember is also a reference to that elusive element or "spark" in a relationship which when present elevates it to the highest level possible but once gone, reduces a relationship (not necessarily romantic) to mere "bondage" or "ravaayat"  or "rasm-o-rahe-duniyaa".  And the poet's claim is that it’s inevitable for that spark to leave/end/ burn out at some point in time or the other and just leave a pile of ashes in place.

ज़न्जीर-ए-पा और ये कफ़स जब हैं ‘अतायें आपकी

क्यूँ हम बेचारों पर लगी हैं तुहमतें मुख़्तारी की
In this cage, you have me bound with strong chains on my feet
Why accuse me then of any independence of thought or deed ?

ज़न्जीर-ए-पा = chains of the feet; कफ़स = cage ; ‘अतायें = gifts ; तुहमतें = accusations ; मुख़्तारी = independence
When you have given me, rather have imprisoned me in a cage and have bound my feet in chains of iron, why do you keep "blaming" me of being independent?  This she’r to me is the crux of the ghazal in which somehow each she’r seems related.  There are  couple of interpretations for this one that just vary in intensity or perceived emotion of the poet, not in the basic meaning.  In a lighter vein, the poet's claim is that he is tied to his object of desire/ lover irrevocably, why suspect him of any independence of thought and action -  more in the nature of "tumhaare hain, aur kahaan jaayenge" and there is no unhappiness in that status quo.  This seems little unlikely explanation as the choice of words like "chains on my feet" and "cage" belie the feeling of "bonds of love" or "cage of desire".  The more likely emotion seems to be at least a dissatisfaction possibly extreme disgust at being tied down by now unwanted restrictions -  may be the relationship itself, maybe just the rules of engagement that are "dictated" or controlled by the other person involved.  The poet is certainly feeling stifled by them and is not amused when perhaps his behaviour (in rebellion) is pin-pointed ...