Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Interpreting My Poem - IX

It’s been a while since I last updated this blog. What better way to restart than to resume with an interpretation of my poem. As always, the English translations and interpretation are by Archana Gupta.

I would like to emphasize that these interpretations are not (and cannot be) the last word. Anyone can interpret these in the way they want. I have always believed that the poet’s intention is immaterial. It is the reader’s interpretation that is paramount in poetry appreciation. So these are just the interpretations of one person - Archana.

लो हुक़्म-ए-तर्क-ए-रब्त की तामील हो गई

अफ़्सोस है फ़क़त यही ताजील हो गई
Though I have obeyed the order to disassociate
I am now sorry for the very haste

हुक़्म-ए-तर्क-ए-रब्त = order to cut off all relations, तामील = act on, obey, comply with, ताजील = haste, hurry

”I have obeyed the order to sever all relations but I am sorry I showed such a hurry in doing so.” Interesting couplet that becomes interesting due to omission of all subjects and raises questions like whose order? Relation with whom? I see three possibilities straightaway though many more likely exist.

  1. Someone (a parent, social norm in general) ordered me to sever my relationship with my lover/partner and I complied
  2. My lover or partner herself/himself expressed a desire to break-up and I complied
  3. My lover or partner ordered me to sever my relationship with someone (a friend or some part of family) and I complied

Regardless, “I am sorry for the speed and alacrity with which I obeyed and am having second thoughts about my actions.”

Nice example of Ma'ani-Aafrini or Meaning Generation, befits a good Ghalib fan.

क़ुर्बत हुआ जो करती थी गुफ़्तार में कभी

ऐ हैफ़ फ़ासलों में क्यूँ तब्दील हो गई
Once, intimacy was inherent in every little conversation
Alas, that has now changed to a chasm, a sense of separation

क़ुर्बत = closeness, intimacy, गुफ़्तार = conversation

The closeness that we shared in our interactions has regrettably transformed into growing distance between us. For all intents and purposes, seems to be a straightforward lament on the degeneration of a relationship where lovers seem to have grown apart.

ख़ुद को दिया फ़रेब मुहब्बत के नाम पर

अच्छा हुआ कि बात की तफ़्सील हो गई
I fooled myself in guise of love and affection

Fortunately, elucidation ended the deception

तफ़्सील = clarification

Again, can be interpreted in a couple of different ways. Most obvious is that its a case of an unrequited emotion. While the speaker was in love and believed it was reciprocated, the object of affection did not really reciprocate and at this point, that has become clear to the speaker.

Another possible interpretation is that the speaker was overlooking certain character or behavioral flaws in his object of affection simply in the name of love and has suddenly woken up to them and perhaps realizes that he is not really in love at all.

तक़्सीरवार बोलिये ठहरायें किस को हम

अपना ही था क़ुसूर कि तज़्लील हो गई
But who should I hold liable and find guilty

When I am myself responsible for my ignominy and indignity?

तक़्सीरवार = culpable, liable, to be blamed, तज़्लील = insult

Who should I hold responsible for this, it’s my own fault that I was insulted. Again a delightfully vague comment that can be interpreted and made to fit to practically any situation where the speaker believes he has been slighted or insulted. If we look at it in context of say last she’r, we could read this one as "I mistook her feelings and thought she loves me but it turned out to be not the case. So how can I blame her for the slight/insult that I suffered. After all, its my own fault." Similarly, this current she’r could be interpreted to fit multiple scenarios.

रक्खेगा याद हम को भी हर हाल में जहाँ

हस्ती हमारी दर्द की तम्सील हो गई
In any event, I will be remembered by all and sundry
For the fine illustration of pain, that is now my identity

तम्सील = example, representation, illustration

"My whole persona has become a representation of pain and suffering that I will be remembered for forever." Again a clever she’r that avoids any context and thus can find universal application. Interesting to note that the kind of pain is not specified and that allows the adaptability to multiple situations - pain due to physical issues? Mental suffering? or borne out of emotional trauma of relationship having gone bad?

All in all a very clever ghazal that appeared deceptively simple on casual reading but turned out to be far more interesting on closer examination.