Sunday, May 12, 2013

Interpreting My Poem - X

Here is another of my ghazals, translated and interpreted in English by Archana Gupta, with some of my views as well.

मरे ये जिस्म जो सौ मर्ग रूहों की है ये ख़्वाहिश

कि यौम-उल-हश्र तक हर सम्त जलवागर रहे आतिश
Even if the body dies a hundred deaths, it’s the soul's aspiration

May the spirit be seen in its glory, all around till the world's extinction

मर्ग = death, यौम-उल-हश्र = day of reckoning, सम्त = direction

A few slightly different interpretations exist:

Personally, I read it as a declaration of one's willingness to sacrifice even life itself for a calling/purpose/passion as many times as needed and a desire for the soul to be blessed with the same passion or spark (aatish) life after life till the end of time even though that spark may lead to early/untimely death each time Most interesting to note, in this context, is the indirect reference to reincarnation.

On a related note, the poet points out that the concept of yaum-ul-hashr has a couple of subtle nuances based on the faith one considers. Here is what he says, "Yaum ul Hashr is essentially an Islamic concept where everyone will arise from their graves and their deeds will be evaluated. Here 'aatish jalvagar rehna' is simply that good deeds are remembered. If you look at the Hindu tradition, yaum ul hashr may be considered as eternity and death is cremation, hence the relevance of 'aatish'. Everything turns to ashes after cremation, but embers (the impact of one's life) remains... it is here that the theme of reincarnation becomes more relevant."

He further points that generally, rooh or soul is considered to be something that remains alive after death - if one does not consider soul to be an entity by itself, it could still take the form of a person's name/fame or reputation. Death is unimportant, what is important is that people remember the person long after he is dead (jalvagar rahe aatish)

ख़िताब-ए-अहमक़ आखिर हम को है मन्ज़ूर जो तू दे

मगर अहल-ए-जहाँ को अब ख़ुदा तू कर अता दानिश
I shall not object if you call me an ignoramus or a clod

But please grant the world at large some wisdom, o God

ख़िताब = title, अहमक़ = dolt, अहल-ए-जहाँ = people of the world, दानिश = wisdom

There are two interpretations possible again and each assigns the speaker a very contrasting personality trait - he is either really conceited or extremely modest…

Viewed one way, it seems to be an expression of the poet not seeing eye to eye with the world in general. And I read the above couplet as the poet addressing the lord and saying "though you may think I am foolish for asking, I think you need to give some better sense to the world in general". This seems to be slightly conceited couplet when viewed thus.

On the other hand, the poet could also be saying "I'm too unimportant in the world, so if you choose to let me remain a fool, it won't matter. But the world at large needs more wisdom or everything is doomed". That of course is the "very modest" tone. So take your pick.

अगर हैं जिस्म में सौ ज़ख़्म वक़्त उनको भी भर देगा

न चारागर कोई ऐसा मिटाये दिल की जो काहिश
If the body sustains a hundred wounds, they shall for sure heal with time some day

There is no doctor though, to cure the angst of heart and keep it from wasting away

चारागर = doctor, काहिश = anxiety, decay, pining

Simple presentation of a simple sentiment that injuries to the body heal and have a cure in most cases but the wounds to the heart, while invisible, are much hardier and don't heal that easily.

अदब कहते हैं जिस शय को है सदियों से वो गुमगश्ता

यहाँ बोसीदा है ग़ैरत बची है हर तरफ़ फ़ाहिश
Honor, discipline and etiquette are things of past, lost since eternity

Dignity lies in ruin while the world is ruled by exorbitance and obscenity

गुमगश्ता = Errant, lost, wandering, बोसीदा = decayed, worn out, फ़ाहिश = exorbitance

Comment on the trend of living a decadent life that has emerged in the last couple of decades or so (specially in India) and bemoaning the loss of traditional values that formed the backbone of what we call Indian culture as well as that of personal dignity, I think, though it of course transcends the bounds of any geography and applies to all cultures and countries to varying degrees...

सुना है दोस्त तू जाता है महफ़िल में रक़ीबों की

ज़रा देखो मेरी क़िस्मत कि अपने भी करें साज़िश
My friend, I am told you frequent my rival's gathering and are seen in his company

Alas, my luck, my own loved ones think nothing of hatching a conspiracy

साज़िश = conspiracy

A complaint to a friend who socializes with a rival and almost a rueful accusation that he is perhaps conspiring against oneself.

नहीं शाम-ओ-सहर अब देखा जायेगा ये पागलपन

है ख़्वाहिश नींद की मुझ को मैं चाहूँ बिस्तर-ओ-बालिश
Can't bear these days and nights of unending insanity

Give me a bed and a pillow, sleep is now all I fancy

बिस्तर-ओ-बालिश = bedding and pillow

A thoroughly disgusted comment seemingly in continuation to some of the earlier ash'aar and a desire to get away from it all. Coincidentally, another ghazal I looked at also had a similar couplet and I made this observation there also that this kind of couplet contains a slightly darker meaning in the sense of a death wish also and could be interpreted in that light.

भला हासिल हुआ है कुछ जहाँ के आगे रोने से

कहाँ है शख़्स ऐसा जो हमारी सुन सके नालिश
Who has ever gained by wailing and whining in public's presence

Where is the one who can actually address our grievance?

नालिश = complaint

Very apt comment on general human tendency to complain and cry about one's misfortune or a mishap in life. It serves no purpose other than exposing one's vulnerabilities further and possibly giving people fodder for more gossip and ridicule. Second misra suggests it’s a wry comment on how there seems to be no one to "listen to" or actually do something concrete about people's grievances.