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Archive for the ‘URDU POETRY’ Category

Kaahe ko byaahi bides ~ Khusrau

Weddings are not complete without the wedding songs in any community.
“Kaahe ko byahi bides” in Braj dialect by Amir Khusrau  is an extremely popular wedding song in the northern Indian subcontinent. There is hardly any wedding where this song is not sung by the women. Since these verses are passed on from one generation to another by word of mouth, every singer picks and chooses different stanzas and sometimes with variance in vocabulary in the verses. I have tried to collect the different verses, and there may still be other lesser known verses too. Shall appreciate if you will share if you have any different ones in the comment box.

It is a plea from a daughter to her father explaining how she is one of the dispensable objects from their household. Through metaphors, though seemingly simple, she makes a gut wrenching comparisons with herself.  Every stanza of the song merits a deep appreciation of that comparison in a different way.


Khwaja ji,
Sun li hamre jiyara ki peerh,

Ankhiyaan se bahe hai neer.

Khwaja  listen to the pain in my heart,
While from my eyes flow out tears. 

Kāhe  ko  byāhe  bides?  
Arre  lakhiyā`  bābul  more?  
Kāhe ko byāhe bides?  

Why did you marry me off to a alien land? 
O’my wealthy  father,
why did you part me from you?  

Hum to bābul torey, bele kī kaliyā`.  
Arre  ghar-ghar  mānge  hai`  jāye.
Lakhiyā`  bābul  more
Kaahe ko byahe bides. 

We are just flower-buds from your garden,
Every household  asks for us.
O’my wealthy father,
Why did you part me from you?

Hum to bābul tore angan kī chiṛaiyā.
Arre chuge, piye, urr jāye.
Lakhiyā`  bābul  more
Kaahe ko byahe bides.

We are just birds from your courtyard
We peck on food, drink and then fly away
O’my wealthy father
Why did you part me from you?  

Hum to bābul tore, khūte kī gayīyā`. 
Arre jid haanko hakjaaye.  
Areh  lakhiyā`  bābul  more
Kaahe ko byahi bides.

We are just your tethered cows,
we have to go wherever you drive (send) us.
O’ my wealthy father
Why did you part me from you? .

Tākh bhārī me`ne guṛiye` jo chhoṛī.
Arre  to chhoṛā  saheliyo`  kā sāth.  
Lakhiyā`  bābul  more
Kaahe ko byahe bides. 

I’ve left at home alcoves full of dolls,
and parted from my childhood friends too. 
O’ my wealthy father
Why did you part me from you? 

Mehala`  tale  se  dolā  jo  nikalā.
Are  bīran  ne khaayi  pachhād.  
Lakhiyā`  bābul  more
Kaahe ko byahe bides  

When my palanquin passed beneath the mansion, 
My brother fainted and fell. 
O’my wealthy father,
why did you part me from you? 

Doley ka parda utha ker jo dekha
Na babul na babul ka des reyy
Lakhi babul morey
Kaahe ko byaahe bides?

When I lifted the veil of the palanquin
There was neither father, nor fatherland,
O’my wealthy father
Why do you part me from you?

Bhaiyā ko diyo bābul mehala do mehale.
Areh  ham  ko  diyo  pardesh  re.  
Lakhiyā`  bābul  more
Kaahe ko byahe bides

You gave, two-storied houses to my brother
And to me, you gave a foreign land.  
O’my wealthy father,
why did you part me from you? 

Ghar se tou kayila hum ke vida,
Arre Jiyara se na kariyo judaa,
Lakhiyā`  bābul  more
Kaahe ko byahe bides

You are sending me away from home,
Separate me not from your heart,
O’my wealthy father,
why did you part me from you? 

Khusrau kehat hai`, Aiy merī lāado.  
Arre  dhan  dhan  bhāg  suhāg  re.  
Lakhiyā`  bābul  more
Kaahe ko byahe bides. 

Khusrau says, O my darling daughter –
May your marriage be blessed with everything.  
O my wealthy father,
why did you part me from you?


There are multiple classical and folk versions sung by countless singers. Few of my favorites are here:



A different and very interesting version I found is this sung by Habib Painter >

Waise tou dastoor hai ye purana,
Pii ki nagariya hai dulhan ko jaana
Kehtey  hain Nabi aur Khusrau ka kehna
Doley ka parda utha ker jo dekha
Aya paraya des reyy, ache babul more
Kaahe ko byaahi bides, ache babul more…



Nirala Sawera

Dedicated to the events :  

Pledge for Peace Launch in UTM, Mississauga, ON.

Aug 14-15, 2012 Pakistanis, Indians, celebrate Independence Day for Peace!/events/243690589069619/

Nafrat ki gathri ko mein ney
Phenk diya hai gireh laga ker
Hasrat se ab khol rahi hoon
Yaadon bharey iss thailey ko
Pyaar ki taaza hawa lagaane
Aman ki roshan dhoop dikhane.

Tum bhi aao, kholo apni
Saari gaanthein, saare bull
Tum bhi apne jholey mein se
Bujhe huwe woh deep nikalo
Un yaadon ke, un baaton ke
Un qisson ke, jo itne zyada
Dohratey the jab Nana Dada
Chehre unke damka jaate the
Ankhein unki chamka detey the.

Usee dhamak ki roshni mein tar
Usee chamak ki lau ko lekar
Mein bhi apna deep jalaaoon
Tum bhi apna diya jalaao
Roshan phir se rahon ko ker dein

Taaron se  khwabon ko bher dein.

Apna apna diya jalaa ker
Saare apne dard bhulaker

Mil ker jab sub saath chalenge
Haath me lekar haath chalenge
Dhal jayegi ghurbat ki sham
Ho paayegi khush haali aam.

Lekin saw nahin, hazaar nahin,
Saath her ek ko chalna hogaa.
Sirf mera ya tumhara nahin,
Diya her ek ka jalna hogaa.
Karoron diye jo saath jalenge,
Dil mein nai umang bharenge.
Pher door jab andhera hogaa,

To kya nirala yeh SAWERA hoga.

Ilmana Fasih
June 6, 2012

Amir Khusrau, the disciple

Listening to the stories and anectodes of Mehboob-e-Ilahi( Beloved of God) was a norm as kids. A Mamoo, an ardent follower of Sufism, who lived in Jaipur was the source. If he ever happened to pass by Delhi, visit to the ‘Dargah’ was a mandatory.  And when in Delhi, he had to visit his sister too i.e. my mother.

He brought meethi kheels (sugar coated puffballs) every time he came from Dargah, and was ever willing to  narrate to us the stories of love  between  Mehbub-e-Ilahi and his favourite disciple.

On the other hand I saw my not so religious father’s( who also hailed from a Maulvi family) love for Amir Khusrau’s Persian poetry, and a tall tower of audio cassettes he had piled up next to his music system.

Honestly for years until early teens I did not know who Mehboob-e-Ilahi  or that disciple were and where the Dargah was. We never visited. All I knew, Ammi went with Mamoojan a few times.

Once , when during a story time, Mamoojan was corrected by my father, about a Persian verse by Amir Khusro, did I realise that there was a correlation.

“Such a great poet had a Pir?” was my instant jerky reaction. Pirs in my mental dictionary had a negative meaning and image.

Equally instant was my father’s reaction: “ Hazrat Nizamuddin was a great scholar, it’s the people later who made him a Pir, and now have opened a whole business in his name.”

Mamoojan just gave a slight smile, and as always drowned again in his love for Mehboob-e-Ilahi, continued the story.

It was then to reinforce the great bond that existed between Hazrat Nizamuddin and Amir Khusrau, did he tell of these incidents, which now I can quote with the Persian verses he might have mentioned.

Just to make it clear, most of the stories have been passed on as word of mouth, and hence I call them anectodes.

Anectode 1:
When Hazrat Nizamuddin passed away Amir Khusrau was away, in some other city, attending to the orders of a King. As he learnt of the sad news he rushed back and went straight to the  fresh grave of his master.There  he rolled in the mud and tore off his clothes in agony. Then came these words:

Gori sove sej par
mukh per dale kes
Chal Khusro ghar aapne,
rain (not saanjh) bhaee chahu des.
The lovely maiden lies  finally on a wreath of flowers,
her tresses covering her face, 
O Khusro, turn back home now,
dusk has set in all over.”

Amir Khusrau was never the same after his Pir’s death. And it was only in six months that Amir Khusrau also passed away.

He was, as per the desire of the disciple and  Pir both, buried close by. This is now known as a “chabootra-e-yaar’ ( the pedestal of friend).

One can see this as a raised platform with red sandstone carved fence, around the grave.

The Pir also reciprocated his disciple’s love and affection, and is believed to have remarked: “If shariyat would allow me, I would want Khusrau and I to be buried in the same grave.”

His followers believe that Hz Nizamuddin instructed that “Those who visit my grave should  first pay respect at Khusrau’s .”

Anectode 2:
Amir Khusrau was away for a royal trip.  A disciple of Hz Nizamuddin came to him asking for some  souvenir from his Pir. Since the Pir had nothing to offer, he asked the disciple to take away his slippers.
Incidentally, on the way the disciple and Amir Khusrau’s paths crossed each other. And Khusrau remarked:

Shaikh mi aayad, Bu-e Shaikh mi aayad”.
(I smell my master, I smell my master).

On knowing that the man had in possession the slippers of his Pir, Khusrau gave away all his wealth that he had on him and bought back those slippers.

Anectode 3:
The two were sitting at the bank of river Yamuna in Delhi when Hz Nizamuddin (wearing a cap crooked way), saw some men taking a dip in the river with a reverence as a worship. He remarked:
Har qaum raast raahay, deenay wa qibla gaahay
(Every sect has a faith, a qibla which they turn to.)

Pat came the reply from Khusrau:
Men qibla raast kardam, ber terf-e kajkulaahay.
(I have straightened my qibla in the direction of this crooked cap)

Anectode 4:
It is the most interesting of all anectodes, and if true (I do not doubt, but these stories have been passed through word of mouth), then it is remarkable to have this quality of Persian and Brij Bhasha poetry from an eight year old.

It is said that Khusrau’s mother brought her eight year old son to the place where Hazrat Nizamuddin ( a renowned scholar and respectable man) resided.

Instead of entering the premises Khusrau sat outside and narrated:
Tu aan shahi ke ber aiwan-e qasrat
Kabutar gar nasheenad, baaz gardad
Ghareeb-e mustamand-e ber der aamed
Be-yaayad andaroon, ya baaz gardad
You are a king at the gate of whose palace,
even a pigeon becomes a hawk. 
A poor traveller has come to your gate, 
should he enter, or should he return?

And that Hazrat Nizamuddin who himself was 23 then, came out (some say he sent out  servants) and replied:
Be-yaayad andaroon mard-e haqeeqat
Ke ba ma yek nafas hamraaz gardad
Agar abla buvad aan mard-e naadan
Azaan raah-e ke aamad baaz gardad
Oh you the man of reality, come inside,
so you become for a while my confidant,
but if the one who enters is foolish ,
then he should return the way he came.

Hearing this Khusrau knew that he has come to the right place and hence entered into his guidance.

Having reread Khusrau, several times over since then, I have came across some of the records, which go further to say that- telling his mother of his excitement to have found the Pir, Khusrau composed these beautiful verses:
Aaj rung hai hey maa rung hai ri
Moray mehboob kay ghar rang hai ri
Sajan milaavra, sajan milaavra,
Sajan milaavra moray aangan ko
Aaj rung hai……..
Mohay pir paayo Nijamudin aulia
Nijamudin aulia mohay pir payoo
Des bades mein dhoondh phiree hoon
Toraa rung man bhayo ri……,
Jag ujiyaaro, jagat ujiyaaro,
Main to aiso rang aur nahin dekhi ray
Main to jab dekhun moray sung hai,
Aaj rung hai hey maan rung hai ri.
What a glow everywhere I see, Oh mother, what a glow;
I’ve found the beloved, yes I found him,
In my courtyard;
I have found my pir Nizamuddin Aulia.
I roamed around the entire world,
looking for an ideal beloved;
And finally this face has enchanted my heart.
The whole world has been opened for me,
Never seen a glow like this before.
Whenever I see now, he is with me,
Oh beloved, please dye me in yourself;
Dye me in the colour of the spring, beloved;
What a glow, Oh, what a glow.

In my ignorance, I bluntly asked Mamoojan,”What was so great in Hazrat Nizamuddin that even an accomplished man like Amir Khurau revered him so much?”

I remember Mamoojan reply, “He was a great pious man, a Wali. That is why he was called Mehboob-e-Ilahi ( the beloved of Allah)”.

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t entirely convinced then, but then years later, while getting into the colors of Amir Khusrau’s poetry, I did my own research.

I found that Hazrat Nizamuddin was a great scholar of Quran. He was truly  a very pious man, who prayed a lot and fasted each day of the week.

There were free meals ( langar) at his residence, each day, in which  Amir Khusrau actively took part.

He led a very simple, austere life, wore at times  torn clothes, and ate extremely simple food.

But what really convinced me of why Amir Khusrau revered him so much was this incident of  Hazrat Nizamuddin , which so speaks volumes of the greatness of this Pir of Amir Khusrau:

Once some of the staunchest of enemies of Hazrat Nizamuddin, threw thorn on the way he was to pass. He walked over them, bare feet, without any complaint. And with his sole bleeding, he prayed that every thorn that had pierced him become a red rose( like the color of his oozing blood) in the grave of the thrower.

Mehboob-e-Ilahi that he was, he is said to have remarked: “If a man places a thorn in your way, and you place a thorn in his way, soon there will be thorns everywhere.”

With all this in the background, now this poetry by Amir Khusrau sounds even more melodious…

Ghalib ka pata ( Ghalib’s address)

Who could’ve described Ghalib better than he himself.

Hai aur bhi duniya mein sukhanwar bahut ache
Kehte hain ke ghalib ka hai andaaz-e-bayaan aur.
(There are many good poets in the world, but they say Ghalib’s style (( of poetry) is different) 

And in humour narrates his notoriety :

Ho goya koi aisa bhi jo Ghalib ko na jaane,
Shayar to who achha hai, mager badnaam bahut hai.
(Is there anyone who isn’t aware of Ghalib? He is a good poet, but pretty infamous). 

Yet my favorite description of Ghalib in his own words remains this:

Likhta huun Asad sozish-e-dil se sukhan-e-garam,
Taan rakh na sake koi mere harf pe angusht.
{I write Asad, the pain of my heart in ‘hot’ poetry, So that no one can point a finger at my words}.

Indeed Ghalib needs no introduction. However, I dedicate this post to his association with the city of Delhi.

He was born in Agra in a family with Turk ancestors who had migrated from Samrkhand in Bukhara. After being married at 13 years of age he came to live in Delhi.

He lived, composed poetry and prose, then  passed away in Delhi.

Delhi came to be associated with the name of Mirza Ghalib.

It would not be wrong to consider Ghalib as the most coveted residents that Delhi city takes pride in. And the most well known address of Delhi, known worldwide happens to be:

Ghalib’s Haveli
Gali Qasim Jan,
Chandni Chowk,

Ghalib lived in  this haveli and  the address was immortalised  in a tribute by none other than Gulzar,  to the great poet . The verses aptly describe the narrow, dark alleys of Old Delhi. Anyone familiar with it, would find an accurate picturisation the character and life of the place, in these verses, .

Ballimaraan ke mahalle ki wo pecheeda daleelon ki si wo galiyan
Saamne taal ke nukkad pe batero ke qaseede
Gurhgurhati hui paan ki peekon mein wo daad wo wah-wah
Chand darwaaze par latke huye boshida se kuch taat ke parde
ek bakri ke mamiyaane ki awaaz
Aur dhoondhlayi hui shaam ke be-noor andhere
Aise deewaron se moonh jor kar chalte hai yahan
Churi-waalan ke katri ki bari bee jaise
Apni bujhti hui aankhon se darwaaze tatole
Isee be-noor andheri see gali qaasim se
Ek tarteeb charaghon ki shuru hoti hai
Ek quran-e-sukhan ka safa khulta hai
Asadullah Khan ‘Ghalib’ ka patha milta hai.
(The lanes of Ballimaran so much like the confusing arguments
With patridge stories at the lane’s corner.
The sounds of applause amidst the gurgling sounds of  chewed beetal leaves.
With worn out rug curtains hung outside a few doors
The bleating sound of a goat
And the lifeless darkness in the hazy evening.
That creep along the  walls.
Like the old lady from the alleys of Chooriwalan
Who hunts for the doors by the partial vision in her eyes.
In one such dull, dark street Qasim
Where a  row of lit lamps starts, 
And a new page of poetry begins
There,  the  whereabouts of Asadullah Khan Ghalib are  found).
(Pardon my inability to do justice through translation)).

He rented the haveli through his friend. And spent the last decade of life there.

With a prose as powerful as his poetry, he describes the dilapidated state of his house in a letter to his friend :

Balakhana ager che gira nahin, lekin chat chhalni ho chuki hai. Kahin lagan kahin ughaal dan, kahin chilamchi rakh diya hai.Abr do ghante batrasta hai to chat hamri chaar ghante barasti hai.
(Although the house did not fall, the roof has become a sieve. We put various utensils benath the points– of leak. Though the skies rain for two hours, our roof rains for four.)

And in true Ghalib wit he says:

Huaa huun ishq kii ghaarat garii se sharmindaa
Sivaay hasrat-e-taamiir ghar men khaak nahiin
(I am guilty of the destruction that my love has brought, There isnt anything at home except for the ‘castles in the air’).

Though living a life of extremely limited means, and financial hardships, he continued to live in Delhi:

Hai ab is mamure mein qaht-e gham-e ulfat asad
Ham ne yih mana kih dilli mein rahe khavenge kya
(There is now in this town a famine of the grief of love, Asad
We’ve agreed that we would remain in Delhi– what will we eat?)

He lived and loved the city Delhi, but with a complain about it’s changing character, in another letter:

Bhai kya poochte ho. Kya likhoon. Dilli ki hasti munassar kai hangamon per thi. Qila, Chandni chawk, her roz majma Jama Masjid ka, her hafte sair jamna ke pul ki, her saal mela phool waalon ka. Ye paanchon baatein ab nahin, phir kaho Dehli kahan. Haan koi shehr is naam ka Hindustan mein kabhi tha.
(What do you ask? What  should I write ? Five things kept Delhi alive – the fort, Chandni Chowk, the daily crowds at the Jama Masjid, the weekly walk to the Yamuna Bridge, and the yearly fair of the flower-sellers. None of these survives, so how could Delhi survive? Yes there used to be a city of this name in the land of Hindustan.)

Ghalib passed away in the same house on Feb 15, 1869. His house ultimately got turned into a place for coal storage.
It remained in a dilapidated condition until in 1999, when Government of Delhi acquired, renovated it,  after protests.

It was restored into a Ghalib Memorial Museum which opened on his birth anniversary on Dec 27, 2001.
Despite of  having lived the life of hardships of all kinds-emotional, personal, physical, financial, he had confidence that his poetry would keep his memories alive :

Hui muddat ke Ghalib mar gaya par yaad aataa hai
Woh har ek baat pe kehna ke yooN hota to kia hota.
( It has been a long time since Ghalib passed away, but he is still his saying of what if this or that had happened).

And as predicted by Mirza, for all the lovers of fine Urdu poetry, he still lives in each of his verses.

This reminds me of one his lesser known couplets which happen to be a favourite of mine, and which exudes his optimism in life,

Hoon garmi e nishaat e tasavvur se naghma sanj.
Main andaleeb e gulshan e na afrida hoon.
I sing with joy when I imagine tomorrow.
I am the lark of a garden that is yet to be.

(My tribute to the great poet on his 214th birth anniversary).

In love with Ghalib , the witty.

Recently I grabbed a book called Yadgar-e-Ghalib, by Altaf Hussain Haali in Urdu, and read bits from it. This has rekindled my fancy for him all the more.

Mirza Ghalib the humourist , is awe inspiring. Leave aside his superb poetry , his wit with which he lived and laughed off the troubles of his tough life, reveals a person extremely fascinating to read and know. He was an open book.

No doubt he indulged in various vices which would easily label him as a reckless person. But the honesty with which he admits all his vices and even laughs at himself makes him an adorable scamp and one feels like a shrewd hypocrite in front of him.

Ghalib teaches us what is it to live with a life of stark poverty, tragedy after tragedy of losing one’s progeny seven times, living off without a source of income and still to be able to maintain sanity and humour to enjoy one’s present day. (Although being a woman I hail and salute his wife as an epitome of patience and forebearance.)

Reading through I learnt what a friend he was. He never procrastinated in replying back to the letters. And many of his friends send him letters that were ‘bearing’ i.e. without a stamp, and he postpaid twice the amount to releases those letters from the postman. His silver tongue and the golden pen, won hearts of his friends and critics alike.

He wrote that he wanted to write a language, that whoever reads his letters gets elated. (Yes Mirza you still make us elated by them.)

His letters talked.( Yes one can hear you talking through them, Mirza)
One of them said:
“sau kos se ba-zaban-e-qalam baatein kiya karo aur hijr mein visaal ke maze liya karo”
(from hundred of miles talk with the tongue of the pen and enjoy the joy of meeting even when you are separated]).

He joked openly about his being a non-conformist and a sinner. When Ghalib bought a house in Gali Qasim Jaan, he wrote,

‘Masjid ke zer saya ek ghar bana liya hai,
yeh banda kamina, humsaya khuda hai’

(I have made my house on the shadow of the mosque; this wicked fellow is now a neighbour of God).
The mosque he was referring to was the Delhi’s famous Jama Masjid.

During Ramzan somebody asked him if he fasted , and he replied : “ek na rakha.”( I did not keep one.).

On yet another hot day in Ramzan, Mirza was playing chess when a friend, Maulana Arzoo came.
Maulana remarked :“I had read in a Hadith that the devil is imprisoned in the month of Ramzan. But today I doubt the validity of the Hadith.”
Mirza retorted: “Sir, the hadith is absolutely correct. But you be aware that this is that den where the devil is imprisoned.”

Making a serious satire at the gluttony that people indulge during the month of Ramadan he said:

Iftaar-e-saum kii jise kuch dast.gaah ho
us shakhs ko zaroor hai rozaa rakha kare

(The one who has the wherewithal to break his fast
that person should indeed keep the fast)

Jis paas roza khol ke khaane ko kuch na ho
roza agar na khaaye to naachaar kya kare

(The one who has nothing to break his fast with
what else can he do but be constrained to ‘eat the fast’)

And on being questioned for not fasting he said:
Ruza mera eman hay Ghalib! Laiken
Khas Khana wa barf aab kahan say laoon?

(Fasting is part of my faith, but from where should I get khus curtains and chill water for it ?).( Correction courtesy Sohail Bhai).

On another occasion, in a letter that he wrote to a friend, in Persian:
“These days Maulana Ghalib (God’s mercy be upon him) is in clover [very happy]. A volume of the Dastaan-i-Amir Hamza has come — about 600 pages of it — and a volume of the same size of Bostan-i-Khayal. And there are seventeen bottles of good wine in the pantry. So I read all day and drink all night.
The man who wins such bliss can only wonder What more had Jamshed? What more Alexander?”

Ghalib often bragged about his reputation as a rake. He was once imprisoned for gambling and later narrated the incident with great fancy.

Once, when someone praised the poetry of the pious Sheikh Sahbai, Ghalib immediately retorted:
“How can Sahbai be a poet? He has never tasted wine, nor has he ever gambled; he has not been beaten with slippers by lovers, nor has he ever seen the inside of a jail”

When someone poked fun at him for being a drunkard and that a wine-bibbers’ prayers are never answered he said with a laugh, outwitting the person:
“My friend, if a man has wine, what else does he need to pray for?”

He did not even spare his ‘economic poverty’ from the wrath of his wit. ( But Mirza, we know you were far richer the many rich then and now)
Qarz kii piite the mai lekin samajhte the kih haan
Rang laavegii hamaarii faaqah-mastii ek din

The King, Bahadur Shah Zafar was planning to go for Hajj and Ghalib heard it. He wrote to the King :
Ghalib, gar is safar maiN mujhay saath lay chalaiN
Haj ka sawaab nazr karooN ga hazoor ki

If he will take me with him on the Pilgrimage
His Majesty may have my share of heavenly reward

He never minced words about his inclination towards practicing the faith.

Jaanataa huun  savaab-e-taa’at-o-zahad 
Par tabiiyat idhar nahiin aatii 

(I am aware of the reward of religious deeds in the next life, but I somehow do not get inclined towards them.)

It isn’t that those who live happy, are not sensitive and pained by the troubles that come their way. Like everyman with a mind and a heart , to be hurt by the whips that life lashes at them, Ghalib too felt his share of pain.

He wrote:
Sozish e batin ke hain ahbab munkir warna yaan
Dil maheet e girya aur lab aashnaa e khanda hai.

(Though my friends give no credence to my inner aches
While my lips are all smile, my heart is but a tearful waste).

Indeed, his wit must have been therapeutic to his own self, but to readers like me it is very addicting.

P.S. I am extremely indebted to Sohail Hashmi bhai, who I know is an expert in Urdu poetry from very young age, has added some other incidents related to the above context:

The house next to a mosque belonged to Kale saheb, a gentleman who was into sufiism and was respected greatly by bahadur shah zafar. In fact the House was given Ghalib on the recommendation of Zafar, Ghalib has refered to the mosque and his house in two other shers

Bhaun paas aankh qibla-e-haajaat Chahiye
Maajid ke zer-e-saayaa kharaabaat chahiye

Dil Khush hua hai Masjid-e-veeraan dekh kar
Meri tarah Khuda ka bhi Khaanaa Kharaab hai

Once during the month of Ramzan, a maulana who was a friend of Ghalib and also a poet went to meet ghalib, ghalib had a a plate of kabaabs in front of him and a glass of Wine besides him.
The maulana said, “Tumhaara roza nahin hai.”
Ghalib said “Hai”
The Maulana asked “Phir yeh sab kya hai”
Ghalib response was, “Roze ko behlaane ka saamaan hai.”

[P.S. His humour on his first love deserves a complete blog in itself, which shall follow later. No his first love wasn’t either ‘women’ or ‘wine’.]

Times Change, so do the Tastes…

A favourite of yesteryears. Does not seem to move as much any more.
Blogged for keep sake of past memories…

Nahin Aisa Nahin Hone Dena–Ahmed Faraz

Ab mere dosray bazoo pe wo shamsheer hai jo
Is se pehle bhi mera nisf badan kaat chuki
Usi bandooq ki goli/nali hai meri samt ke jo
Is se pehle bhi meri shah rag ka lahu chaat chuki

Phir wohi aag dhar aye hai meri galyuun mein
Phir mere sehn mein barood ki boo pheli hai
Phir se tu kaun hai mein kaun hoon aapas mein sawal
Phir wohi soch mayan man o tu pheli hai

Meri Basti se parey bhi mere dushman hongey
Per yahan kab koi aghyaar ka lashker utra
Ashnaa haath hi aksar mari jaanib lapkey
Mere seeney mein mera apna hi khanjar utra.

Phir wohi khauf ki deewar, tazabzub ki faza
Phir hui aam wohi ahl e riya ki baatein
Nara e hubbe watan, maal e tajarat ki tarah
Jins e ajzaan ki tarah, deen e Khuda ki baatein

Is se pehle bhi to aisi hee gadi aye thee
Subh e wehshat ki tarah shaam e gharibaan ki tarah
Is se pehle bhi to paimaan e wafa tootay thay
Sheesha dil ki tarah aina e jaan ki tarah

Phir kahan ahmeri hoton pe duaon ke diye
Phir kahan shabnami chehron pe refaqat ki rida
Sandali paon se mastana ravi rooth gai
Marmari haathon pe jal bujh gaya angaar e hina

Dil nashin aankhon mein furqat zada kaajal roya
Shaakh e bazoo ke liye zulf ka baadal roya
Misl e pairahan e gul phir se badan chaak hue
Jaise apnon ki kamanon mein hon aghyar ke teer

Is se pehle bhi hua chand muhabbat ka do neem
Noke e dashna sey khinchi thi meri matti pe lakeer
Ab magar aisa nahee aisa nahee honay dena
Aye mere sokhta jaano mere pyaare logon

Ab ke gar zalzaley aaye to qayamat hogi
Mere dil geer mere dard ke maare logon
Kisi ghasib, kisi zaalim/ kisi jaabir kisi hakim ke liye
Khud ko taqseem na kara mere saray logo
~Ahmed Faraz

It seems as if the above words are written for today’s conditions. He wrote it for the ‘aag’ in Sindh. Only if he knew there would the same ‘aag’ all over the country. I wonder how long will we find such painful words appropriate in our lives?

P.S.Thanks to Junaid Zubairi for making me think about this blog. 🙂

A Chhaap Tilak & other Collection of verses ~ by Farid Ayaz & Co.

This beautiful rendition of Chaap Tilak with magic spilled by Farid Ayaz, includes verses from Hazrat Sultan Bahu, Moalana Rumi and Kabir Das that were appropriate to the mood and common thought.

Amir Khusro:

Apni chhab banaye ke , main to pee ke paas gayee,
Jab chhhab dekhi peehu ki, main to apni bhool gayee.
I went to my beloved, with my own glow,
When I saw His ‘aura’, I forgot my own.

Chhap tilak sab cheeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Chhap tilak sab cheeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Prem bhatee ka madhva pilaikay
Matvali kar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Gori gori bayyan, hari hari churiyan
Bayyan pakar dhar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Bal bal jaaon mein toray rang rajwa
Apni see kar leeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Khusrau Nijaam kay bal bal jayyiye
Mohay Suhaagan keeni ray mosay naina milaikay
Chhap tilak sab cheeni ray mosay naina milaikay

You’ve taken away my looks, my identity, by just a glance.
By making me drink the wine of love-potion,
You’ve intoxicated me by just a glance;
My fair, delicate wrists with green bangles in them,
Have been held tightly by you with just a glance.
I give my life to you, Oh my cloth-dyer,
You’ve dyed me in yourself, by just a glance.
I give my whole life to you Oh, Nijam,
You’ve made me your bride, by just a glance.

Sultan Bahu:
Alif Allah chambe di booti, Murshid man wich laaee hoo
Nafee asbaat da pane milia, Har rage harjae hoo.

My Master Has Planted in My Heart the Jasmine of Allah’s Name.
Both My Denial That the Creation is Real and My Embracing of God,
the Only Reality, Have Nourished the Seedling Down to its Core.

Naina chupaye na chupe so pat ghoongat ki ote
Chatur naar aur soorma so karein laakh mein chor

The eyes could not be hidden behind the veil,
Tho’ the clever woman and the wise man tried their best (to hide ).

Bulleh Shah:
Ilmon bus kariye Oo yaar
Tainnu ikko alaf darkaar

Forget the pride in your knowledge O’ friend
One Alif is all you need

Mevlana Rumi:
beshno in ney chon hekaayat mikonad,
az jodaayee ha shekaayat mi-konad,

Listen to the (ney) reed flute, how it tells a tale of separation,
I want a bosom torn by severance, that I may unfold the pain of love desire.

Sun Kabira bansuri kahe nirali baat
Nagar dhandora peet ti hai choota pi ka saath.

Listen Kabir to the flute’s unique lament
Announcing everywhere that it is parted from it’s beloved

Amir Khusrau, the playful

Amīr Khusrau Dehlawī, a Sufi mystic and a spiritual disciple of Nizamuddin Auliya of Delhi, was not only a notable poet but also a prolific scholar and a seminal musician. He wrote poetry primarily in Persian for the court and Hindvi for the common man.

Amir Khusrau  had a special connection with the common folk and their language of expression. This led him to use the language  in his playful interaction with the people. His songs(geet), couplets( dohas) and riddles( pahelis) are mainly written in that dialect called Hindvi.

There are an endless number of riddles credited to him-some  as Keh Mukarnis( say-deny ), Dosukhnay (two liners) and chaubolay(four liners) etc. in Hindvi.  The riddles convey the spirit of playfulness, celebration, and surprise.

Khusrau’s pahelis, dohas and geets were so enmeshed into the day to day lives of the common man that they were orally transferred from generation to generation. They were passed on by Qawwals (Qawwali singers), mirasees (professional singers), bhands (stage performers),naukranis (women-folk who were employed by aristocratic families to look after children and perform other daily chores, and of course the family members themselves.

Riddles (Dosukhna ):

Dosukhna, (literally meaning a two-liner or a two-verse-thing) is a smart form of riddle in which one has to find one answer for two completely different questions – though that answer could have different meanings for both questions. Interesting part is that the answer is not simply one word or a noun – it has to be a two or three word explanation, since the questions are always asked in ‘Whys’.

Some examples are:

Raja pyasa kyoon? Gadha udasa kyoon?
Lota na tha.

Why is the king thirsty? Why is the donkey sad?
Didn’t have the pot to drink (the king);
Hadn’t rolled on the ground (the donkey)

Deevar kyoon tooti? Raah kyoon luti?
Raaj na tha.

Why did the wall break? Why was there a robbery on the road?
There was no mason (for the wall);
There was no government (to stop the robbery).

Anar kyoon na chakkha? Wazir kyoon na rakkha?
Danaa na tha.

Why didn’t you taste the pomegranate?
Why wasn’t a minister selected?
Didn’t have the seed (the pomegranate);
There wasn’t a wise one (the minister).

Dahi kyoon na jama? Naukar kyoon na rakkha?
Zaamin na tha.

Why didn’t the curd set? Why wasn’t the servant kept?
There was no essence (for the curd),
There was no one to give security(for the servant)

Ghar kyoon andhiyaara? Faqeer kyoon badbadaya?
Diya na tha.

Why was the house in dark? Why did the beggar grumble?
There was no lamp (in the house);
Hadn’t given anything (to the beggar).

Gosht kyoon na khaya? Dom kyoon na gaya?
Gala na tha.

Why wasn’t the meat eaten? Why didn’t the bard sing?
Wasn’t done properly (the meat); Didn’t have a voice (the bard).

Samosa kyoon na khaya? Joota kyoon na pehna?
Tala na tha.

Why wasn’t the samosa (a patty) eaten? Why wasn’t the shoe worn?
Wasn’t fried (the samosa); Didn’t have a sole (the shoe).

Sitar kyoon na baja? Aurat kyoon na nahayi?
Parda na tha.

Why wasn’t the sitar played? Why didn’t the lady bathe?
Didn’t have a reed (the sitar); There was no curtain (for the lady).

Pundit kyoon na nahaaya? Dhoban kyoon maari gayi?
Dhoti na thi.

Why didn’t the pundit (the priest) bathe?
Why was the washerwoman beaten?
Didn’t have a loincloth (the pundit); Did not used to wash (the washerwoman)

Khichdi kyoon na pakaayi? Kabootri kyoon na bhagayi?
Chhadi na thi.

Why didn’t you cook the Khichdi (a rice dish)?
Why didn’t you drive away the (female) pigeon?
Didn’t have a spoon (for the Khichdi);
Didn’t have a stick (to drive away the pigeon).


Ghuum ghumelaa lehangaa pahne,
ek paanv se rahe kharii.
aath haath hain us naarii ke,
suurat usakii lage parii.

Sab koii us kii chaah kare hai,
musalamaan hinduu chhatrii.
“khusaro” ne yah kahii pahelii,
dil me.n apane soch jarii..

A: Chhatri

She wears a round skirt, stands on one leg,
That lady has eight legs,
And looks like a fairy.
Everyone wants her,
Muslim, Hindu, Chhatri (of warrior caste).
Khosrow asks this riddle,
just think about it.

Baalaa thaa jab man ko bhaayaa,
badaa huaa kuchh kaam na aayaa,
“khusaro” kah diyaa us kaa naanv,
buujhe nahiin to chhode gaanv..
A: diyaa

Was lovable when little (or lit),
but was worthless when grown up (or extinguished)
Khusro has told you his name,
solve this riddle or get out of town.
A: Tealight( diyaa)

Ek kahani main kahun,
Tu sunlay meray poot;
Bina paron ke ud gayee,
Woh baandh galay mein soot.

A: Patang

Let me ask a riddle,
Listen, oh my son;
She flew without wings,
with a thread in her neck.
A: A kite

Nar naari kehlaati hai,
aur bin warsha jal jati hai;
Purkh say aaway purkh mein jaai,
na di kisi nay boojh bataai.
A: Nadi ( Darya)

Is known by both masculine and feminine names,
And lightens up (or burns up) without rain;
Originates from a man and goes into a man,
But no one has been able to guess what it is.
A: River

Pawan chalat weh dehe badhavay
Jal peevat weh jeev ganvavay
Hai weh piyari sundar naar,
Naar nahin par hai weh naar.
A: Aag

With the blow of wind she flares up,
And dies as soon as she drinks water;
Even though she is a pretty woman,
She’s not a woman, though she’s feminine.
A: Fire

Ek guni nay yeh gun keena,
Hariyal pinjray mein dedeena;
Dekho jadoogar ka kamaal,
Daalay hara, nikaalay laal.
A: Paan 

One trickster performed this trick,
Inserted a (green) parrot into the cage;
Oh, what an act the sorcerer shows,
Puts in green, takes out red !
A:Betel leaf for chewing 

Bheetar chilmun, baahar
chilmun, beech kaleja dhadkay,
Amir Khusrau yun kahay
woh do do ungal sarkay.

A screen inside,a screen outside,
a pounding heart in between,
Says Amir Khusrau,
its moving inch by inch.

Ujjal ateet moti barani, paayi
 kabnt diyay moye dharani,
Jahaan dhari wahan nahin paayi,
haat bajaar sabhay dhoondh aayi;
Aye sakhi ab keejay ka?
Pi maangay to deejay kya?

He found some beautiful, sparkling pearls, 
and gave them to me to keep,
But alas, I can’t find them now where I kept,
Have searched every corner, even in the bazaar;
What to do, Oh my friend?
What will I give, when the beloved asks?
A: Hail

The Say-and-Deny Riddles of Khusro (Keh Mukarnis):

Keh (say) Mukarni (denial) is an interesting genre of riddles played between two young women, where one of them describes something in a way that it is mistaken by the other girl as her beloved, and finally turns out to be something completely different.

Raat samay woh mere aawe
bhore bhaye woh ghar uthi jawe
Ye achraj hai sab se nyaara
Ay sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi taara!

He comes to me at night
At the onset of dawn he goes away
And it is so very exciting.
Is he the beloved?
No dear, a star!

Jab maangoon tab jal bhar laawe
Mere man ki tapan bujhawe
Man ka bhari tan ka chota
Kya sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi, lota!

Brings water whenever I want
Quenches the heat in me
Has a big heart but small body.
Is it the beloved?
No dear, a water jar !

Nange paanv phiran nahin deta
paanv se mitti lagan nahin deta
paanv ka chooma let nipoota
Ay sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi joota!

Does not let me walk barefoot
Does not let my feet get soiled
Hugs my feet always.
Is it the beloved?
No dear, a shoe!

Sej padi moray aankhon aaya,
Daal sej mohay majaa dikhaya,
Kis say kahun ab maja main apna.
Aye sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi, sapna!

I was lying on the bed,
when he appeared in my eyes,
Oh, he let me have such fun on the bed,
Who should I tell my fun now.
Was it the beloved?
No dear, a dream!

Bakhat bakhat moye wa ki aas,
raat dina oo rahat mo paas;
Meray man ko sab karat hay kaam.
Aye sakhi saajan?
na sakhi, Ram!

Each moment I long for him;
Day and night he remains with me,
And does what my heart asks him to do.
Is it the beloved?
No my dear, its Ram( God)!

Sagri raen chhatiyan par raakha,
Roop rang sab wa ka chaakha;
Bhor bhaee jab diya utaar.
Aye sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi haar!

Kept him on my bosom the entire night,
And tasted his various flavours thoroughly;
At dawn, I removed him.
You mean the beloved?
No dear, necklace!

Padi thi main achaanak chadh aayo,
Jab utryo to paseeno aayo,
Sehem gayi nahin saki pukaar,
Aye sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi, bukhaar!

I was lying when he suddenly came upon me,
I was perspiring, when he got away,
Terrified, I could not scream.
Was it the beloved?
No dear, it was fever!

Woh aaye tab shaadi hovay,
Us bin dooja aur na koye;
Meethay laagen wa ke bol.
Aye sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi, dhol!

One can’t get married without him/it,
There is no one like him/it;
And he/it sounds so sweet.
Is it the beloved?
No dear, the drum (for singing)!.

Aap hilay aur moye hilaaye,
Wa ka hilna moye mun bhaye;
Hil hil kay woh huva nasankha.
Aye sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi pankha!

It shakes itself, and shakes me too,
The shaking really pleases me;
It has become so frail by continually shaking.
Is it the beloved?
No dear, a fan!

Lipat lipat kay wa-kay soyee,
Chhaati say chhaati lagakay royee,
Daant say daant bajay to taada.
Aye sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi, jaada!

Cuddled up in his arms she slept,
Bosoms pressed against each other, she sobbed,
When the teeth started clattering, she saw.
Was it the beloved?
No my dear, Winter!

Oonchi ataari palang bichhayo,
Main soyi meray sir par aayo;
Khul gayin ankhiyan bhayi anand,
Aye sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi, Chand!

Had my bed on the roof top,
And was off to sleep, when he came;
Could not sleep any further, it was such a pleasure.
Was it the beloved?
No dear, it was moon!

Ber-ber sovathi jagave
Na jagoon to kaate khaave
Vyakul hui main hakki bakki
Ay sakhi sajan?
Na sakhi, makkhii!

With sound wakes me from sleep
Bites if I don’t wake up
So nervous I wake up.
Is it the beloved?
No dear, a housefly!

Jab woh moray mandir aaway,
sotay mujhko aan jagaway;
Padhat phirat woh birah ke achchar,
Aye sakhi sajan?
Na sakhi machchar!

Whenever he visits my place,
Wakes me up from the sleep,
He sings the song of separation;
Is it the beloved, oh friend?
No, its mosquito!

Ati surang hai rang rangeele
gunwant bahut chateeley
Ram bhajan bin kabhi na sota
Kyon sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi, totaa!

Is so beautiful and colorful
So very talented too.
Never sleeps without prayers.
Is it the beloved?
No dear, a parrot!

Jeevan sab jag jaso kahe
Wa binu nek na dheeraj rahe
hare chinak mein hiye ki pir
Kya sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi , neer!( aansoo)

Says everything about the life
With it one cannot bear
Takes away the pain.
Is it the beloved?
No dear, tears!

Shobha sada badhawan hara
Ankhin se chhin hot na nyara
Aath peher mero manoranjan.
Kyon sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi , Anjan!( Kaajal)

Beautifies me so much
Doesn’t look nice away from eyes
All the time I enjoy it’s presence.
Is it the beloved?
No dear, the kohl! ( in the eyes).

Bin aaye sab hi sukh bhoole
Aye to ang ang sab phoole
Siri bhai lagawat chaati
Kyon sakhi saajan?
Na sakhi , paati!

Without it’s everyone takes forgranted happiness
If arrives, it worries us a lot
And we have to embrace it anyways.
Is it the beloved?
No dear, sadness!

( Dear readers, if you know of any such riddles by Amir Khusrau which aren’t here, you are welcome to add them in the comments. I shall be highly indebted for that ).

-Amir Khusrau Wikepedia
-Amir Khusrau Website:

Chonani Dar Nazar Nazaar-e-Gaaran~ Amir Khusro~ sung by Shobha Mudgul & Mahsa Vahdat

Shobha Mudgal sings verses of Khusraw beautifully in Farsi and Urdu and is accompanied by Mahsa Vahdat who partly sings in the style of the throat singers from Iran. Of the many magical pieces of music created at the Khusrau Festival.

Chonani dar Nazar Nazar e garan
Ke Raunaq Ishq mi Mahpaar gaaran

Ishq hai Jiss Maqam mein, Koi Dusra Nahi
Main Bhi Tere siva nahi, Tu Bhi Mere siva nahi

Tu dar Khab-e Khush-o-Man bi tu har shab
Shomaram ta Sahar Sayyar gaaran

Mast nahi, Talab nahi
Raah nahi, Rehnuma nahi
Ishq hai, Khud hi Mudwaa
Ishq mein Mudwaa nahi

Alam e mein wo ghum se door, Mehab hai dil tere Huzoor
Ranj nahi, Khushi nahi, Dard nahi, Dawa nahi
Ravi gar Aisa Badakhana e vu
Ke koi Qissa e Awaar Garan

Chonani dar Nazar nazar e garan
Ke Raunaq Ishq mi Mahpaar garan

Shab e dil o Nazar Zaheen, Shab e Zabaan e Ishq hai
Lafz nahi, Bayaan nahi, sood nahi, Sada nahi

Dil-e Diwaana-e Khusrau ni Koneest
Che Goyam bar Pari Rukhsargaan ra

Chonani dar Nazar nazar e garan
Ke Raunaq Ishq mi Mahpaar garan

Dil-e Diwaana-e Khusrau..

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