fur.sat-e ;xvaab nahii;N ;zikr-e butaa;N me;N ham ko
raat din raam-kahaanii sii kahaa karte hai;N

1) we have no leisure for sleep/dreams, in speaking of the idols
2) night and day, we always say something like a 'Ram-story'



raam kahaanii : 'The Rāmāyan or story of Rām; —a long story'. (Platts p.583)

S. R. Faruqi:

This theme too he has used a number of times; for example, in the fourth divan [{1494,8}]:

u;Th ga))e par mire takye ko kahe;Nge yaa;N miir
dard-e dil bai;The kahaanii sii kahaa karte the

[upon my arising, it will speak to the pillow, here, Mir
the heart-pain was 'seated' and always told something like a story]

From the sixth divan [{1853,9}]:

dil ko jaanaa thaa gayaa rah gayaa hai afsaanah
roz-o-shab ham bhii kahaanii sii kahaa karte hai;N

[the heart had to go, it went; a story has remained
day and night even/also we always say something like a story]

The idea of the present verse isn't found in any other one. The term 'Ram-story' is devastating, and its zila with the word 'idols' too is fine. Because ;zikr is used in Sufistic and religious terminology for the remembrance of God and for those special phrases that are brought to the tongue when remembering God, when juxtaposed to 'idols' and 'Ram-story', it has a remarkable pleasure.

Then, 'Ram-story' has two meanings: (1) long narrative/'dastan'; and (2) story/'dastan' of difficulties. Here, both meanings are appropriate.

Jur'at too has well versified the zila of 'Ram-story' and 'idols':

dard-e dil us but-e be-ra;hm se kahye to kahe
jaa ke yih raam-kahaanii to sunaa aur kahii;N

[if you tell the pain of the heart to that merciless idol, then she would say
'go and tell this 'Ram-story' somewhere else']

But in Jur'at's verse the second meaning is more suitable, while in Mir's verse both meanings are brought in.

In a quatrain of Hali's too, 'Ram-story' has been well used; but only the first meaning is suitable:

bulbul kii chaman me;N ham-zabaanii chho;Rii
bazm-e shu((araa me;N shi((r-;xvaanii chho;Rii
jab se dil-zindah tuu ne ham ko chho;Raa
ham ne bhii tirii raam-kahaanii chho;Rii

[we abandoned singing with the Nightingale in the garden
in the gathering of poets, we abandoned verse-recitation
from the time when you cheerfully abandoned us
we too abandoned your 'Ram-story']



The insistence on the lack of 'leisure' for sleep, and on 'night and day' recitation, emphasizes the sense of the 'Ram-story' as a 'long' narrative. The speaker's obsessive (or even helpless?) commitment to this ;zikr also evokes, as SRF observes, a mystical absorption in divinity-- only in this case of course the obsession is about 'idols' rather than God. The result is an interminable 'Ram-story' that is a long story, a mystical/religious story, and inevitably (in the ghazal world) a 'story of difficulties' as well.

But then, it's not ultimately so clear-cut. For what the speaker can't stop reciting is 'something like' a Ram-story-- literally, something 'Ram-story-ish'. What does the difference consist in? As so often, part of the imaginative work of the verse is left for us readers to do for ourselves.