ai shor-e qiyaamat ham sote hii nah rah jaave;N
is raah se nikle to ham ko bhii jagaa jaanaa

1) oh turmoil of Doomsday, we would/should not remain only/emphatically sleeping!
2) when/if you would come along by this road, then awaken even/also us as you go



S. R. Faruqi:

A theme similar to this one, Ghazali Mashhadi has expressed so excellently [in Persian] that Mir's verse hasn't come anywhere near it:

'There was a turmoil from the 'sleep of nonexistence' we opened our eyes,
We saw that the 'night of insolence' still remains; we went to sleep.'

But there's something in Mir's verse too. The sleep of death is so deep that Doomsday by itself isn't sufficient to waken us; it's necessary for him to remind it: 'when you come by our grave, then wake us up specially'. The style is such as to convey the idea that we ourselves chose the sleep of death. Because if death had come to us in the way that it comes to everybody, then we would spontaneously have awakened on Doomsday.

Now the question is that if death came to him of his own choice, then why the concern about waking up? It might be because the beloved made a promise of a meeting, or of 'union', when they awoke on Doomsday, and the speaker too resolved to die, since now what need was there to remain alive? Then the question is, in that case why would he have slept so deeply that there would be doubt about his awakening even on Doomsday? The answer to this may possibly be that if he hadn't slept so deeply, then he might perhaps have awakened before Doomsday, and it had already been decided that when no sight of the beloved will be available until after Doomsday, then to remain in this world is unnecessary and profitless, so why should he keep open the possibility of having to come again into this world?

Now this is what's called verse of 'mood'! That is, a verse in which the meaning would not be extremely much, or would not immediately become apparent, but in the whole verse there would be such an atmosphere, or such a tone, that the verse would at once affect you or claim your attention. Ghazali Mashhadi's verse is a good example of 'theme-creation'. By 'theme-creation' is meant to create in some familiar theme a new aspect, or to express it in such a way that breadth/capacity [vus((at] is created in the theme. In contrast to this, by 'meaning-creation' is meant to use words in such a way that some new meaning would be created, or to say something multi-layered [tah-daar], or to express the theme in such a way that some new aspect would be created.

In one verse Dard has versified a theme resembling that of Ghazali Mashhadi's and Mir's verses. But he has found his own way, and has done justice to the claims of 'meaning-creation':

ay shor-e qiyaamat rah uudhar hii mai;N kahtaa huu;N
chau;Nke nah abhii yaa;N se ko))ii sar-e shoriidah

[oh turmoil of Doomsday, stay over that way, I tell you!
let no turmoil-filled head be startled/roused, as yet, from here]

In Dard's verse the address to the turmoil of Doomsday is fine. Then in the theme the freshness is that the people with turmoil-filled heads are sleeping; to wake them up is a headache even for Doomsday and the people of Doomsday, and it's also not good for the people with turmoil-filled heads. These poor things have had peace vouchsafed to them only after dying; now, why should they be given the bother of waking up again?



This is another verse that 'feels' different to me from the way it does to SRF, even though we agree entirely about the meaning and usage of every word in it. To me, its chief delight is the extremely colloquial, offhand, entirely unceremonious way in which the speaker addresses the 'Turmoil of Doomsday'-- as though it were an old friend, or a junior relative, or a longtime family servant.

Thus I envision the first line as accompanied by a stretch and a yawn, while the speaker remains comfortably ensconced on his charpai, rubbing his eyes, half-heartedly scolding himself and urging himself not to waste the whole day sleeping. Well, he says with a show of annoyance, we don't want to sleep the whole day away, do we?! He addresses himself to someone passing by, and unceremoniously instructs that (familiar, and/or inferior) person to do a small task or favor in the course of some other errand-- 'Don't make a special detour, but when you next come by this way, just wake me up in passing'-- jagaa jaanaa , literally 'having awakened me, go on'.

But of course the familiar and/or inferior someone is that remarkable personification the 'Turmoil of Doomsday', thr object of such fear and awe in the Qur'an (according to 75:7-9, Doomsday will be a time 'when the sight is dazed, and the moon is buried in darkness, and the sun and the moon are joined together'). Just look at some of the wickedly enjoyable implications of the speaker's offhand treatment of it:

=The 'Turmoil of Doomsday' is a well-known, un-awesome, readily available thing or person, with a route and procedure of which the speaker is aware in advance; it also seems to be located within voice range of the speaker.

=The 'Turmoil of Doomsday' is either such a familiar friend or relative, and/or so much a social inferior, that the speaker doesn't bother with politeness or formality; he just unproblematically gives it the kind of casual everyday instructions reserved for intimates ('Wake me when you come back from the bazaar').

=The 'Turmoil of Doomsday' won't wake the speaker in the normal course of events, as it makes its rounds (presumably in order to awaken others); in his case a special effort of some kind will be needed to achieve results.

=The speaker is not only wholly in control of his own waking or sleeping, but is already at least half-awake, and doesn't seem to be very exercised about whether he really will get awakened or not (since the only reason he gives for waking up is a vague 'we really shouldn't sleep all day').

In short, it's the very casualness and informality with which the speaker orders around something as awesome and terrifying as the 'Turmoil of Doomsday', that's such a mischievous delight. It truly makes the verse funny.

For Ghalib's equally witty, and equally irresistibly offhand, treatment of the Ka'bah, compare