marne ke piichhe to raa;hat sach hai lek
biich me;N yih vaaqi((ah ;haa))il hai myaa;N

1) beyond/'behind' death there's ease, it's true, but
2) in between, this 'event' is an obstacle, sir



vaaqi((ah : 'Event, occurrence, incident; —news, intelligence; —accident; misfortune; a grieyous calamity; —battle, encounter, conflict; —casualty; death; —a dream, vision'. (Platts p.1175)


;haa))il : 'Intervening, interposing; preventing, hindering, restraining; —one who or a thing which interrupts, or prevents, preventer, hinderer; hindrance, obstacle, impediment'. (Platts p.474)


haa))il : 'Terrible, dreadful, horrible, frightful; —huge, large'. (Platts p.1217)

S. R. Faruqi:

The theme itself is supremely excellent-- that after death there will certainly be ease, but death itself is such a huge difficulty that at the thought of it the inner-self feels fear. There's also the suggestion that death is such a huge difficulty that the ease that will come after it can't make up for it.

Now, to bestow on this fresh theme more freshness, Mir has placed in the second line uncommon words like vaaqi((ah and ;haa))il . The word vaaqi((ah of course means 'incident, event', but it also means 'dream, sleep' and 'death'. (In this context, see:




Similarly, ;haa))il means 'road-obstruction', but when the verse is read aloud then there's also the suggestion of haa))il meaning 'terrifying, frightening'. And this meaning too is entirely appropriate-- so much so that Mir has composed exactly this theme as follows, in the sixth divan [{1772,7}]:

sach hai raa;hat to ba((d marne ke
par ba;Raa vaaqi((ah yih haa))il hai

[it's true-- ease, after dying
but this big 'event' is terrifying]

In both cases, the tone of the verse is fine. There's neither worldliness and world-worship, nor any special longing for death. Death is only one stage to be traversed, after it there is in any case ease. But this stage to be traversed is very harsh and murderous. The speaker is not afraid of death; he is not in love with the world, but he's also not in love with death.

It's a verse of absolutely common human experience. In verses of this kind, Ghalib is left behind-- not to speak of Zauq. Zauq says:

ab to ghabraa ke yih kahte hai;N kih mar jaa))e;Nge
mar ke bhii chain nah paayaa to kidhar jaa))e;Nge

[now, feeling anxious, we say we will die
if even after dying we find no peace, then which way will we go?]

Zauq's verse has 'cleverness', but not even intelligence-- not to speak of the intellectual and emotional thought and exertion that is apparent in Mir's verse. In Ghalib's case, there's intellectual thought, but not emotional exertion.



What a remarkable and rare kind of 'sound effect' this verse achieves! As SRF points out, no listener at a mushairah could distinguish between ;haa))il and haa))il . And both are utterly, perfectly appropriate. How often can that be made to happen? Not often, even by a great poet. But the present verse is one example, and {1772,7} can be considered another, presented in reverse:

sach hai raa;hat to ba((d marne ke
par ba;Raa vaaqi((ah yih haa))il hai

[it's true, there's ease after dying
but this big 'event' is dreadful]

As SRF observes, vaaqi((ah has such a range of meanings (see the definition above)-- and every single one is fully appropriate to the context. As a form of tribute to such ampleness, I've just left the word as 'event'. That works too, in another way, doesn't it?