AN ANTHOLOGY OF TRANSLATIONS of {20}

from 1991 through 2010

 


*Yaqub Mirza, 1992*
*Ralph Russell, 1995*
*Umesh Joshi, 1995*
*Khwaja Tariq Mahmood, 1995*
*Prema Johari, 1996*
*Robert Bly and Sunil Dutta, 1999*
*T. P. Issar, 2000*
*Anonymous, 2001*
*Shah Abdus Salam, 2001*
*Sarfaraz K. Niazi, 2002*
*O. P. Kejariwal, 2002*
*Mansurul Hoda, 2003*
*Ralph Russell, 2003*
*Sarvat Rahman, 2003*
*K. C. Kanda, 2004*
*Roashan Chufla, 2004*
*Kunwar Rajinder Singh Rana, 2005*
*Shama Futehally, 2005*
*Praveaen Rao, 2006*
*U. C. Mahajan, 2006*
*Azra Raza and Sara Suleri Goodyear, 2009*
*Sarfaraz K. Niazi, 2009*
*Vivek Iyer, 2010*
*Khalid Hameed Shaida, 2010*

YAQUB MIRZA

The union with my beloved was none of my fate.
Had I lived longer, the longer I had to wait.

I survived your promise, believe me, I did not believe you.
I would have died of its thrill, had I known you were true.

Delicate because you were and so was your promise, therefore,
You could not have broken it, had it been stronger any more.

How would your half-drawn arrow have cask [sic] my heart true,
Felt this sensation, had it pierced my heart through?

What friendship is this? Friends turned advisers.
Were there a healer, had there been a sympathizer.

Blood would ooze out non-stop foam [sic] vains [sic] of the rock,
What you consider a simple grief had it been a spark.

Though the grief is killing but poor heart cannot escape:
It would have been the livelihood, was love not the case.

Who to tell? What is it? A gloomy night is a curse.
Death was not too bad to me, had it been only once.

My death was a disgrace. Better in a river I drowned.
No funeral and there had been no grave in the ground.

Who could discern Thee? --Without parallel, unique and perfect.
Had there been an iota of Thy likeness, somewhere must have met.

This whole predicament of mysticism and your explanation of it--
We would believe Ghalib is an Apostle, were he not a wine-addict.

--Dr. Yaqub Mirza, Translation of the Selected Verses of Ghalib's Urdu Ghazals
(New Delhi: Ghalib Institute, 1992), pp. 74, 76
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RALPH RUSSELL

This was not to be my fate that all should end in lover's meeting;
Even had I gone on living, I should still be waiting, waiting.

Did your promise save my life? Yes! -- for I knew you would not keep it.
Would I not have died of joy if I had thought you would fulfil it?

Am I still to call it friendship when my friends start preaching at me?
Someone should have brought me comfort, someone should have shared my sorrows.

Grief wastes our life away -- and yet how shall we flee the heart within us?
Had we not known the grief of love, we would have known the grief of living.

--Ralph Russell, Hidden in the Lute: An Anthology of Two Centuries of Urdu Literature (London: Carcanet, 1995), p. 171
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UMESH JOSHI

p. 33
Tryst with the beloved one was not in my fate,
Had I lived longer, it would have meant the same wait.

p. 28
If I lived by thy promise, Beloved, believe, I never believed,
Would not with joy would [sic] I have died had I believed?

p. 19
May someone check with my heart anent your feeble-enforced dart,
Where this throbbing would have been if it had pierced the heart.

p. 33
What friendship be this that friends have turned preachers;
Some should have been nursing wounds, some sharing the woe.

p. 17
Who may I tell what it is, ill is a grief-filled night,
Loath I was not to die, if only once it was.

p. 8
Grief is fatal, it is true, but how avoid it when heart's there;
If grief of love was absent even, livehihood's would still be there.

p. 14
By death that I gained notoriety, why not in a stream did I drown,
Neither a funeral procession even, nor any tomb there would have been.

p. 33
These your mystic thoughts, and this your diction, Ghalib,
We would reckon you a saint, if wine-imbiber you were not.

--Umesh Joshi, Ashaar of Gaalib and 25 Masters (New Delhi: Rupa & Co., 1995)
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KHWAJA TARIQ MAHMOOD

To meet beloved friend was not in my fate
Had I lived even longer it would be more in wait

I would have died of ecstacy if I knew your promise right
I knew within my heart what your promise was meant to state

For your frail constitution our bond was equally frail
You could not snap it ever were it more than delicate

My heart could well experience the effects of lingering pain
My innards your sharpened arrow could hardly penetrate

I am thoroughly dismayed that my friends have become my critic
For my healing and consoling they should have been articulate

How sorrow is debilitating, how heart is vacillating
If not affliction of love, woes of world would agitate

To whom may I confide that it is nocturnal blight
If death were only once I would willingly satiate

In death I suffered embarrassment I should have perished in a torrent
No funeral or a grave site for my shame to demonstrate

We could accept you a saint, O Ghalib, but for your drink addiction
How well you explain mystic edicts, how well you postulate

--Khwaja Tariq Mahmood, Ghalib: Rhymed Translations of Selected Ghazals
(Lahore: Author, 1995), p. 5
Note: Somewhat revised versions of these verses appear in the translator's Selections from Diwan-E-Ghalib (New Delhi: Star Publications, 2002), pp. 17, 19.
[back to index]

PREMA JOHARI

It is not mine to know Love's divine culmination,
Life is one long waiting 'twixt this and annihilation.

I should of happiness have died, of joy's excess so rare,
Had I this faith Beloved, that thou didst care.

But 'twixt life and death I linger still; hoping, and in pain,
O wouldst thy mark had failed not; and I in death's lap be lain.

Tho' grief the soul destroys, but with this gift of a human heart:
Pain will not refrain: be it of love's creating, or of life's unhappy mart.

Were it to die only once, I would not demur in facing, But
the pain of parted loves, is like death's finger, through life forever tracing.

Away false friends, away with your smug advice and cheap debate,
O give me of a little love and sympathy that may perchance my grief abate.

O give me of compassion
That might assuage my passion.

--Prema Johari, Renderings from Ghalib (New Delhi: Ghalib Institute, 1996), p. 13
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ROBERT BLY and SUNIL DUTTA

My Destiny

My destiny did not include reunion with my Friend.
Even if I lived a hundred years, this failure would be the same.

Your promise determined my life; but it was not believable.
If I had believed it, I would have died of joy anyway.

What kind of friendship is this when friends give advice?
I wish they knew healing or simple, ordinary sympathy.

Heart-sorrow eventually kills us, but that's the way heart is.
If there were no love, life would have done the trick.

This night of separation, whom can I tell about it?
I think death would be better, because at least it doesn't repeat.

Your hesitation indicates that the thread you had tied is weak;
You would never have broken the thread had it been strong.

Ask my heart sometime about your arrow shot from a loose bow.
It would not have hurt so much if it had actually gone through.

Rocks are hard, so they don't cry, but if your pain
Were genuine, Ghalib, it would make even rocks cry.

After my death, my reputation worsened. Maybe if I had just drowned
In a river, and had no tomb, they would have let Ghalib alone.

This great one, who can possibly see her? She is this One.
With just a hint of two, we might have achieved a meeting.

Your talk about spiritual matters is great, Oh Ghalib.
You could have been thought of as a sage if you didn't drink all the time.

--Robert Bly and Sunil Dutta, trans., The Lightning Should Have Fallen on Ghalib:
Selected Poems of Ghalib
(Hopewell, NJ: Ecco Press, 1999), pp. 11-12
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T. P. ISSAR

My life's journey had reached its end/ though my love's journey had not.
With some more heart-beats given to me / I would've had hope in my heart.

It was your promise that kept me alive / --though I knew it was all lies.
For, had I trusted it as truth, / in sheer joy I would've died!

How weak it was, was easy to see, / when you broke your promise with ease.
For, were it strong, you wouldn't have tried: / not with your sylph-like might.

I'm glad you shot your arrow / with the bow only half-bent.
For you the shot may've been in vain, / but it brought me exquisite pain!

O preacher, all your words well-meant / give me no comfort of a friend.
For me, my friends are only those / who tend and heal my woes.

This night of my suffering, away from you, / is dying many deaths in a row.
I'd gladly welcome Death, for it / would strike once, then no more.

--T. P. Issar, Ghalib: Cullings from the Divan, rendered in English (Bangalore: Author, 2000), pp. 26-28.
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ANONYMOUS

From your delicacy I know that the vow was bound weakly
You could never have broken it on a Sunday.

--a second-year Urdu student of Amy Bard's at Harvard, 2001
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SHAH ABDUS SALAM

This was not my fate that union with my beloved could occur.
Had I lived longer, this same expectancy would have continued.

I lived only upon your promise, beloved, I knew it false.
For would I not have died of joy had I believed it.

Let someone ask my heart about your half-drawn arrow,
Where from this torment started, had it passed the liver.

Whom should I tell what it is? The night of sorrow is a terrible calamity!
Dying would not have been unpleasant to me, if [it] had to be only once.

These intricacies of sufism, this eloquence of yours, O Ghalib!
We would have considered you a saint, had [you] not been a wine-fibber [sic].

--Shah Abdus Salam, Urdu Poetry: An Anthology up to 19th Century (Delhi: B.R. Publishing Corporation, 2001), p. 257.
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SARFARAZ K. NIAZI

It wasn't in my fate to have union with the beloved;
Had I gone on living, the waiting would still have been the same.

Had I lived on your pledge, I would surely have lost life
Out of sheer joy and ecstasy, if I had believed in it.

Your delicate nature revealed why the pledge you gave me was so fragile;
You would not have been able to break it, had it been firm.

Would someone ask my heart about your half-drawn arrow;
From where would this sweet pain have come, had it gone through the liver?

What sort of friendship is that this the friends have turned preachers?
There should have been someone to resolve my predicament and to console my heart.

It would have dripped from the veins of stone, the blood that would not stop.
Had it been a spark, what you think is the sorrow.

Though sorrow is life-taking, we cannot escape it, for there is a heart;
Had there not been the sorrow of love, the worries of living would still be there.

Whom shall I tell what it is, that the night of separation is a bad calamity?
What was wrong, if I were to die, but only once?

Having died, I invited disgrace; why didn't I just drown in the river?
For then, no coffin had to be raised, nor any shrine built.

Who could see Him? For He is unique, for He is alone.
Had there been a faint whiff of duality, we surely would have run into Him somewhere!

These maxims of mysticism and your sublime oration, Ghalib;
We would have taken you for a saint had you not been a wine-drinker.

--Sarfaraz Khan Niazi, trans., Love Sonnets of Ghalib (Lahore: Ferozsons, 2002), pp. 134-38.
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O. P. KEJARIWAL

It's just not my fate / That this wait / Should end / And we unite.
For even if this life / Were longer / Then longer / Would be the wait.

Wouldn't I have died / Of joy / If the promise you made / Was fulfilled?
It's the promise you made / And did not fulfil / That makes me live / And stay alive.

That half-drawn bow / That arrow about to go / Oh, ask my heart / The joy of the wait
For had it passed / Right through the heart / That would be the end / Of all that wait / And all that joy.

Who needs a friend / When all he gives / Is counsel and advice?
For what I need / From a friend indeed / Is cure for my pain / And healing for my ill.

Even the stone / Would not have thrown / A spark of fire / But would have thrown
A stream of blood / Without a cease / Were I to inscribe / My grief on it.

There is no escape / From the grief and pain / For one who had a heart.
For the heart would remain / Forever in pain / If not for love / Then / For the cares of the world.

To whom can I explain / The grief and the pain / Which the night ushers in.
Indeed for me / What could better be / Than to court death?
But only if / The death could be / Only once / And once and for all.

Oh the shame in death / And the funeral bier / And the permanence of the shame / In the grave.
Only if I were / Drowned in the sea / There would be no funeral / No tomb / No grave.

He is the One / The only One / The Unique / And the Unseen.
For if there / Ever were / Yet another / Then certainly / Sometime somewhere / There would surely be / An encounter.

These matters abstruse / These thoughts divine / Your discussions on these / Would make thee O Ghalib / A saint sublime.
But all is lost in vain / For one weakness of thine / And that is / Your drowning in wine.

-- O. P. Kejariwal, Ghalib in Translation (New Delhi: UBSPD, 2002), pp. 1-10
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MANSURUL HODA

It was never in my fate to meet my beloved.
Even if more years of life was to me allocated, I would have been still awaiting the prize cherished.

If you think that I had been living on your promise, it is a lie.
For, if I had faith in you, would not of joy I would die.

Woe betide, my friendship, that the friends give pious advice and sermons they deliver.
I need someone on whose shoulders could I weep, who could allay my grief and my fears.

Whom should I tell that the night of sorrow is full of pangs.
I would not have resented the death, if it comes only once.

Disgraced, as I was after my death, why didn't I drown in a river or sea.
Neither, there would have been a funeral, nor tomb erected for me.

The marvels of ethical problems and your statements full of meanings.
I would have counted you, "Ghalib" amongst dearest friends of God; if only, you had not been a lover of drinks.

-- http://members.tripod.com/~Hoda/mansur.html
Downloaded July 3, 2003.
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RALPH RUSSELL

This was not to be my fate that all should end in lover's meeting;
Even had I gone on living, I should still be waiting, waiting.

Did your promise save my life? Yes! -- for I knew you would not keep it
Would I not have died of joy if I had thought you would fulfil it?

Am I still to call it friendship when my friends start preaching at me?
Someone should have brought me comfort, someone should have shared my sorrows.

From the flint blood would come flooding--such a flow that none could staunch [sic] it
Had what you see as my sorrow been the fire that hides within it.

Grief wastes our life away -- and yet how shall we flee the heart within us?
Had we not known the grief of love, we would have known the grief of living.

With what style you handle, Ghalib, all these themes of mystic teaching!
What a saint we would have thought you if you had not been a drinker!

-- Ralph Russell, The Oxford India Ghalib: Life, Letters and Ghazals (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2003), pp. 339-340. Also printed in The Seeing Eye: Selections from the Urdu and Persian Ghazals of Ghalib (Islamabad: Alhamra, 2003), pp. 106-108.
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SARVAT RAHMAN

It was not my destiny, that I should meet with you,
Had I lived even longer, I'd still be awaiting you.

I lived upon your promise, because I knew it to be false,
For I would have died of happiness, had I known it to be true.

You are so very delicate, I knew your promise was false,
For you could never have broken it, had it been true.

Ask my heart, it knows, what your half drawn arrow means,
This sweet pain would not be there, had it gone right through.

This is no friendship, that friends have become mentors,
Would that I had a consoler, someone my wounds to sew.

From the veins of a stone would drip tears of blood endlessly,
The fire of my passion, were it to imbue.

Even if passion sears me, there's no escape, it's a heart,
If love were not its canker, life's cares would it subdue.

Who can understand it, exile's night is a dreadful thing,
I wouldn't have minded dying, if only one death I knew.

They dishonoured me, after my death, would that I had drowned!
There would have been no bier to lift, no tomb to endue.

Who can ever see Him, He's One and Unique,
Were there two, we'd see them, conflicts would ensue.

These questions of knowledge Divine, this style of yours, GHALIB,
We would consider you a saint, were you wine to eschew.

-- Sarvat Rahman, Diwan-e-Ghalib: Complete Translation Into English (New Delhi: Ghalib Institute, 2003), pp. 59-61
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K. C. KANDA

To have met my friend was not my fate,
A longer life'd only have meant a longer wait.

Did I trust your word, indeed? What a wrong belief!
I sure would have died of joy, had I trusted you, in faith.

Who but my heart can tell the thrill of your arrow, half-stretched,
Could it leave a sting behind, had it pierced my heart straight?

Mortifying is sorrow, no doubt, but how can we escape,
By pangs of living, if not of love, this heart would have been chased.

Terrible is the severance night! How should I describe?
Had I to die but once, I would've died unfazed.

Why didn't I drown in a river ere this disgrace?
There couldn't have been a funeral, there wouldn't be a grave.

Who can behold Him ever? He is the Being unique,
We might have met Him somewhere, had He a duplicate.

Your thoughts so deeply mystic, unmatched your style!
You would be called a prophet, Ghalib, but for your drinking craze.

-- K. C. Kanda, Mirza Ghalib: Selected Lyrics and Letters (Elgin, IL: New Dawn Press, 2004), p. 67
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ROASHAN CHUFLA

To win you over, Oh my beloved / Fate had not thus decreed
I would be waiting still if allowed / Some more life to me in lease.

Knowing well you would not keep / Your promise by which I had lived
I would have died with ecstasy / Had I a bit of trust in it.

What delicacy you have got in you / Is it enough to keep it glued?
The ties of love between us two / They would break if its not true.

Some one should now come and ask / About the half drawn arrow you shot
It would not have such soulful stirrings / Had it fully pierced the heart.

Boast of friendship, what is this all? / A friend should come in a mentor's garb;
Who would share with me my woes? / And who would heal my wounded soul?

From stones' veins, the dripping blood / Would their bleeding ever stop?
If what you consider to be a sorrow / A lightning flash should now befall.

Life rending is a sorrowful task / But always to fend there is a heart
If there was indeed no heart broken / There would still be a living to bask.

Whom should I now tell my tales / Of my haunting nights and days
If I have to die just only once / Let that day be just today.

In the river stream I should drown / When on me my fate had frowned
There would be no funeral for me / No grave for me would be found.

Unique and peerless He is no doubt / Nowhere in the world can He come out
Had He any of the dualism in Him / Somewhere, sometime He would be found.

The mystique in you, Oh dear Ghalib / Your style is so unique and fine
You would be a saint indeed / If only you had given up your wine.

-- Roashan Chufla, Mirza Ghalib in English Verse (Mumbai: Classic Printers, 2004), pp. 21-23
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-

KUNWAR RAJINDER SINGH RANA

It was not my fortune to meet my beloved,
Had I lived longer anxiously must I have waited more.

I knew your promises are false meant to state. [sic]
If I knew these are correct I would have died of happiness and pleasure.

From your delicacy, I could tell that your vow was weak
You could not have broken it, if it were firm.

From the half penetrated arrow one should gauge my pleasure;
If it had fully passed through the liver, it would not prick like this.

If the friend simply renders lip sympathy it is friendship futile
A sincere sympathizer and healer is required and needed.

Although grief melts the soul and lover's heart can never escape
If not the pains of love, the worries of the world would have been around.

Whom should I tell that sorrowful night is terrible to bear?
Had it meant only once it was no tragedy to die.

After death had we been drowned at river; it would have been less disgraceful than death,
Neither the funeral rite nor the tomb would have reminded of our infamy.

O' Ghalib these are spiritual matters to which your description leads.
Had you not been a wine drinker we would have considered you a saint? [sic]

-- Kunwar Rajinder Singh Rana, Divan-e-Ghalib: Urdu-Hindi to English selected gazals (New Delhi: Anmol publications, 2005), pp.32-33
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SHAMA FUTEHALLY

To meet the one I seek: this was not / written in the skies
It would have been a longer wait, had I / lived a longer life

If I lived upon your promise, it was still / without belief
would not my heart have burst, had such /joy been received?

Those tender veins in stone would have gushed / unending blood
If what you think is grief, had any flint / inside its gut

My heart alone is proof that your arrow / was half-drawn
what would be left to wound, had it done / the slightest harm?

Can any see that figure, which is Single / through and through?
Would it not have walked among us, had it / held a hint of Two?

These mystical reflections, these wise / pronouncements, Ghalib!
You'd have been proclaimed The Wise, had you been / less fond of wine.

-- Shama Futehally, Slivers of a Mirror: Glimpses of the Ghazal (Ahmedabad: Mapin Publishing Pvt. Ltd., 2005), p. 75
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PRAVEAEN RAO

such was not my destiny, her closeness I'd savour
were this life to continue, still wait I would as-ever

you promised and I lived, but know this, 'twas a lie I knew!
enraptured I'd die, if I knew that your promises you’d honor

your delicacy doth reveal, tied loosely was your vow
you and break it! not if the vow were bound harder!

let my heart be asked to avouch, for your halfhearted dart, ensconced
how would this sweet pain result, had it gone through the wound clear?

Friends!, what line is their friendship, if they but just counsel
I wish if they were a helper, if my pain they too would suffer

would then weep from rock veins, such a rivulet of blood, incessant
this which you know to be heartache, perchance a spark if it were

albeit my grief is surely mortal, but such is my heart, de rigueur
if not the pain of passion, then pain of livelihood it would suffer

in whom am I to confide, what a bane this night of pain is
when was I averse to dying? only once if that would occur

when I am disgraced by my death, why not die engulfed in the sea?
no funeral procession as reminder nor’d there have stood sepulcher

who can claim to have seen Him? for He is unique and unitary
a hint that He be binal, the 'Bi' someplace we would encounter

this contemplation of affairs!, this method of articulation Ghalib!
we should think you a Master, if you weren't an avowed drinker

-- Praveaen Rao [unpublished; provided for this site by the translator]
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U. C. MAHAJAN

To have blessed union with my beloved was not destined to be
Had I lived longer, the longer the denial and waiting to be.

I knew your love was false; so was your promise and hence untrue like you.
I would have died of sheer exultation, had I believed it to be true.

Of delicate frame you were so was your promise of love delicate and brittle,
Had it been of sterner stuff you could not have broken it at will.

Ask my heart the smarting pain inflicted by your eye lash's half stretched bow
from whence would come that sweet but painful thrill had it penetrated through.

What friendship is this? Friends in adversity, turned advisers nay mockers
I wish they could assuage my hurt feelings and share my life’s sorrows.

Even hardest stone is drained of blood once the dart of grief enters its vein.
It's such a spark that destroys both the heart and rock; its shaft is never in vain.

Although grief is killing, the poor heart cannot escape its darts.
Suffer it must woes of employment if not the aches of heart.

In whom should I confide; woes of dark night of separation are a calamity.
If I were to die only once, death, would indeed be a luxury.

To suffer ignominy after death better to meet a watery grave.
No funeral procession of mourners nor a mausoleum over the grave.

What man can descry Him, unique, peerless and perfect.
If there were an iota of dualism, one would have His exact copy met

O, Ghalib your perfect solution to the enigma of Universe and that too so beautifully expressed.
We would regard you a sage, a mystic, had you not been an incorrigible drunkard.

-- U. C. Mahajan [unpublished; provided for this site by the translator]
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AZRA RAZA and SARA SULERI GOODYEAR

It was never in my fate to be united with my beloved
If I had lived any longer, it would be nothing but more waiting

Waiting with those promises that I know to be falsities
Had I belief in them, I would have died of joy

Your fragility is such that your pledge would be necessarily frail
Were there any parallels between us, the vow could never be broken

Ask my heart about your half-drawn bow
This anguish would not arise had the arrow passed through my body

What kind of friendship, my friends have turned to preaching
No one brings solutions, no one brings compassion

The veined stone has burst into an incessant flow of blood
When touched by that ember which you think is merely my grief

Grief consumes the soul; what escape from the heart's domain
If it were not the sorrows of love, there would be the sorrows of the world

To whom can I even explain, the dark night of separation
What had I against death if only it did not come again and again

Being so humiliated in death, why did I not drown instead
Then there would be no funeral, no one required to mourn at my tomb

Who can witness Him, He is singular in His Oneness
The fragrance of two, could produce encounters with many

Your mystial flights, Ghalib, your manner of expression
We would think of you as a seer, if you were not a wine lover

-- Azra Raza and Sara Suleri Goodyear, Ghalib: Epistemologies of Elegance (New Delhi: Penguin, 2009), pp. 54-59
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SARFARAZ K. NIAZI

Not in My Destiny

This was not our destiny that union with the beloved would take place.
If we had kept on living, there would have been this very same waiting.

If we lived on your promise, then know this that we knew it to be false.
For wouldn't we have died of ecstasy, if we had trust in it?

From your tenderness, I came to know that the vow was loosely made.
You could never have broken it, if it had been firm.

Let someone ask my heart about your half-drawn arrow.
From where would this pricking have come, had it gone through the liver?

What kind of friendship is this that friends have turned Advisors?
Only if someone had been a helper; only if someone had been a sympathizer!

From the stone-vein would drop that blood which would never then stop;
If this what you are thinking of as grief were a spark.

Although grief is life-destroying, but how would we escape, for there is a heart?
If there were not the grief of passion, there would be the grief of livelihood.

To whom might I tell what is it, the night of separation is a calamity?
Why would I have minded dying if it were to happen only once?

Since we became disgraced in our death, why didn't we just drown in the ocean?
Neither would there ever be a funeral raised, nor would there anywhere be a tomb.

Who could have seen Him, for that Oneness is unique?
If there were even a whiff of duality, we would have run into Him somewhere.

These maxims of mysticism and this discourse of yours, Ghalib:
We would have taken you for a saint if you weren't a wine-drinker.

-- Sarfaraz K. Niazi, Wine of Passion: The Urdu Ghazals of Ghalib (Lahore: Ferozsons, 2009), p. 21
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VIVEK IYER

For not to meet my Love was my free meed of Fate
I further twist out life, a forlorn tryst, to await

Did we live on thy oath, know, our life were a lie
Of happiness we'd die! held thy troth to a date

For as feebly as Love's sequel entreaty, bindst thy Vow 
See! Feasible an equal treaty, not Thou canst sublate

Why was that arrow drawn without brawn, not art?
That, in my heart, it but stick, not sever it straight!

What sort of camaraderie is it when comrades turn Priest?
Some comfort, at least, were vows of vengeance & hate!

Were what it mock as 'woe wilful'- flint struck sparks
Thy Ark's veined rock, would ruck Red sans bate

Anguish is certain arson, know! -the heart must burn
If not to yearn, then to earn, or learn chalk on slate!

Did this night of grief, the assent of an Adam create?
Death's a Thief, or Madam, my ruin can't sate

My grave-ghazal's fresh ground?! Better I'd drowned!
Claim jumped's my clay, by elegies lamenting 'the late'!

His vision can't anoint, who is but a single viewpoint
Were a second scented... Ah! God alone is Great!

Since Sainthood has its Arabi seal, thy mystic spate
For Drunks, Ghalib,  ope's a Gangetic gate!

-- Vivek Iyer, unpublished translation, April 2010
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KHALID HAMEED SHAIDA

Oh, it's my destiny; oh, it's my fate
To meet my gal I've to wait and wait

She keeping her word I cannot conceive
I would die of joy if I could only believe

She promised and promised but never came
When asked, the excuse she made was lame

You should come and see how she throws her dart
And how it goes and wounds the heart

I wish my friends wouldn't give me advice
But give me some sympathy, which would be nice

For the pangs of love are a different breed
They can take a stone and make it bleed

With sorrow and pain though love is rife
Escape them you cannot; they're a part of life

But there's nothing worse than the parting pain
Oh, how it kills you again and again

I wish I'm swallowed by an ocean wave
Then I won't have a funeral; I won't have a grave

But during my life a girl I'll seek
Who is simply precious and totally unique

And GHALIB tells me some people think
That I would be a saint if I didn't drink

-- Khalid Hameed Shaida, Ghalib The Indian Beloved: Urdu Odes (Charleston, SC: Author), pp. 22-23
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