kabhii ay ;haqiiqat-e munta:zir

Published in baa;Ng-e daraa (The Sound of the Bell) (1924).
From: kulliyaat-e iqbaal urduu
(Lahore: Shaikh Ghulam 'Ali and Sons Publishers, 1973 (and later reprints), *pp. 280-81*
Notice the layout on the page-- how the last verse is emphasized.

a *ghazal*; *meter*: - - = - = / - - = - = / - - = - = / - - = - =

Urdu spellings reflect adjustments made for the sake of the meter.
See the 'script bar' at the bottom of the page for viewing choices.

Here's *a serial glossary*.

 


kabhii ay ;haqiiqat-e munta:zir na:zar aa libaas-e majaaz me;N
kih hazaaro;N sijde ta;Rap rahe hai;N mirii jabiin-e niyaaz me;N
 
1) sometime, oh awaited Reality, come into view in the dress of contingency
2) for all the thousands of prostrations are writhing in my forehead of humility

= The wild 'theologically incorrect' brashness of this verse is irresistible. In effect, the speaker is trying to cut a deal with God over what God claims as his rightful due already.
= Not just hazaar , but hazaaro;N -- like do versus dono;N -- implying that I've never done any at all
= Wordplay (involving both sound and meaning) of munta:zir and na:zar ; and of the invocation of the powerful traditional opposition of ;haqiiqat vs. majaaz
= Check out all the meanings of niyaaz , Platts p. 1164.

   

2)

:tarab-aashnaa-e ;xarosh ho tuu navaa hai ma;hram-e gosh ho
vuh sarod kyaa kih chhupaa hu))aa ho sukuut-e pardah-e saaz me;N
 
1) become joy-acquainted with clamor; you are a voice, become an intimate of the ear
2) what [kind of] sarod is it that would be hidden in the silence of the curtain/tone/fret of an instrument?

 

= 'joy-acquainted' is literal; the expression may look strange, but no stranger than lots of things in modern English poetry
= 'What kind of sarod is it', or 'as if it's a sarod at all!'
= Check out all the meanings of pardah , Platts p. 246

   

3)

tuu bachaa bachaa ke nah rakh use tiraa aa))inah hai vuh aa))inah
kih shikastah ho to ((aziiz-tar hai nigaah-e aa))inah-saaz me;N
 
1) don't you carefully keep it safe-- your mirror is that mirror
2) that if it would be broken, then it is dearer in the sight of the mirror-maker
 
= The 'mirror of the heart' goes far back in Persian ghazal tradition. Traditionally it's a metal mirror that can be either brightly polished or dimmed by rust and dust; here, however, it's a newfangled glass mirror that, like a heart, can be broken
   
4)
dam-e :tauf kirmak-e sham((a ne yih kahaa kih vuh a;sar-e kuhan
nah tirii ;hikaayat-e soz me;N nah mirii ;hadii;s-e gudaaz me;N
 
1) at the moment of circumambulation the candle-insect said this: that 'that old effect
2) is neither in your tale of burning, nor in my story of melting'

 

= A kirmak , literally a 'worm', can also be a small insect, thus a moth too as it obviously is here
= But of course, if he says it while going around the candle (and thus preparing to hurl himself into it), how true can his words be taken to be? Or is he saying it as he hesitates, and considers not hurling himself in?
= The loss of effect that he complains of is a literary one: it concerns narrative problems, not physical ones
   
5)
nah kahii;N jahaa;N me;N amaa;N milii jo amaa;N milii to kahaa;N milii
mire jurm-e ;xaanah-;xaraab ko tire ((afv-e bandah-navaaz me;N
 
1) nowhere in the world was peace available; if peace would be available, then where would it be available
2) to my house-wrecking sin, in your servant-cherishing forgiveness?
 
= The first line is a tour de force of resonant sound effects
= The irresistible force meets the immovable object: my power to sin is, urgent and devastating as it is, is hounded everywhere by your equally perpetual and indefatigable mercy
   
6)
nah vuh ((ishq me;N rahii;N garmiyaa;N nah vuh ;husn me;N rahii;N sho;xiyaa;N
nah vuh ;Gaznavii me;N ta;Rap rahii nah vuh ;xam hai zulf-e ayaaz me;N

 

1) neither did those fervors remain in passion, nor did those mischievousnesses remain in beauty
2) neither did that writhing remain in the Ghaznavi, nor is there that curl in the locks of Ayaz
 
= Four negations, four losses, obviously connected-- but exactly how? are they parallel, or do the changes in the second line cause the changes in the first line?
= In ghazal tradition, Mahmud Ghaznavi (r.998-1030) had a beautiful slave boy, Ayaz, with whom he shared a strong mutual love; Iqbal seems to invoke this pair of lovers more than many ghazal poets do
   
7)
jo mai;N sar basijdah hu))aa kabhii to zamii;N se aane lagii .sadaa
teraa dil to hai .sanam-aashnaa tujhe kyaa milegaa namaaz me;N
 
1) when once I put my head down in prostration, then from the ground a voice began to come,
2) 'your heart is acquainted with idols-- what will you get from namaz?'
 
= This final verse elegantly reminds us of (1).
= The beloved in the ghazal world is often called an 'idol', both for her beauty and the worship the lover accords her, and for her rivalry with the real God.
= The question in the second line could be admonitory ('God can see that your heart isn't in it') or merely impatient ('You're already friends with idols, so what more do you need?') .

   
 
 
 

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