Dil guzer gah-e-Khayal-e-mai va saghar hi sahi Gar nafas jada-e-sar-e-manzil-e-taqva na hua

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Dil guzer gah-e-Khayal-e-mai va saghar hi sahi

It is all right, if my heart is a walkway for thoughts of wine and chalice 

Gar  nafas  jada-e-sar-e-manzil-e-taqva  na hua

I don’t regret, if my life didn’t march the path of piety! 

guzer gah = walkway   Khayal=thought, reflection      mai = wine, liquor      va=and      saghar= chalice, cup    gar= agar=if     nafas=breath, life    Jadah=path, trail  sar-e-manzil=peak of goal    -e-=of       taqva=piety

This is the 4th verse of Ghalib’s 9th ghazal.  This ghazal is a popular ghazal. It has 7 verses and all of them are beautiful and are bursting with great thoughts. It has been sung by many artists including Lata. For audio, please click here http://lists.elistx.com/archives/blank/200507/mp3EITZJjRNcv.mp3

 Meaning: In this verse Ghalib has come up with a new comparison. He says that each person ultimately becomes some thing. Take example of Ghalib. If Ghalib’s life didn’t march the way to zenith of the goal of piety, why fret? Look! His heart became a walkway for the thoughts of wine and chalice. Meaning if Ghalib didn’t become a pious person; so what? His heart became a highway of thoughts of wine and goblet!  Thus Ghalib sees no difference between a pious person who is lost in thoughts of piety and a worldly person who is lost in thoughts of wine and goblet.

 Finer aspects of this verse: In the first line Ghalib uses the word “guzer gah” for path or trail. In second line he uses another word “jada” for path or trail. Look at his use of related set of words. When he talks about path and trails he doesn’t miss the word “Manzil” or the goal. Mark the combination of Khyal (thoughts) with Guzergah (walkway) and Nafas (breath) with Jadah (path). It is because; thoughts and breaths are like a traffic running on a walkway or a path. Appreciate the rich thoughts and charming words entwined in this verse. Ghalib is teasing the pious person by saying that there is no difference between him and the pious person. The pious person excelled in piety; not a big deal! Ghalib’s heart also excelled in some thing: thoughts of wine and chalice!

 Such provocative thoughts make this verse a very intoxicating one.

This post is also available in: Hindi Urdu Gujarati