Ishrat-e-qatl-gahe ahl-e-tamanna mat puchh Eid-e-nazzara hai sham-sheer ka uryaN hona

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This is the 6th verse of Ghalib’s 18th ghazal.

Ishrat-e-qatl-gahe ahl-e-tamanna mat  puchh

How can I describe jubilation among lovers, in killing ground?

Eid-e-nazzara hai sham-sheer ka uryaN hona 

Is it just a bare sword in her hand? No, it is an Eid crescent, a Cause célèbre for all joyous vistas of world

Ishrat = joy, jubilationQatl-gah=killing arena, killing ground  ahl-e-tamanna=craving lovers  Eid = celebration, joy nazzara=scene  Sham-sheer=(curved) sword  UryaN = bare, out from sheathe 

Meaning: In this verse, Ghalib presents a scenario when a crowd of craving lovers is out on a killing ground, eager to be beheaded by their sweetheart. They are eager because death at her hand is fulfilling; as they will be so close to her on their last breath. So, when she drew her sword from sheathe, lovers went jubilant as if her curved sword were an Eid crescent. Ghalib says, “Please do not ask me to narrate this jubilant scene; I have no words. However, I can say this much: the scene was an all time event; this Jubilation was like a crescent moon for the festivities of world, a cause de célèbre” Ghalib has likened sword with Eid crescent because her sword is thin and curved like a new moon.

Please note that Urdu poetry is about symbols. Beloved’s eyebrows are sword shaped; they pierce hearts of lovers. Even her eyes are called killing arrows/swords. If we interject eyes and eyebrows into this verse, meaning becomes a different realm.

Finer aspects: In this verse, Ghalib calls lovers “hopeful group”; and, the scene of sighting her sword and ensuing jubilation as crescent moon for the festivities of world, a cause de célèbre. Those ready to lay their lives for their religion, their country, or their cause enter battlefield with similar fervor. When swords brandish, they see them as Eid crescent and become jubilant because they believe within moments they will wear martyrdom crown.

In battlefield of Karbala, companions of Imam Hussein gave their heads fighting against falsehood, with similar fervor and jubilation.

This post is also available in: Hindi Urdu Gujarati