Tha zindagi meiN marg ka khaTka laga hua uDne se peshtar bhi mera raNg zard tha

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tha zindagiTha  zindagi  meiN

marg  ka  khaTka laga hua

During life I was always mindful of my death. (this awareness had made me pale  

uDne   se  peshtar   bhi   mera  raNg  zard  tha 

Death robs color& makes skin  pale. However, I was already pale. (The death was defeated; it couldn’t rob me of my color). 

Marg = death,   Khatka= fear, awareness     Peshtar = before hand, war   Zard=pale, yellow

This is the 2nd verse of Ghalib’s 7th ghazal. This ghazal is not popular at street level but it has a Sufi touch; and, I love it for that.

Meaning: This verse is celebrated for its Sufi color. It has deep meaning and shows a way, how to live our lives. We are always advised by our elders to be conscious of death and fear God and that life is fragile and temporary. Yet, we get charmed by this colorful world, and forget that one day we have to die and that we have to answer almighty about our deeds.  Reflection on death and awareness that our deeds have consequences, keep us on straight path.          

When the angle of death descends, it robs our beautiful skin color and our charming smile. They become pale. Ghalib in above verse says, “I lived differently. When I lived I was always aware of my death and feared Angle of Death. Because of this fear, my color was always pale. So, when finally death arrived, I cheated it, as it couldn’t rob me my color. I had no color to be robbed!”

Look at the charming skin color of those who collect funds, taxes, Zakat etc and embezzle it rather giving it to rightful people. Those in public private high positions rob poor and rightful people through deceits and frauds; most have dazzling glamour and glittery color. Angel of death will be delighted robbing them of their color.

Ghalib has used uDne se peshtar = before getting pale; however if we change that to marne se peshtar = before death, the verse become easy to understand. Our Mirza Ghalib used uDne because it goes with the color scheme of the verse. uDne, rang, and zard, fits his color scheme. 

Ghalibologists’ opinions: 

Bekhud: I dissolved my self (Fana fillah) before the death could do so. The imagery of this verse can be enjoyed by people with Sufi bent only. Capturing of such a huge thought in such a small meter is a fete that only Mirza Ghalib, a Master with complete control, can perform.

This post is also available in: Hindi Urdu Gujarati