Ghalib’s most famous couplets

There is an anecdote, possible apocryphal, that Mirza Asadullah Khan ‘Ghalib’ was so impressed with one couplet of his contemporary, Momin that he declared he was ready to foresake his whole oeuvre for the honour of being considered its author.

The couplet in question was : “Tum mere paas hote ho goya/ Jab koi doosra nahi hota”

The depth and subtlety achieved in less than a dozen words is stupendous and is a characteristic of Momin. But this post will not even get talking about Momin because he deserves a post (s) to himself and shall soon get them.

Returning to the original motif, it is understandable for any poet to lament not having crafted such an intricate  thought. Well anyone, had it not been Ghalib, who has himself penned several couplets – each of which could have been enough to keep him remembered, had he never picked up the pen again.

He wrote 235 ghazals – a number many of his contemporaries and successors bettered – but each of them is a dazzaling display of literary pyrotechnics that have to be read.

The following is a personal selection, but some of them well could be. I must confess that some of the first few are from the ghazals in the film ‘Mirza Ghalib’ but who can ignore them.  It is a treat to hear Talat and Suraiyya’s renditions, specially in the duet treatment of  ‘Dil-e- nadaan’ and the other ghazals they sing, especially Suraiyya in ‘Aah ko chahiye’ where her voice captures Ghalib’s intent perfectly – a fact recognised by no less that Jawaharlal Nehru, who seeing the film, publicly complimented her for bringing the spirit alive. “Ladki, tumne aaj Ghalib ki rooh ko zinda kar diya,” is what he said. Even Rafi sparkles in ‘Hai bas ki har ek unke ishaare….’ giving the tongue-in-cheek lyrics the sort of flippancy they need.

Anyway, some of Ghalib himself now:

“Hamko unse wafa ki hai umeed
Jo nahi jaante wafa kya hai”

“Ham ne maana ke taghaful na karoge lekin
Khaak ho jaayenge ham tum ko khabar hone tak”

and I cannot resist another from the same ghazal

“Aashiqi sabr-talab aur tamanna betaab
Dil ka kya rang karun khoon-e-jigar hone tak”

“Zindagi yun bhi guzar hi jaati
Kyun tera raahguzar yaad aaya”

“Jaate hue kahte ho qayamat ko milenge
Kya khub, qayamat ka hai goya koi din aur”

“Mehrbaan hoke bula lo mujhe chaaho jis waqt
Main gaya waqt nahi hoon ki phir aa bhi na sakun”

“Main bulaata to hoon us ko magar ae jazba-e-dil
Us pe ban jaaye kuchh aisi ki bin aaye na bane”

” ‘Ghalib’-e-khasta ke bagair kaun se kaam band hain
Roie zaar-zaar kya, kijiye haaye-haaye kyun”

“Zikr us parivash ka, aur phir bayan apna
Ban gaya raqib aakhir tha jo raazdan apna”

“Hazaaron khwaishen aisi ki har khwaish pe dam nikle
Bahut nikle mere arman lekin phir bhi kam nikle”
 

“Ibn-e-Maryam hua kare koi
Mere dukh ki dava kare koi”

“Qata kiijye na ta’alluq ham se
Kuch nahin hai to adavat hi sahi”

“Maut ka ek din mu’ayya hai
Neend kyon raat bhar nahi aati”

“Naqsh fariyaadi hai kis ki shokhi-e-tahreer ka
Kaagzi hai pairahan har paikar-e-tasveer ka”

 (this is the first sher of the first ghazal in Ghalib’s diwan)

“Ye na thi hamaari qismat ke visaal-e-yaar hota
Agar aur jeete rahte yahi intezaar hota”

“Qaid-e-hayat-o-band-e-gam asl mein dono ek hain
Maut se pahle aadmi gam se nijat paye kyun”

and finally the best, according to me. This is Ghalib at his best, tongue firmly in cheek. This one only marks me him as the master. Listen to Rafi’s rendition in the film, as I mentioned above

“Hain aur bhi duniya mein sukhanvar bahut achche
Kahte hain ki ‘Ghalib’ ka hai andaaz-e-bayan aur”

 

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by m. sadaqat ullah khan on November 19, 2009 at 04:11

    woh rooth gaye hamse
    kaise unhe manaye
    ham aaj bhi hein unke
    jakar ke koi bataye
    apne to hein hazaron
    par ghalib kahan se layen

    Reply

  2. Posted by Haroon on December 19, 2009 at 09:22

    na diid hai na suKhan, ab na harf hai na payaam
    ko’ii bhii hiila-e-taskiiN nahiiN aur aas bahut hai
    ummiid-e-yaar, nazar kaa mizaaj, dard kaa rang
    tum aaj kuch bhii na puucho ke dil udaas bahut hai

    (diid : sight; suKhan : words; harf : words; payaam : message; hiila-e-taskiiN : excuse for comfort)

    Reply

  3. Posted by Keshwa Sinha on September 8, 2010 at 15:37

    “Zikr us parivash ka, aur phir bayan apna
    Ban gaya raqib aakhir tha jo raazdan apna”
    Above ghazal i heard about 40 years ago can some body provide me this ghazal sung by Talat Mahmood

    Reply

  4. Posted by Keshwa Sinha on September 8, 2010 at 15:38

    Can u provide this ghazal sung by Talat Mahmood

    “Zikr us parivash ka, aur phir bayan apna
    Ban gaya raqib aakhir tha jo raazdan apna”

    Reply

  5. […] Ghalib’s most famous couplets October 2009 4 comments 3 […]

    Reply

  6. Posted by asim on March 14, 2011 at 19:40

    a wonderful treasure trove of shers you have posted!
    keep it up! :)

    Reply

  7. Posted by Aisha on June 13, 2011 at 20:48

    Awesome collection :)

    Reply

  8. Posted by saurabh srivastav on October 6, 2011 at 06:26

    na tha kuch toh khuda tha, kuch na hota toh khuda hota
    Duboya mujhko hone ne, na hota main toh kya hota
    Hui muddat ki ghalib mar gya par yaad aata h, woh har ek baat pe khna ki yu hota toh kya hota

    Reply

  9. Hui muddat ki Ghalib mar gaya par yaad aata hai….

    Reply

  10. Posted by Syed Asim on November 17, 2011 at 18:51

    Ghalib tujh ko na aai Muhabbaten Karni….

    Reply

  11. Posted by Ankur on May 14, 2012 at 17:59

    ghalib at itz best…..sochte hi reh jaaoge iski gehraayion main…

    kyun kar us but se rakhun jaan azeez
    kyaa nahee hai mujhe eemaan azeez

    Reply

  12. Posted by sana parween on March 9, 2013 at 11:09

    very nice

    Reply

  13. Posted by sana parween on March 9, 2013 at 11:11

    very nice ghazal

    Reply

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