A frequently heard ghazal (or one that most should be familiar with)

Ahmed Faraz is one of the foremost living Urdu poets.  That is all that one needs to know about him and this is his most famous ghazal – with no small contribution from Mehdi Hasan, who sang it in his inimitable style.

I have been lucky enough to hear Faraz sahab recite it, after missing it once. On the first occasion during an improptu mushaira in JNU, we were deprived of the pleasure as a much shaken Faraz was escorted away from the venue after violence broke out as some outsiders created a fuss over the ongoing recital of a nazm by Fehmida Riyaz sort of castigating both India and Pakistan for going nuclear. However, a couple of months later, Faraz was back in Delhi to attend a mushaira in more salubrious surroundings and we finally got to hear him recite it.

The ghazal deals with a very familiar topic. But still there is a unique pathos, a sense of resignation… an endearing plaintiveness about the demands being made to the subject of the ghazal. It also has some unique imagery – ‘lazzat-e-giriya’ (the pleasure of tears) and extinguishing the lamps of hope, alluded to in the last sher of the ghazal.

Ranjish hi sahi dil hi dukhaane ke liye aa
Aa phir se mujhe chhorh ke jaane ke liye aa

Pahle se marasim na sahi phir bhi kabhi to
Rasm-o-rahe duniya hi nibhaane ke liye aa

Kis kis ko batayenge judaai ka sabab ham
Tu mujh se khafa hai to zamaane ke liye aa

Kuch to mere pindaar-e-mohabbat ka bharam rakh
Tu bhi to kabhi mujh ko manaane ke liye aa

Ek umr se hoon lazzat-e-giriya se bhi mahroom
Ai raahat-e-jaan mujh ko rulaane ke liye aa

Ab tak dil-e-khushfahm ko tujh se hain umeeden
Yeh aakhri shaamayen bhi bujhane ke liye aa

For those whose introduction to the ghazal is through Mehdi Hasan’s fine vocals, they must know that the following two shers are not part of Faraz’s ghazal.

Maana ki mohabbat ka chhipaana hai mohabbat
Chhupke se kisi roz jataane ke liye aa

Jaise tujhe aate hain na aane ke bahaane
Aise hi kisi roz na jaane ke liye aa

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