Thursday, January 22, 2009

ASAD - 61

Originally posted on in 1997


Let me start the series with an artiste who is the most deserving to be called -- Malika- e-GHazal. No points for guessing ! Begum Akhtar !! And as per the tradition (!) we must begin with a Sher by GHalib. So here it is. The ultimate combination.... A nice article about her can be found in the RMIM Archive maintained by Satish and Prince. It was posted by Rajan Parrikar. Here in this series we will discuss only her GHazals.

Not many would doubt the statement that the best rendition of "yeh na thi hamari qismat" is by Begum Akhtar. You have to listen to it. It's fabulous. You won't blame the people who _equate_ GHazal singing with her. She is also credited for making GHazal singing a respected art. So here is a wonderful sher ....

masaa'il-e-tasawwuf = problems in philosophy (mysticism/Suffism)
bayaaN = comments
wali = Saint (rishi)
baadaa_KHWaar = drunk person

ye masaa'il-e-tasawwuf, ye tera bayaaN, 'GHalib',
tujhe hum wali samjhate, jo na baadaa_KHWaar hota !
- Mirza AsadullaakhaaN GHalib

It has some difficult words. But the rewards of understanding this Sher are more than the pains to figure out the meaning. It's a typical GHalib Sher. A thought-provoking gem. GHalib often likes to talk about himself and his poetry. Here he is saying that his philosophical musings are of such a class, that he would have called himself a Saint -- had he not been a drunken ! Superb, na ? Is he praising himself ? Or is he ridiculing ? You decide for yourself ! That's typically GHalib.

- Abhay.
ASAD _also_ stands for "A Sher A Day" !

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