Sunday, February 1, 2009

ASAD - 87

Originally posted on in 1997

To follow up on yesterday's theme of various meanings, what would be more appropriate than presenting a sher by GHalib, whose poetry is extraordinarily rich in this aspect.

Another point I want to stress is ... One doesn't have to be an expert in the rules of GHazals to understand and appreciate the beauty of the shers. All one needs is a Heart.

I fondly remember the long gone era of RMIM, when IMHO, people were more interested in knowing the opinions and views of others, than pointing out mistakes in them. Discussions about understanding a sher and the sheer joy of finding an interpretation were also a small part of that phase. I learned a lot from them. Hence, I dedicate this article to the memories of those discussions, in a hope that such discussions take place more often on RMIM. Like the recent one related to 'aaqibat'.

In the famous GHalib GHazal, sung by many, there goes a famous sher ...

teer-e-neemkash = half-pulled arrow (aisa teer, jo dhanushya ko lagaa ke sirf aadha hi kheeNcha gaya ho) [neem = half]
KHalish = pain

koi mere dil_se puchhe, ke tere teer-e-neemkash ko,
ye KHalish kahaaN_se hoti, jo jigar ke paar hota
- GHalib

Now what does this mean ? Please read the sher again and give it some thought yourself. You are about to learn why people worship GHalib !!

In simple words, this sher can be crudely translated as "Ask my heart ! It would say that, there wouldn't have been so much pain, had your half-pulled arrow passed through it". Ok. Still, what's the meaning ?

The interpretation I had understood after reading a book, is quite poetic in itself. (Perhaps a bit too poetic.)
She is so "naazuk" ! She couldn't even pull the arrow completely before shooting. So it didn't pass through my heart, and just got stuck there. Hence it's paining so much ! Had there been more force in it, it would have passed through and not pained so much !!
Interesting ! The main point is, she is "naazuk".

This interpretation assumes that the arrow has been shot. Note that GHalib hasn't said so ! But he has also not said otherwise ! Hence, if you assume that the arrow has NOT yet been shot then ...
She has the arrow aimed at me and half-pulled. But she is just not shooting it ! Will she or she won't ?? This indecisiveness is what's killing me. The anxiety of waiting is terrible ! It's much worse than actually getting killed by the arrow ! This can be mapped to something like - He has asked someone, whether she loves him. And she is not replying ! He feels, even if her answer is "No", tell me !! I just cannot stand the suspense.
Fantastic ! Here, the main point is, she is indecisive.

I prefer this interpretation. If I remember correctly, then it was posted on RMIM long long long time back by Jasjit Singh.

Such different interpretations ! Isn't this long post worth it :-) :-)
Salutes, salaam, sajde and saadar pranaam to GHalib's poetry !!

Now this is not the end ! You can come up with more interpretations. Books by different authors indeed give different interpretations. They rely on the concepts of "half-dead", or "zindagi bhar ka gham" etc etc. Coming up with them, is left as an exercise to the reader :-)

IMHO, there is no best interpretation. It's just that different people get touched by the poetry in different ways. To me that is THE thing about poetry ! The rules of poetry are important but what's even more important is the poetry itself.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...