Mirza Asadullah Baig Khan, who wrote under the Takhallus, or pen-name, of Ghalib is still the most influential poet in Urdu. ‘Ghalib ‘ agencies ‘conqueror ‘ . In the Urdu/Persian tradition, a Takhallus is besides a self-declaring name. At first he wrote under the name ‘Asad ‘ , but he consulted a ‘sher, ‘ a set of riming pairs in which he sought to epitomize his individuality.

The pairs read ;

‘Asad prayed to graven images, yet he was betrayed. Now my shers are glorious, by God ‘s clemency. ‘

He commented “ Asad receives clemency, but by this rubric I am shamed. ”

This displacement gives a critical hint to the significance of Ghalib ‘s puzzling manner. To idolize graven images under the semblance they are God may accrue clemency, but Ghalib writes with the earnestness of one who piously prays to idols as God, non as a heathen, but as one who embraces semblance in order to seek God. Sexual love, the pleasances of drink and the risky insecurity of chancing were therefore semblances whose really contradiction embodied a desire for God. No other poet moves so fleetly from concrete life to mystical devotedness than Ghalib. Ghalib was unfeignedly unconventional as a Muslim, though this creates a job for the devout. His earnestness is embodied in his life and work.

Ghalib was born to parents of Turkish blue descent in 1796 in Agra. He lost his male parent and an uncle in early young person. He began to compose early. At 13, a matrimony was arranged with an upper center category household. His married woman was a devout Muslim, who bore him three, or four kids, all of whom died immature. He so moved to Delhi, where his house still stands. Ghalib devoted his life to composing and it was to poetry that he gave most attending. His historical work is a letdown, despite its unrecorded informant of the Mutiny, though this is non a settled opinion. His letters are singular for their conversational easiness and witty sarcasm.

All his life Ghalib depended, in turn on upkeep from friends, the Royal Durbar, the British Government and the Nawab of Rampur, with the stop-start consistence Doctor Johnson would hold wryly understood. Ghalib was suspected of back uping the Mutiny ( or First War of Independence ) , but reinstated his repute. His esteem of the British literary tradition was every bit strong as his disdain for the barbarous world of British regulation. He died on 15th February, 1869.

Tradition implied every poet should hold a instructor. To be ‘be-ustad ‘ was a shame. Ghalib either invented or expanded his contact with Abdulsamad, a Iranian coach from Iran. Like the modern European authors, Paul Celan and Samuel Beckett, Ghalib wrote in two linguistic communications, in his instance, Persian and Urdu. Like them, he intentionally exploited the ambiguities between the contrasting enunciation of the two linguistic communications. However the two traditions portion a similar rhetoric. The ghazal tradition was focussed on tormented love for a distant, or unachievable adult female. To this Ghalib added a broad pallet of metaphysical question, theological speculation, scenes from his practical life and an about dissident temper. While the Iranian tradition seems to hold influenced the Provencal, the European strain of courtly love espoused, valour, criminal conversation and therefore the secretiveness of the senhal, a anonym. The defeat of love prevarications in chance, whereas in the ghazal tradition, it lies in apparent un-attainability. The similarities contrast and do non meet.

To understand Ghalib is to hold on foremost that the individuality of the beloved is rarely defined. It could ever be God, in which instance the properties of the unanswered relationship are upturned to metaphysical consequence. If it is a individual, the love could be brotherly, sisterly, familiar or sexual. The darling became an increasing abstraction in Urdu poesy after the Sixteenth Century. Ghalib ‘s stylistic revolution was to retain the abstraction, yet turn conceptional desire back to the concrete.

There is a singular analogue between Ghalib and his younger European coeval, Stephane Mallarme. Like Ghalib he had a devout upbringing, marred by loss of male counsel. Like Ghalib, he married a devout and inflexible married woman. Like Ghalib, he mourned the loss of an baby. Like Ghalib he used the complexness of a related tradition ( in his instance the German Idealistic tradition ) to enrich a reversal of poetic conceptional desire, focused on a construct of void, however to be discerned in the most concrete and spiritual item. Like Ghalib, his technically accomplished poesy ne’er reached its audience during his life-time. Like Ghalib, his manner challenges great rational sleight in its reading. Like Ghalib, his place as an influence on later poesy is powerful, though unostentatious.

The theory of correspondences, stemming from Swedenborg, is a distraction here. It is the usage made by Mallarme by consecutive Symbolist, Expressionist, Surrealist, Modernist and Post-Modernist poesy than provides the existent analogue with Ghalib. I do non claim cognition of modern-day Urdu poetry, but at that place seems to be a rich vena of convergence between the European and Urdu traditions to be found in the comparing.

At present, the dynamism of cultural reclamation lies more on the Eastern side than in the West. Recent attempts to understand the tradition of Mallarme seem to hold run into the sand. I quote the attempts of Jonathan Culler. In, Chapter Eight of ‘Stucturalist Poetics, ‘[ 1 ]he states, mentioning to Mallarme ‘s Soupir[ 2 ]

“ say that the adult female is to autumn as the psyche ‘s aspiration is to its inevitable, but unmentioned failure. ”

Yet failure is conditionalised by Mallarme.

The psyche is to the sister, as fall is to the Sun. Both the psyche and fall have the power to maintain decease at bay. Winter could be no more concluding than decease. The frozen Big Dipper paths harbour seeds. The push of white H2O seeks to sow the clouds. ( la monte is a Gallic rural look for the genteelness season ) Mallarme keeps pessimism and optimism as unfastened if semi-blasphemous constructions. This is unless one prejudices the issue by claiming that no reading is possible that allows for the world of the transcendent. Jonathan Culler does this later in his dumbfounding statement that “ Modern critics who concur on small else, seem to hold that this side of Baudelaire- the Baudelaire of Satan, Demons and Evil with a capital E- is of small involvement or importance, non portion of Baudelaire ‘s, or our modernness, but the stale leftover of a Gothic Romanticism which boldly invoked infernal powers. ”[ 3 ]In fact, the opposite defines his modernness. By taking the stale Satan of Milton, Goethe and Hugo and fusing imitation to scruples, he clears the manner for Mallarme ‘s upside-down scruples of void. Yet even negation is unfastened to faith. A parallel position affects the relationship between Islam and secular post-Modernism. Any reading that starts with the impossibleness of religion, implies the impossibleness of a devout reading of either Mallarme, or Ghalib. One interesting way lies in the links between Jansenism in Mallarme[ 4 ]and Sufi mysticism in Ghalib[ 5 ]. Secular readings should non and make non depend on presuppositions extinguishing the possibility of religion.

This is where my relationship to both poets begins. I used to read Mallarme under the desk in my A Level Gallic lessons, non that I despised the music of his coevalss, but that the adult male ‘s undertow of unanswered love was a strong inspiration for my ain authorship at that clip. A twelvemonth or so subsequently, while assisting Fakhir Hussain edit his interlingual rendition of Abdul Harim Sharar ‘s infusions from the Avadh Punch[ 6 ], I encountered Ghalib, in the versions of Malik Ram.[ 7 ]

Like all interlingual renditions, mine are a treachery, every bit good as a interlingual rendition. A necessity for undercover agents, the dead missive bead enables the poet to pick up a revealing message from a impersonal topographic point, without bias to its location. Yet every communicating betrays some significance. The eight ghazals I present are a Mallarmean court to Ghalib ; a converse treachery would be to interpret Mallarme into Urdu[ 8 ].

The ghazal is made up of pairs, conventionally five to fifteen, in all. Each sher stands on its ain. A ghazal need non turn to the same construct. All pairs should be independent and follow the same scansion, or behr. There are many different meters in Urdu poesy. They are divided into three kinds- short, medium and long. The tradition seems to hold stopped short of presenting meter as an built-in portion of traditional ghazal pattern, which allows the author in English a necessary freedom, with free poetry off-shoots, such as W. S. Merwin ‘s.[ 9 ]The pairs stick to the rhyming form set by the first sher, or matla. The rhyme strategy begins with a rime word or qafia followed by a chorus or radif which may be a word or set of words. The first pair has the rime in both lines and the others, merely in the 2nd lines. If the radif is Iˆ and A B C are qafias, the form of the ghazal would be AIˆ and BIˆ in the first pair, and CIˆ , DIˆ , EIˆaˆ¦ etc in every 2nd line of the others. The last pair is called the maqta and the poet can include his takhalus. Like Mallarme ‘s early verse form, many ghazals are written in the first individual. Too near an attachment to this strategy sounds insistent in English.

Ghalib uses about 19 of the quantitative meters used in the Urdu tradition. In Ghazal 4, I have chosen a single-minded signifier of Chapman ‘s 14 syllable meter. In the others I have chosen the irregular meters of Tennyson and Clough ‘s imitation of Roman quantitative meter. As in the rime strategy, I have used the construction slackly, but I hope recognisably. I have given either a page mention in Malik Ram, or a day of the month to place the original.

In the terminal my ‘Homage to Mirza Ghalib ‘ demands to be judged as a verse form in its ain right.

Ghazal 1 ( p225 )

Your expression ‘s flight surged through bosom and psyche.

Both now hired retainers, whom your beauty stole.

Your absence is a welcome lesion that Burnss.

Sweet gustatory sensation of night-time joy, you vanish whole.

Get up now. Bedded forenoons lose their temptingness.

My ashes swirl across pathwaies her pess assure.

State the zephyr I ‘m happy she ne’er ran off.

See how curving, how graceful her soft pace, so demure.

The beat of her walking has shattered all my hopes.

Now every man-about-town at her chic communion table gropes.

Praise for the brave falls on deafened ears.

My eyes turn at a lacing drape ‘s splash. See, it copes!

The drunken oculus ‘s excitement clouds your face.

What was and shall be clip will now obliterate,

for the cleft of day of reckoning came on the dark you left.

So Master, times like this clasp you in inexorable embracing!

Where so are the daydreams immature work forces hold in topographic point?


Ghazal 2 ( 1819 )

Recently so strong my now far fallen bosom

will shout no longer in unschooled art.

Run through by curst hope in a jambon battle,

I crawl, vile, to the wings, a exhausted upstart.

Rehearse a lesser function, a amusing lover ‘s decease,

and hang no more on my miss ‘s enraged breath.

Six entrywaies make sense. The floodlighted phase,

where light-years mingle at my twentieth.

The organic structure of my loved one stands undressed.

Merely my sightlessness shames her truth expressed.

My contract bosom is signed to circumstance,

yet ever seeks her in desire ‘s hurt.

I have cancelled the hope of religion ‘s crop

Crops gathered from decease ‘s Fieldss are non best.

Immune to more hurting, I make unafraid my name.

Yet a once-strong bosom lies incapacitated under my chest.

The hero of love unrequited

falls into love ‘s dark uninvited.

Ghazal 3 ( 111 )

Few dead carnival faces come alive once more in fresh tulips or the rose.

The remainder prevarication sunken in a quag of slender lips crushed in rest.

I remember the public violence, the sheer carouse of festival assemblages.

Now silence shelves their forms in limbo none would expose.

A secret in the daylight sky, the dazzling girls shine

seven fixed visible radiations at twilight ; who taught them to deprive in chorus line?

None brought Judah newss of captive Joseph ‘s slumber.

His eyes made opened walls see and stone seeded fanlights redefine.

My challengers anger me, though Zulaika neither mourned nor raged,

when Egyptian misss were fainting for her Moon of Caanan caged.

Blood should spring from my eyes, for I lie apart in partitioned dark.

In foreign darkness and tearful visible radiation, two tapers burn encouraged

I shall happen those providential misss and be avenged their attenuation bangs.

Peace now and pride. Night ‘s arm strewn tresses soothe my ailments.

Is this a grove? The Luscinia megarhynchoss would hold a cantabile school

Birds mimic my calls. This one thinks it ‘s a ghazal she trills.

The bosom of her looking is to lance my bosom, O God.

It beats a downcast pulsation, under wretchedness ‘s and bad luck ‘s rod.

Endlessly these suspirations good up my pharynx. I gag them back.

They swell as stitches, torn from my unfastened neckband as I nod.

I went to her house, but could I reply her contempt?

I wearied her doorkeeper with eternal supplication. I woke him at morning.

Now wine elates me. The manus that holds the cup

is running with venas, in jugular blood it has sworn.

I believe in God, yet spurn all rites to take them up devout,

when religion across the universe is dead and all faith ‘s out.

When a adult male had carries every bit much as I, such loads are light.

Passion becomes a void, a shadow of a uncertainty.

Ghalib if you go on like this the people will take attentiveness

and small towns and towns will neglect, the land will blow so.


Ghazal 4. ( p.486 )

To emancipate life ‘s torpidity, I have blent

another universe of life visible radiation and aroma.

Though the austere would take no pleasance,

I would tumble the forenoon star and invent

a plaint that would so travel my girlfriend ‘s bosom

that her weaponries would wither and her watchbands portion.

and hurtling snake pit ‘s fury to humanity,

I would long to capture the rational art.

A date-palm, I ripen with macaws ‘ strident hilarity.

A cloud, I summon hailstorms of pearl to the Earth.

That would state soldiers of chagrin,

should agitate up their arms, put blades in their position.

I censure the prayerful their dogmatism

that even the faithless would follow me.

My wickednesss convey me here on high to the Ka’aba.

She so stretched her supplication, I curled up sleepily

Here I would rest and travel no farther,

strengthen my drink and chastise my excitement.

I would toss off the liquefied goblet in one spell,

the entryway to paradise being my loot.

Into the sacred spring, I pour my wine-filled glass.

I am the heresiarch of the ‘God entirely ‘ category.

I am he who raises the call, “ I am God ‘s king of beasts. ”

No pearl more cherished than one I fling at the Imam so crass.

Maestro I have founded new words to praise Your tallness.

Worship like mine puts ennui to flight.

Ghazal 5 ( From Persian ) ( pp 483-4 )

Cruel heathen, she strips my bosom of grace.

She is tall and her robe lays bare her face.

Hell is the ferociousness of her Acts of the Apostless

and paradise the icon of her face.

She wears you to torpor with her reserved ways.

The quicker your death: the Oklahoman her congratulations.

A Parsee, she worships those ungratified fires,

keeping green subdivisions to the old God she prays.

Harsh as sudden decease, she is as faithless

as the joys of this life we live in surplus.

She blesses like an covetous Lord.

A obstinate hobo, she ‘d steal your bosom for less.

She spurs audaciousness, but orders wretchedness.

Hard, she is a lonely, wasted district.

A cloistral garden is her stamp attention.

Her curls’curtained temptingness appeals enigma.

A glance of her organic structure varnishes her gift,

She sings Isolde to herself, yet she will raise

me down to play Tristan when she ‘s miffed.

Ghazal 6

Freed from conclusiveness, cornet glad newss, your hilarity,

fling your shadow to the Sun, your H2O to the sea.

Bare your dorsum to the head covering of her temptingness.

Wine ‘s fire suffices. Your chest wounds all can see.

Give flints to jewelry makers ; your bosom to her furies.

From the beginning of your cryings soften lover ‘s pages.

Regret our moans, comfort and admit her appeals.

Dew-wakened blooms, brimming with balm and sage,

the rain-clouds and reapers mature your aroma.

Do non disperse your favors from a high acclivity,

but do me, unknowing, your wrath ‘s exclusive purpose.

Shoots informed of spliting out, florescent,

learn her lissome, fascinated alder how to walk.

Though she forbid my stolen, tearful bosom to speak

Allow me the right to condense its passion,

the right to maintain a silence she can ne’er resist.

You who envy my joy so absurd,

travel cut the wings of the humming bird.

Ghazal 7. ( 22 ) ( 1847 )

Beloved our brush shall non be.

Given epochs, no hope lives of you and me.

Yet I feed on where hope is light.

Death lies certain, for you must be.

Fragile, your comeliness, your word, retrieve,

with watchbands fixed, you might give up.

Ask me to claim your expression ‘s tight bow.

Had the bolt struck, no hurting would it render.

What times are these when friends make me take a firm stand

and non to simmer down my passion ‘s effect?

The deep stone ‘s venas would hold bled abundantly,

were my afflictions triping my psyche to its schist.

Mercilessly, my grieving seeps out.

Not sorrowing your loss, grieves addition as uncertainty.

Should I talk of the long dark ‘s yearning?

I ‘d sooner speak of decease if it had some clout.

Yet others would dish the dirt of cowardliness

so I ‘ll submerge with no organic structure or building.

Who can see God, the lone unique one?

Mysticism now, what accomplishment, what office!

We ‘d canonize you were you non a rummy!

You ‘d be our saint to whatever deepnesss you ‘d drop.

Ghazal 8 ( p196 )

Your silence non to be breached by the mouthed word ;

merely the lesion ‘s natural lips can express ideas non erred.

The universe is all that lover ‘s moans have listed

on Laila ‘s forehead, an endless enchantment, infinitely heard.

Passion and grief invite no gaiety.

These you will non detect, to my hurt.

But deeper torment may spur compassion.

Do n’t reprimand my heartache ; to this quandary

all turn at length. The rending of my bosom

gives no entree. Why rupture your shirt apart

and be the butt of those who jeer?

How much longer can this digest start

from the fragments of my scattered psyche

and H2O wastes to do the thorn shrub whole?

Ageless loved-one, you hide in your blaze fire.

The earthly oculus can non gestate your function

Insane, I am the cesspool of the universe.

Break unfastened my caput, with the rock you hurled

and you will happen pearls with a tear ‘s luster.

If such is my addition, what loss if my humor ‘s unfurled?

The promise of ecstasy shortens my life with its fire.

Who has the hours to incorporate such a pyre?

This cruel, wild hungering for truth

forces affliction that new things transpire.

My effusions are spent. They have shattered my caput.

I have merely my custodies what can I do alternatively?

I shall raise a visible radiation that the faultfinders can non see.

I shall inflame a fire that the Phoenix has fled.

The unaccessible morning of this poet ‘s joy felt

wages excessively high a monetary value ; for his bosom would run.

Duncan McGibbon was born in Greenock Scotland in 1949. He lived in Wolverhampton, Middlesbrough, Kent and Twickenham. He attended St Mary ‘s College, Strawberry Hill and King ‘s College London. He was a member of the Poet ‘s Workshop which ran through the Sixtiess to the Nineties where his wise mans were among others, the late Philip Hobsbaum, George MacBeth and Leonard Clark, and Peter Porter and Alan Brownjohn. He began printing in diaries in the 70 ‘s. He presently lives and works in Geneva, transposing between his British and Genevan workshops.