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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mirzâ Ghâlib

Mirzâ Abdullâh Khân, poet's name Ghâlib, was born in 1797 (or maybe 1798) in Agra. His parents were Turkish aristocrats. From his 13th year he lived in Delhi, then the capital of the Mughal empire. He wrote a divân - a collection of a few hundred poems - in Urdu, a modern Indian language rich in Persian and Arabic vocabulary. Contemporary Urdu speakers agree that it's simply not fun being lovesick, unless you can read the poetry of Ghâlib.

Let hope, that passion bear fruit, not flee;
surrendering one’s life is no willow-tree.

No ancient king’s seal is a cup of wine;
from hand to hand passes its majesty.

Your splendour’s a means to show you are here;
no sand-grain escapes from the sunshine’s glee.

The Beloved’s secret must not be unveiled,
or else in parting no breach could be.

Fear lies in the changing colour of joy;
no grief in bereavement’s eternity.

They say that men live all by their hopes,
but no hope even of life have we.

(poem 95 from Ghâlib's divân, translated by caru)



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