Translation - Dost Gamkhvari Mein Meri Sai (Ghalib)

dost gamkhvari mein meri sai farmavenge kya
zakhm ke bharne talak nakhun na badh javenge kya

Line 1/2 - In my state of affliction/sorrow and friends comforting me, what help would my friend attempt to administer. By the time my wounds fill up and heal, wouldn't my fingernails grow up again? Ghalib in his brilliant best says, in this my state of sorrow and discomfort, what informal advise or help can my friends offer? Maybe they will tell me to cut my finger nails so that I can not scratch my wounds. But what good would come from that? Before my wounds heals, my finger nails would have grown again and I would again be back scratching my wounds. The lover mocks that in this state of his, friends are of no help!

beniyazi had se guzri banda paravar kab talak
hum kahenge hal-e-dil aur aap farmavenge kya

Line 3/4 - The indifference has passed the limits, Oh Cherisher of servants, till when? We tell the state of our heart and you indifferently say - what? The lover says that the indifference of his beloved has passed the limits now. Till when? The beloved is referred in an honorific title as the protectors of followers. The lover opens his heart out and she says - what? as if inattentive and not even listening to the pleas of the lover.

hazarat-e-naseh gar aayen didah-o-dil farsh-e-rah
koi mujh ko ye to samajha do ki samajhavenge kya

Line 5/6 - If his lordship the adviser would come to me, I would lay down my eyes and heart out like a carpet in his path. Someone explain to me then - what will he explain? Again the lover mocks the helpful and well meaning adviser and says that he respects them highly, but tell me what they will explain to me? what can they advise me to help me lessen the pain of my sorrow?

aj van teg-o-kafan bandhe hue jata hun main
uzr mera qatl karne mein wo ab lavenge kya

Line 7/8 - Today, I go there having tied my sword and the shroud. What excuse will she put up now for not killing me. The lover says today I have resolved myself to die having a sword and a kafan (shroud) wrapped around my head as I head towards her place. What excuse she will have today for not killing me? I have the sword which she can use to slay me, besides I am ready for my death and have come prepared for it.

gar kiya naseh ne hum ko qaid acha yon sahi
ye junun-e-ishq ke andaz chhut javenge kya

Line 9/10 - If the Adviser would imprison us, then alright, so be it! These shades of the madness of love and passion - will these also be let go of. Would these leave us? Ghalib says that even if the adviser imprisons us, the shades and temperament of my madness would not go away. I will still wear them even if you imprison my body. This madness is my dress and my reward for my passion.

khana zad-e-zulf hain zanjir se bhagenge kya
hain giraftar-e-vafa zindan se ghabaravenge kya

Line 11/12 - I belong to the house of slaves of curls. Why will I run away from chains. I am a captive of faithfulness, why would I be afraid of prison. The lover says that he belongs to a house which is slave to the curls. Here the curls of hair akin to the chains. So why would I run away from the chains. I am in them already. Also I am captive to faithfulness and hence does not need to fear prison as I am already a prisoner.

hai ab is mamure mein kahat-e-gam-e-ulfat asad
hum ne ye mana ki dilli mein rahe khavenge kya

Line 13/14 - There is now in this place, a drought or scarcity of the grief of love, Asad! We have agreed to this that we will remain in Dilli, but what will we eat? Ghalib says in this place there is a scarcity of the grief of love, in fact there is no love for where there is love there has to be grief of love as well. And we are so used to eating grief of love and living by it that though we can live in this place, but what are we going to eat? for there is no grief here! In this city there is no passion, no lovers and no beloveds.

Meaning of difficult words
gamkhvari - grief-eating
sai - help
farmavenge - to give advise or say informally
beniyazi - indifference/freedom from want
paravar - nourisher
naseh - advisor
didah-o-dil - eyes and heart.
farsh-e-rah - carpet in the path
teg - sword
uzr - objection, excuse
zad-e-zulf - slave of curls
khana - house
zindan- prison
mamure - an inhabited place
kahat - drought
ulfat - affection

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The Rubaiyat : Quatrain XXI








Lo! some we loved, the loveliest and the best
That Time and Fate of all their Vintage prest,
Have drunk their Cup a Round or two before,
And one by one crept silently to Rest.










This is the twenty-first quatrain of the FitzGerald's Rubaiyat. This quatrain as like so many that came earlier tells us that the same fate awaits us all. Look at all the people some we loved, some the loveliest of people we ever met and other the best of people. The best of them were prepared by the working of the Time and of the Fate. Even these very best, will all eventually die having drank from their cup of fortunes.And slowly one by one all will silently creep to the eventual rest, even the loveliest and the best. The Fate of all is same. As someone truly sad - "After the game is over, the king and the pawn go into the same box."