Translation - Jahaan Tera Naqsh-e-Qadam Dekhte Hai (Ghalib)

jahaan tera naqsh-e-qadam dekhte hain
khayaabaan khaayaaban iram dekhte hain

Line 1/2 - The world, your footsteps do we see. flowerbed over flowerbed, we see paradise. The first word (jahaan) can be interpreted as both world or where. If we consider it as where, then the poet is saying where ever we see your footsteps, we see flowerbed over flowerbed, and one sees paradise. The obvious interpretation being your footsteps are like endless rows of flowerbeds and we see of paradise in them. If we consider the word as world, then we can interpret it as This world, we see as your footprint. And in your footprints, garden upon gardens have come up, and we see paradise. This earth is the paradise becuase You touched it.

dil aashuftagan khaal-e-kunj-e-dahan ke
savaidaa mein sair-e-adam dekhte hain

Line 3/4 - The heart is distressed/anxious, In the mole at the corner of the mouth. The blackish core, walking around in non-existence we see. This is a very very inaccessible verse. [Pritchett] interprets this as - Those who are distressed by the heart, those who have lost their heart. Those lovers in the mole at the corner of the mouth of the beloved, they see the brackish core of their heart that they lost. And in it, they see non-existence. Skipping this verse as I am unable to translate this into anything meaningful.

tere sarv-e-qaamat se ek qadd-e-aadam
qayamaat ke fitne ko kam dekhte hain

Line 5/6 - Your cypress of stature to one man sized height. We see the turmoil of the doomsday less (compared to this). Not a accessible verse either. The poet says seeing your stature (like a tall cypress tree) compared to the height of the normal man, We find the height of turmoil on the doomsday to be less. 'qadd-e-aadam' could also be said as height of Adam (first man) and this would interpret as your cypress of stature compared to Adam's height. When I see you both on the doomsday, and seeing the difference in height between you two, I think less of the height of the turmoil of the doomsday.

tamashaa ki ai mahw-e-aaiinah-daari
tujhe kis tamannaa se hum dekhte hain

Line 7/8 - The spectacle of you so engrossed in holding/looking into a mirror. With what yearning/longing we see you. The poet to his beloved, says the sight of you are so engrossed in the mirror admiring your glow. With what (kind of) longing we look at you. You look so occupied in the mirror and in your innocence of the moment, and my longing for the beloved is like a divine yearning that has no end, no beginning and is Total. 'aaiinah-daari' could also mean bearing the mirror, so maybe the beloved is holding the mirror to me.

suraag-e-taf-e-naalah le daagh-e-dil se
ki shab-rau ka naqsh-e-qadam dekhte hain

Line 9/10 - The evidence or trace of the steam of lamentation from the wounds of the heart. That we look for the footprints of the night traveler. The poet says we see the heat of lament and sorrowful moaning coming out from the wounds of the heart and if you want to find the evidence of such sorrowful release, look for the footprints of the night traveller. The second line could be interpreted in multiple ways. The night traveller could be a thief or robber that had robbed many houses in a single night leaving behind lot of anxious victims. I (for my heart is lost) am like those victims whose houses have been robbed. The other interpretation could be that the night traveller is lost (his confused footprints are all across the town) and he is anxious and agitated and in the same state of distress and unease as the lover.

banaa ke faqeeron ka hum bhes ghalib
tamashaa-e-ahl-e-karam dekhte hain

Line 11/12 - Having put on the disguise of a faqir, O ghalib!. We see the spectacle of the generosity of the people. The poet says I have put on the disguise of the faqir to carefully observe the spectacle of the people-of-generosity. It is impossible to tell who is really generous and who are just show-off generous ('people of generosity' who make loud claims about their deeds). To actually see for myself, I have donned the garb of a faqir so that we can see the spectacle. The use of word 'tamashaa' makes the scene sound as dubious or for show and hence the connotations are to point hypocrisy of those people.

Meaning of difficult words -
naqsh-e-qadam = footprints
khayaabaan = flowerbed
iram = paradise
aashuftagan = distressed
khaal = mole
kunj = corner, lonely spot
dahan = mouth
savaidaa = blackish, the black part of the heart, the heart's core
adam = non-existence, annihilation
sarv = cypress tree (tall in quality)
qaamat = stature, body
qadd-e-aadam = one man height (height of adam)
fitne = turmoil, anarchy
mahw = absorbed, engrossed
daari = looking into (holding/bearing)
taf = vapour, steam
naalah = lamentation, moan
shab-rau = one who walks/travels at night
bhes = disguise
ahl-e-karam = people of charity

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1 comment:

  1. tere sarv-e-qaamat se ek qadd-e-aadam
    qayamaat ke fitne ko kam dekhte hain.

    The real beauty of this goes far above than your interpretation,Sir. Ghalib says that the height of "Qayamaat" is lesser than the stature of his beloved is exactly by height of the normal person (the same person is beloved in human form and not "Adam"). That means as far as the head of "Qayamaat" goes, from the exact same point the feet of his beloved starts going upwards. ("Qayamaat" ki height(head) beloved ke pairon tale simat k rah jati hai). The amazingness of this verse grows every time in our imagination whenever we think of this couplet.
    Thank you.

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