Translation - Woh Firaaq Aur Woh Wisaal (Ghalib)

woh firaaq aur woh wisaal kahaan ?
woh shab-o-roz-o-maah-o-saal kahaan ?

Line 1/2 - Ghalib laments that gone are those days of meetings and separation, those are no more. The joy of meetings and torment of separation are moments of the past. Also gone are those nights of our union, those days and months and years. Where are those moments of warmth (of our encounters) and the anguish of your going away. Where are those days and months and years of our love now. The poet could be pondering over the loss of his beloved or maybe apathy of his lover now (for her love towards him is no more what it used to be).

fursat-e-kaarobaar-e-shauq kise ?
zauq-e-nazzaraa-e-jamaal kahaan ?

Line 3/4 - The poet says who has the time to pursue hobbies. He is not in the business of following leisurely pursuits these days. All he does is to think about his love and his beloved. Now, where is the enjoyment in the sight of beauty. There is no pleasure in it (now). This couplet can be interpreted in many ways. It could also mean who has time for leisure when being in love itself is so engaging, but I am being denied the delight of appreciating the beauty of my beloved.

dil to dil wo dimaagh bhee na rahaa
shor-e-sauda-e-khatt-o-khaal kahaan ?

Line 5/6 - Ghalib says that not only his heart, I have lost my mind as well earlier for love (or fleeting thoughts of love). Where is now that tumultuous madness for that mole and beard. Where are those infatuations, those tenderly feelings that earlier used to make him mad and seemed so real. But now those seemingly genuine feelings fade away, the person doubts what was those prior thoughts that seemed so wonderful at that time. Again, highly interpretive.

thee woh ik shakhs ke tasavvur se
ab woh raanaai-e-khayaal kahaan ?

Line 7/8 - Asad says her mere existence was a result of somebody's thought. She existed only in fancy thoughts of an individual. Now those affectionate thoughts are no more. He fantasies about (not his) the beloved, he constantly dreams about her from whatever little he has heard about her from an acquaintance. But he has lost that fantasy now, not because he has lost her, but because she was never his to begin with. It could mean that those fantasies were result of someone (the poet referring himself) thought, and those imaginations (whatever it maybe, not necessarily of beloved) are no more.

'eisa aasaan naheen lahoo rona
dil mein taaqat jigar mein haal kahaan ?

Line 9/10 - Ghalib laments it is not easy to cry your heart out. Where is the strength left in the heart and where is the condition of the liver. Weeping tears of blood leaves him so drained, that there is no physical and emotional strength left in him. This couplet though easy to understand does not fit into the usual train of rueful thought as in like comparing old (and better) times with now that other couplet in this gazal have meant.

hamse choota qamaar_khaana-e-ishq
waan jo jawain, girah mein maal kahaan ?

Line 11/12 - I have lost my love for the gambling houses, where is the money in my purse that I would go there now. The poet fond of visiting the gambling houses, misses that he is not able to go there now due to lack of money.

fikr-e-duniyaan mein sar khapaata hoon
main kahaan aur ye wabaal kahaan ?

Line 13/14 - I bang my head trying to figure out a solution to the problems of this world. The troubles of the world are keeping me agitated and engaged. I forget to tell myself that these problems are not of my doing or my tastes (not that it would have mattered.) The problems are much bigger than me. Where am I and What could I have done of those. Those worries of the world transcends my abilities and my senses. It could also mean that Ghalib is very capable of pondering over worldly miseries but he does not, instead being absorbed in the pursuit of love for lover is what he is.

muzmahil ho gaye quwa'a 'ghalib'
wo anaasir mein 'eitdaal kahaan ?

Line 15/16 - The poet says that he is physically exhausted. All is limbs and physical power has been depleted now. Where is the moderation in the elements now. Where is the balance in my fate now. Why does not good times (or fortune) arrives now to soothe his wearied and tired spirit.

Meaning of the difficult words :-
firaaq = separation
wisaal = meeting
shab = night
maah = month
zauq = delight/joy
jamaal = beauty
tasavvur = imagination
raanaai-e-khayaal = tender thoughts
haal = spiritual ecstasy
qamaar_khaana = casino
girah = knot/joint
wabaal = calamity
muzmahil = exhausted/idle
quwa'a = limbs
anaasir = elements
'eitdaal = moderation

Read more posts on Ghalib.


  1. Line 11/12 - The interpretation should be that love is a gamble, hence the poet's love of the 'gambling house'. But he has little left now to offer...

  2. Thanks Anonymous for coming by. Nice touch to the lines. I liked the way you interpreted it.