Translation - Layi Hayaat Aaye Qaaza (Zauq)

This work though not of Ghalib was included in the "Mirza Ghalib" TV serial. This is by Zauq, another notable Urdu poet of that time. He was the tutor of the Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Ghalib was part of Zafar's court and though there was no love lost between Zauq and Ghalib, there was mutual respect of each other. The below work of Zauq is probably his best work.

layi hayaat aaye qaaza le chali chale
na apni khushi aaye na apni khushi chale

Line 1/2 - The poet says that the existence brought me and I came and when death took me away, I went away with it. Neither did I came on my own will, nor will I go off on my own accord. In such two simple lines the poet has summed up the tragic essence of life i.e. The lack of control over it. We just arrive because we are born and we just leave when dead and in both, we have no control over the events. No one asked if we wanted to be part of this life, part of this existence.

behatar to hai yahi ke na duniya se dil lage
par kya karen jo kam na bedillagi chale

Line 3/4 - It is better of course not to involve your heart in the matters of this world. But what can one do in this world without getting involved. The poet says that it is best not to get attached to the joys and sorrows of this material world, but then, what can one achieve/accomplish without getting mired in the hustle-bustle of life. Being indifferent does not accomplish anything. Again a masterpiece that touches on the inability of a human to remain untouched from the joys and sorrows of earthly existence.

ho umr-e-khizr bhi to kahenge bavaqt-e-marg
hum kya rahe yahan abhi aaye abhi chale

Line 5/6 - Even if one lived the life span of the Khizar (Khizar/khidr is a revered figure in Muslim faith who is said to be contemporary of Moses and is still said to be alive). Even then at the time of dying, one says.. we lived a small life here, we had just arrived and it's already time to leave. Zauq touches on another of human trait - the unsatisfied appetite of mind where one does not want to let go of life even after living it full. This greed, this insatiable hunger to live forever.

duniya ne kis ka rah-e-fana mein diya hai sath
tum bhi chale chalo yun hi jab tak chali chale

Line 7/8 - The poet says that who in this world has accompanied someone who is on his way to annihilation. You too continue walking (alone) on the path as long as the path goes. Zauq says that each one to his own. Do not look for companion in this journey of life for there will be none. And those who claim to be, will not stay beside when the real test arises. Instead take the road alone and walk along it as long as it goes.

nazan na ho khirad pe jo hona hai wo hi ho
danish teri na kuch meri danishvari chale

Line 9/10 - Zauq says do not be proud/arrogant of your intelligence, for whatever has to happen will still happen. Neither will your wisdom, not my knowledge would work or make any difference. The poet says that no one has eyes into the future. Even with all the wisdom and learning, life will continue to come up with new situations and it could be that you are not prepared for it. Hence do not be arrogant of your wisdom.

kam honge is bisat pe hum jaise badqimar
jo chal hum chale wo nihayat buri chale

Line 11/12 - On this chessboard, there are only few gamblers like me who are so bad in playing it. Whatever move I play on this chessboard, it turns out it was an extremely badly played move. The poet in the moment of failure and disappointment, laments that whatever he does, it turns out to be more worse. For a person like me who has already lost so much, there is more to lose with everything I do.

ja ki hava-e-shauq mein hain is chaman se ‘zauq’
apni bala se bad-e-saba kaheen chale

Line 13/14 - The poet says 0 Zauq!, I leave this garden amid the inner winds of desire. Why should I care if the pleasant morning breeze blows somewhere. The poet says who cares about the gentle morning breeze and where it blows when the currents (thoughts) of passion and longing can enliven him!

Meaning of difficult words -
hayaat - existence
qaaza - death
bedillagi - dis-interested
khizar/khidr - a revered figure who is said to be immortal.
bavaqt-e-marg - at the time of death
rah-e-fanaa - path to annihilation.
naazan - proud of
khirad - wisdom, intelligence
danish/danishvari - knowledge/learning
bisat - chessboard
bad-qimaar - bad gambler
hava-e-shauq - winds of desire
chaman - garden
bad-e-saba - pleasant morning breeze  

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  1. Thank you very much for posting this loaded gazal with lucid explanation!

  2. Very accurate translation indeed!

  3. Dear Rahul Negiji , I am very thankful to you for this great work done by you.Full meaning with meanings of hard words also.your style of description is also quite good. ATUL DESHMUKH PUNE

  4. I'm short of words to describe the feeling after going through the translation. Really appreciate your good work


  5. Though loaded with profuse Persian diction it was a dedicated passion of the translator to expose the depth of Zauk. Thanks

  6. I am not happy with the explanation of the last verse