Translation - Unke Dekhe Se Jo Aa Jati (Ghalib)

husn-e-mah, garche ba_hangaam-e-kamaal achcha hai
us'se mera mah-e-khursheed-e-jamaal achcha  hai

Line 1/2 - Even though the beauty of the moon in the time of perfectness is good, my moon with sun's beauty is even better than that. A dramatic exaggeration indeed, the poet says though the full moon is beautiful, my beloved is a moon with sun's beauty is much better. The full moon while beautiful, is sporadic, but my beloved is like a sun always shinning and hence better.

bosa  dete naheen aur dil pe hai har lahja nigaah
jee mein kehte hain, muft aaye to maal achcha hai

Line 3/4 - She does not grant me a kiss, and yet her eyes are constantly on my heart. In her heart she says, if I get my hands on it for free, then it is a worthy thing. The poet in this light heart sher says, his beloved is keeping an eye on his heart and yet she grants me no favor. In her heart, she realizes I am a decent deal if it comes free. The deal coming free can be realized both as it will be a bargain to get it free or maybe its so unmerited that only getting it free makes any sense.

aur  baazaar se le aaye agar toot gaya
saaghar-e-jam se mera jaam-e-sifaal achcha hai

Line 5/6 - I will get another one from the market if it broke, my cup of clay is better than Jamshed's goblet. King Jamshed's magical cup was said to reveal all secrets and the whole world was said to be reflected in it. Ghalib says I can get another one if I broke one, this humble clay cup is better than Jamshed's cup for King Jamshed would not have that luxury of getting a new one in case his magical cup was to break. The poet reasons that sometimes the easier things are the better things and humbleness has advantages that splendid and majestic can not buy.

be_talab  dain to maza  usme  siwa  milta hai
woh gada jisko na ho khoo-e-sawaal achcha hai

Line 7/8 - If one gives without being inquired, then the pleasure in it is something else. That beggar who has no habit of asking is a better one. Again a bit convoluted, the poet says there is another delight in if something is given without being asked. The beggar who does not keep imploring is a better one for he allow bestower to give without pleading and hence the donor feels a bighearted and just. Ghalib says that I am that beggar that does not beg, but you (beloved) should bestow me with some favors and enjoy that pleasure it brings.

unke dekhe se jo aa jaatee hai munh par raunaq
woh samajhte hain ke beemaar ka haal achcha hai

Line 9/10 - On seeing her my face brightens up, She presumes that the condition of the sick (me) is better now. Ghalib says that on seeing her face, my face lights up and she thinks that my illness is better now. O! I do not even get the looks of sympathy now, for I just looking at her briten up and she thinks that I am alright and recovering.

dekhiye  paate hain  ushshaaq buton se kya faiz ?
ik birahaman ne kaha hai, ke yeh saal achcha hai

Line 11/12 - Let us see what rewards does the lovers receive from these idols, one soothsayer has said that this year is going to be good. Here idols refer to the unwavering and unyielding beloved. Ghalib says let see what favors do the lovers receive from these idols this time for a soothsayer has said that this year is going to be a good one. This year the beloved would be more open and conciliatory, a soothsayer had foreseen this.

ham_sukhan teshe ne farhaad ko sheereen se kiya
jis tarah ka bhee kisee mein ho kamaal achcha hai

Line 13/14 - The axe made Farhaan and Sheereen talking to each other. Whatever way it was done, the result was good. The line refer to tale of Farhaan & Sheereen where Farhaad kills himself with his axe and Sheereen on finding his body uses the same axe to commit suicide. Ghalib says the axe got them talking to each other (which was nor possible when they were alive due to their social differences). Here dying together is portrayed as being finally able to converse together and a small axe did that trick. Whatever the technique was, the end result was good. Ghalib implicitly acknowledges this was for the better (however gruesome), for the society would never have let them live together.

qatra dariya mein jo mil jaaye to dariya ho jaaye
kaam achchaa hai woh,  jiska  ma'aal  achcha  hai

Line 15/16 - If a drop was to merge in the river, it will become a river. Any work is good, if the outcome is good. These lines are a bit convoluted in meaning. Ghalib says in a way, we (a small drop in the universe) when we merge in this divine being, (in search of truth and meaning) we become the part of it. Each bit of us becomes the part of this giant scheme. We lose our singular existence, but become part of this holy creation like the same way a drop loses it existence, but becomes the river. If in the act of this, if we were to realize our purpose and our goal, then any path chosen is a good one. This is a classic sufi concept, to embrace the divine, to be part of it and Ghalib says any approach to achieve this is good as long as we achieve it.

khijr sultaan ko rakhe khaaliq-e-akbar sar_sabz
shaah ke baagh mein  yeh taaza nihaal achcha hai

Line 17/18 - Ghalib recited these couplets in the royal court, so an occasional testimonial to royalty was usual in his works. The poet says, may The Greatest Creator keep the Sultan Khijr prospering and thriving. In the Emperor's garden, this fresh tree is good and sound. A light sher in praise of his patron, Ghalib expresses that the new prince is coming up good and may the Supreme One keep him prospering.

hamko  ma'aloom  hai  jannat  ki  haqeeqat   lekin
dil ke khush rakhne ko, 'ghalib' yeh khayaal achcha hai

Line 19/20 - I for know the reality about heaven but, to keep the heart content, Ghalib the thought is splendid. Ghalib says I know the truth behind the heaven, but nevertheless it is a useful ploy to keep your heart content and satisfied. In a very accessible manner, the poet questions the concept of heaven after death, but then adds its a good way to keep the heart pacified and content.

Meaning of difficult words - 
mah = moon
hangaam = season, time
khursheed = sun
jamaal = beauty
bosa = kiss
saaghar-e-jam = Jamshed's cup
jaam-e-sifaal = clay cup
be_talab = without any enquiry
gada = beggar
khoo = habit
ushshaaq = lovers
faiz = profit
ham_sukhan = conversing together
tesha = axe
ma'aal = result
khijr sultaan = one of Zafar's son
khaaliq = The Creator
akbar = greatest
sar_sabz = fertile
nihaal = tree

Read more posts on Ghalib.


  1. Thanks a lot for this translation. I found the poem from this short film

  2. Thanks for beautiful translation listening to ghalib now..I will use your link in my blog

  3. Thanks for the translation.. ghalib's ghazals are beautiful... thanks for the wonderful translation

  4. Very good translation ...deeper meanings uncovered

  5. Excellent work on the interpretation. Can now fully appreciate the beautiful poem. Only had to go back every time to read the lines then come down again to read the meaning. You may want to write the meaning immediately after the lines. Thanks anyway. Your knowledge is profound

  6. Thanks a lot for such a correct explanation...