Translation - Dard Minnat Kash-e-Dawa Na Hua (Ghalib)

dard  minnat_kash-e-dawa  na  huaa
main na achchaa huaa, bura na huaa

Line 1/2 - The pain has not obliged to the medicine. I have not become well, have not become bad. The poet's unusual use of "obligation to medicine" emphasizes that a fact that taking favors will make him indebted to it. It is good that I am no better, no worse from the medicine. Otherwise I would have been indebted to medicine if i recovered my health and I do not want to be indebted to anyone. I do not want favors from anyone.

jama'a karate ho kyon raqeebon ko ?
ik  tamaasha  huaa  gila na  huaa

Line 3/4 - Why are you collecting together the opponents. One spectacle happened, a complaint did not happen. The poet says to her beloved, why do you collect together my rivals? If you had complaints you could have told me in-person. Why did you tell it in front of my rivals.. Now your complaints will no longer be complaints, it will be turned into a unique spectacle in which these opponents of mine will derive pleasure from your complaints against me and pass judgments and critical advise on me. I wished you had avoided this spectacle.

ham kahaan qismat aazmaane jaayain ?
too hee jab khanjar aazma  na huaa

Line 5/6 - Where do we go and try out (test) our destiny? You yourself when are not a dagger testing (muster passing the dagger test). Here couple of interpretations are possible. The poet is saying about himself, that he was failed in the test to slay himself, so where should he go now to fulfill his longing of dying. Where should he try out his destiny? The other possible meaning is the lover is referring to his beloved, that you failed in the dagger test. You were unable to kill me. Now where should he go now to get killed?

kitne sheereen hain tere lab ! ki raqeeb
gaaliyaan  khaake  be_maza   na  huaa

Line 7/8 - How sweet are your lips. That the rivals. Having eaten abuses/curses, they have not become less-delightful! The poet says to her beloved that your lips are so sweet that even abuses and curses coming out of them for the rivals is being eaten by them readily and they do not seem to be any less delightful.

hai  khabar garm  unke  aane kee
aaj hee ghar mein boriya na huaa !

Line 9/10 - There is fresh news about their coming. Today itself, in the home there is no straw mat. The poet says I got some news about their coming. I heard my beloved or divine is going to visit me. And today itself, there is not even a straw mat in the house. This is the state of my home and its my utter lack of possessions. And this was to happen today! why today? when I do not even have a welcome mat nor I can somehow arrange for it now! Such is the state of my poverty of possessions that I could only think of the straw mat not being there in my house today!

kya woh namrood kee khudaaee thee
bandagee mein tera bhala na huaa

Line 11/12 - Was that the divinity of namrood? In devotion/service, your welfare did not happen. namrood was a king that claimed that he Is God and hence the words 'namrood kee khudaaee' is commonly used for false claims to divinity. The poet referring to her beloved says that my devotion has not paid off, It did me no good for she does not care about my service. Wasn't her behavior like the divinity of namrood? It is all falsehood and not what they claim. She is just like a false good namrood and my faith in her did me no good.

jaan dee, dee  huee usee  ki thee
haq to ye hai ke haq adaa na huaa

Line 13/14 - Gave my life, given to me by Him alone. The truth is like this that the right/claim did not get fulfilled.(or was not returned). These are best lines in the ghazal in my opinion. The poet says that I gave up my life,  which was in fact given to me by You only. The truth is that, the right was not fulfilled. I gave up my life, I sacrificed it (for reason unknown - maybe in God's path) . But what is so great in it? The life was itself blessed to me by You alone and it went back to You only. The truth is that I was blessed with life to live it. to exist! but the debt was not repaid as I just ran away from living. Life is to be lived and lived rightly for the debt to be paid back otherwise what is big deal about sacrificing yourself in His path. One is just giving back that was He was given earlier.

zakhm gar dab gaya, lahoo na thama
kaam  gar  ruk  gaya  ravaa na huaa

Line 15/16 - If the wound was pressed, the blood did not stop. If the work was stopped, then it did not move on. This are not very approachable lines, here is my take on it. The poet says that when I press my wound, the blood should have stopped.  But it does not and the wound keeps bleeding. And if the work (the work of pressing the wound) was stopped then the blood itself stopped flowing through my body. There is no way out of the misery, either I bleed myself to death by pressing the wound or my blood stops flowing when I stop pressing my wound. In either case, I die!

rahzanee hai  ki dil_sitaanee  hai ?
leke dil, dil_sitaan  ravaanah huaa

Line 17/18 - Highway robbery is it or is it stealing of the heart? Taking the heart, the stealer of heart moves on!. The poet asks is it highway robbery or the theft of his heart? The beloved stops, steals his heart and then moves away quickly. It does not look like she was here to steal my heart and play with it and torture me. Instead it appears like a crime. This does not look like taking my heart, it felt like a plain highway robbery.

kuchch to padhiye ki log kehte hain
"aaj  'ghalib'  ghazalsara na  huaa"

Line 19/20 - Do read something for people are saying. Today ghalib did not become a ghazal-singer. The poet says even in his leisurely hours in company of common folk or when he is not in a particular mood for word-play, people ask him to recite something for they ask how come today ghalib is not at his best (i.e. being a ghazal singer). People have come to expect the best lines from me and If someday I don't give them, they egg me to speak something.

Meaning of difficult words :-
minnat = favour, kindness
minnat_kash-e-dawa = obliged to medicine
raqeeb = opponent
gila = complaint
khanjar = dagger
sheereen = sweet
boriya = mat, mat made of jute/palm-leaves
namrood = an old king who used to say that he was god
ravaa = move on
rahzanee = highway robbery
dil_sitaan = stealer of heart
ghazalsara = singer of ghazals

Read more posts on Ghalib.


  1. Another great translation.. Just love have "literally" spoilt me..the translation of other ghazals of Ghalib which are not in your blog, seem to fall short of something..... I have a request for you, can you post at least one translation of Ghalib every week, so that people like us can have something to look forward to every week... And this translation is as usual, top notch

  2. Thanks buddy. Appreciate it. Surely you will hear more translations from me as and when time permits!

  3. Yes, let us have more translations, please!

  4. Great translation. Thank you, Rahul!

  5. Hi Rahul!
    Awesome blog and translations.

    Please keep it up.

    Best wishes,