Monday, June 2, 2008

Sir Jis Pay Na Jhuk Ja'ay

Sir jiss pay na jhuk ja'ay usay dar nahi kehtay
her dar pay jo jhuk ja'ay usay sir nahi kehtay

kiya tujh ko jahan walay sitamgar nahi kehtay
kehtay to hein laikin tere moun per nahi kehtay

kaabe mein her ik sajday ko kehtay hein ibadat
maikhane mein her jaam ko sagar nahi kehtay

kaabe mein musalman ko bhi keh daite hein kaafir
maikhane mein kafir ko bhi kafir nahi kehtay

apne dil e sadchaak ko see sakta hoon
mehroom e karam ho ke ji sakta hoon

mouqoof nahi jaam pay rindi meri
saqi tere ghussay ko bhi pe sakta hoon

mujh ko tasleem hai sharabi hoon
phir bhi fitrat ajeeb paaye hai

mein nazar say sharab peeta hoon
meri rindi bhi parsayi hai

fikr e sood o zayaan to chotay gi
minnat e een o aan to chootay gi

khair dozakh mein mai milay na milay
shaikh sahib say jaan to chootay gi

hum apni shaam ko jab nazr e jaam kartay hein
adab say hum ko sitaray salaam kartay hein

saja'ein kiyoon na isay yeh sara'ay hein dil ki
yahaan haseen musafir qayaam kartay hein

gale lagaatay hein dushman ko bhi suroor mein hum
bahut buray hein magar naik kaam kartay hein

woh jin ko daikh ke dil mein khuda ki yaad aa'ay
hum un butoon ka bara ihtaram kartay hein

hayaat baich day thoray say pyaar ke badlay
yeh kaarobaar bhi tere ghulaam kartay hein

hamein bus aik nazar say nawaaz ey saqi
hum apnay hosh o khirad tere naam kartay hein

qateel kitnay sukhan saaz hein wo sannatay
sukoot e shab mein jo hum say kalaam kartay hein

hum apni shaam ko jab nazr e jaam kartay hein...

--Qteel Shifai

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In poetry, the ghazal (Persian: غزل; Turkish gazel) is a poetic form consisting of rhyming couplets and a refrain. Each line must share the same meter. The Arabic word "ghazal" is pronounced roughly like the English word "guzzle", but with a different first consonant, and literally means "speaking with women." A ghazal may be understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain. The form is ancient, originating in 6th century pre-Islamic Arabic verse. It is derived from the Arabian panegyric qasiida. The structural requirements of the ghazal are similar in stringency to those of the Petrarcan sonnet. In its style and content it is a genre which has proved capable of an extraordinary variety of expression around its central themes of love and separation. It is one of the principal poetic forms the Indo-Perso-Arabic civilization offered to the eastern Islamic world.
The ghazal spread into South Asia in the 12th century under the influence of the new Islamic Sultanate courts and Sufi mystics. Exotic to the region, as is indicated by the very sounds of the name itself when properly pronounced as ġazal, with its very un-Indian initial voiced velar fricative g. Although the ghazal is most prominently a form of Urdu poetry, today, it is found in the poetry of many languages.
Ghazals were written by the Persian mystics and poets Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi (13th century) and Hafez (14th century), the Turkish poet Fuzuli (16th century), as well as Mirza Ghalib (1797–1869) and Muhammad Iqbal (1877–1938), who both wrote Ghazals in Persian and Urdu. Through the influence of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), the ghazal became very popular in Germany in the 19th century, and the form was used extensively by Friedrich Rückert (1788–1866) and August von Platen (1796–1835). The Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali was a proponent of the form, both in English and in other languages; he edited a volume of "real ghazals in English."
In some modernized ghazals the poet's name is featured somewhere in the last verse.

The ghazal not only has a specific form, but traditionally deals with just one subject: Love. And not any kind of love, but specifically, an illicit, and unattainable love. The subcontinental ghazals have an influence of Islamic Mysticism and the subject of love can usually be interpreted for a higher being or for a mortal beloved. The love is always viewed as something that will complete a human being, and if attained will lift him or her into the ranks of the wise, or will bring satisfaction to the soul of the poet. Traditional ghazal love may or may not have an explicit element of sexual desire in it, and hence the love may be spiritual.
The Persian historian Ehsan Yar-Shater notes that "As a rule, the beloved is not a woman, but a young man. In the early centuries of Islam, the raids into Central Asia produced many young slaves. Slaves were also bought or received as gifts. They were made to serve as pages at court or in the households of the affluent, or as soldiers and body-guards. Young men, slaves or not, also, served wine at banquets and receptions, and the more gifted among them could play music and maintain a cultivated conversation. It was love toward young pages, soldiers, or novices in trades and professions which was the subject of lyrical introductions to panegyrics from the beginning of Persian poetry, and of the ghazal." (Yar-Shater, Ehsan. 1986. Persian Poetry in the Timurid and Safavid Periods, Cambridge History of Iran. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp.973-974. 1986)
The ghazal is always written from the point of view of the unrequited lover, whose beloved is portrayed as unattainable. Most often either the beloved does not return the poet's love or returns it without sincerity, or else the societal circumstances do not allow it. The lover is aware and resigned to this fate but continues loving nonetheless; the lyrical impetus of the poem derives from this tension. Representations of the lover's powerlessness to resist his feelings often include lyrically exaggerated violence. The beloved's power to captivate the speaker may be represented in extended metaphors about the "arrows of his eyes", or by referring to the beloved as an assassin or a killer. Take for example the following couplets from Amir Khusro's Persian ghazal Nami danam chi manzil buud shab:


Nami-danam chi manzil buud shab jaay ki man buudam;
Baharsu raqs-e bismil buud shab jaay ki man buudam.
Pari paikar nigaar-e sarw qadde laala rukhsare;
Sarapa aafat-e dil buud shab jaay ki man buudam.


I wonder what was the place where I was last night,
All around me were half-slaughtered victims of love, tossing about in agony.
There was a nymph-like beloved with cypress-like form and tulip-like face,
Ruthlessly playing havoc with the hearts of the lovers.