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A Ghazal Embedded in my Thoughts

 

 

I first heard this poem more than sixty years ago. Our eldest brother, Air Vice Marshal Manjit Singh used to sing it in parties, and it was always well received. Behzad Lakhnawi (born 1895) composed the lyrics, and he was an acclaimed poet. But after the partition, he migrated to Pakistan, and we heard no more of him.

Recently, someone sent me a link to its rendition and I have played it several times. I was also able to get the lyrics along with the English translation. I am mesmerized by the thoughts they convey. The last verse (called maqta in Urdu adab) does not carry his name, but it is an absolute masterpiece.

For the lovers of Urdu shayari, the words are given below. And at the end I have given a link to the YouTube recording.

   ai jazba-e-dil gar main chahun, har cheez muqabil aa jae

by Behzad Lakhnavi

 

 

ai jazba-e-dil gar maiñ chāhūñ har chiiz muqābil aa jaa.e

manzil ke liye do gaam chalūñ aur sāmne manzil aa jaa.e

My heart’s resolve if I so wish, all will be so near and clear

I take two steps toward my goal, and straight ahead it would appear

ai dil kī ḳhalish chal yūñhī sahī chaltā to huuñ un kī mahfil meñ

us vaqt mujhe chauñkā denā jab rañg pe mahfil aa jaa.e

O heartache, come, I do agree, to go and join her company

there rouse me from my reverie, when it befits the atmosphere

ai rahbar-e-kāmil chalne ko tayyār to huuñ par yaad rahe

us vaqt mujhe bhaTkā denā jab sāmne manzil aa jaa.e

I’m set to venture forth mine guide, but by this you must abide

from the path turn me aside, when the journey’s end is near

haañ yaad mujhe tum kar lenā āvāz mujhe tum de lenā

is rāh-e-mohabbat meñ koī darpesh jo mushkil aa jaa.e

yes, you may think of me and be, at liberty, call out for me

if in these paths of love you see anything that makes you fear

ab kyuuñ DhūñDūñ vo chashm-e-karam hone de sitam bālā-e-sitam

maiñ chāhtā huuñ ai jazba-e-ġham mushkil pas-e-mushkil aa jaa.e

why should I seek her kindness say, let her tortures pile away

O grief for what I now do pray, is troubles even more severe

 

is jazba-e-dil ke baare meñ ik mashvara tum se letā huuñ

us vaqt mujhe kyā lāzim hai jab tujh pe mirā dil aa jaa.e

This counsel I do seek from you, about my inner feelings true

What is it that I should do, when I am smitten by you dear

ai barq-e-tajallī kauñdh zarā kyā tū ne mujh ko bhī muusā samjhā hai

maiñ tuur nahīñ jo jal jā.ūñ jo chāhe muqābil aa jaa.e

O brilliant lightning tell me do you think me to be Moses too

no matter what it may come to, I am not Tuur to burn or sear

 

The Last shayer

aatā hai jo tūfāñ aane do kashtī kā ḳhudā ḳhud hāfiz hai

mumkin to nahīñ in maujoñ meñ bahtā huā sāhil aa jaa.e

Storm does not scare me; because, the Lord  Himself is my Protector

I know,  that it is not possible for the shore to float on the waves and come !

 

Link to the Ghazal sung by Nayara Noor

  1. Cdr KP Jani says:

    Resp Dear General, Sir,

    What beautiful words ! What a melodious voice !

    Bahot khoob !!

    Regards;

    KP

    Cdr. K.P. Jani I.N. (Retd.)

    at Ahmedabad

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Dear KPJ
      Thanks.
      To appreciate this ghazal you need a perceptive mind. And every one is not as blessed as you!
      Surjit

  2. PPS Gill says:

    Thanks Surjit. Thins Gazal has been my favourite too for a long time. Very ‘nafees’ shaaery butifully rendered by the young lady. I was lucky to have learnt enough Urdu before it was banished from our part of divided India. Don’t mind being somewhat older for that.
    PPS GILL

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Bhai Sahib
      Urdu can not die, as long as the poets use it as their favoured language.
      No other Indian language has the phonetics.
      Surjit

  3. Surendra Rishi says:

    Dear Surjit,

    Thanks for the link. It was nice listening to the ghazal once again. It is one of my favourites too.

    Regards

    Surendra Rishi

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Sir jee,
      When we were young, we were told to forget Urdu. Then came the likes of Sahir, Kaifi Azmi and Gulzar.
      The so called ‘Bollywood’ revived Urdu. Now it is here to stay. And I do not know why, but there is a connection between wine and Urdu verse. It is the universal language of the bars, all over India.
      Surjit

  4. Brig Surinder Singh says:

    Prose in Urdu is said to be as good as poetry in other languages…if that be so then how do we describe poetry in Urdu?
    Compare this lyric with what is coming now in songs, be they in Hindi or Punjabi.
    Or is it that we are lagging by two generations from the present times?
    Thanx for this superb lyric.
    Surinder

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Surinder,
      A lot of research has been done on this subject. Why Urdu poetry is so rich is indeed a question worthy of serious study.
      My personal feeling is that the phonetics of Urdu make it suitable for romantic verse. The other factor is the influence of some masters like Mir Taqi Mir, Ghalib, Faiz, Iqbal to name just a few.
      Urdu can not die, even if it does not receive any support from the State.
      Surjit

  5. Sarawjeet says:

    Beautiful expressions put in to words and soulfully rendered by d singer. A friend fwdd itvn I thoroughly enjoyed listening. Thanks

    Mrs Sarawjeet Jha

  6. Brig Dr BD Mishra says:

    Dear Surjit,
    Thank you so very much for sharing this wonderful Ghazal and for its poetic translation.

    It was treat to hear its rendition from Nayara.

    Regards

    Brig Dr BD Mishra

    Course Mate

  7. Prakash Bambawale says:

    Very beautiful experience. Thanks a lot for sharing.

  8. WAZIR 90 KUMAR says:

    Cheers

  9. Ramani k says:

    Dear Gen Surjit,

    Where do you get such gems from? I am not conversant with urdu to the extent . The beauty of music and the wordings don’t need that that expertise !!!
    Thank you so much
    Best regards

    Ramani k

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Ramani,

      Gems sparkle…and my eye spots them, because I have readers like you!!!
      The beauty of these precious words lies in the ears of the beholders…
      SS

  10. Harikumar Krishnannair says:

    This is a GEM . Thank you for sharing,Sir.

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Hari,
      I am glad that you appreciate Urdu.
      Do you remember Capt Rao, who used to sing, “Daka to nahin dala…”
      He did not understand the meanings, and yet he could regale us with the ghazal!
      SS

  11. KS Virk says:

    Great Ghazal by a great poet and well sung in old old classical Ghazal singing style. Some of Brhzad’s ghazals are also sung by the great late Begum Akhtar. Thanks.

  12. Bhupiner Oberoi says:

    A very nice Ghazal.Heard after a long time.Thanx a lot Surjit

  13. Raj Mehta says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  14. Neena Singh says:

    Wonderful! Will share on soul2soul!

    Warm regards
    Neena

  15. vijay tuli says:

    THANKS IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I ENJOYED IT INDEED

  16. R K Gaur says:

    Thank you. This is my favourite, though some stanzas are new and the rendition is also different.

  17. Parminder Singh says:

    Thanks ever so much for sharing.

  18. Raj Kadyan says:

    Very good indeed.

    With best regards,

    Lt Gen Raj Kadyan
    Chairman IESM

  19. Surjit Singh says:

    BBG,
    Thanks.
    What lovely Punjabi!
    SS

  20. Maj Gen Ashok Coomar says:

    ​Thanks General, its embedded in my thoughts too as my eldest brother, Mr Arun Coomar, still renders this gazal which once he did with great flourish when in good company.
    Ashok Coomar​

  21. ajay says:

    Heard this quite often from Lt Col Sob John(AEC) when we were small kids in the IMA.
    The IMA used to have a ‘Hindustani Sabha’, which would organise Hindi dramas/mushaira close to the POP. My parents were associated with this for many years.
    Later,heard this gazal from Sudhir Narain, a famous singer in Agra, at the FON Offr’s Mess. His version is on You tube as well.
    I remember two lines, which don’t figure here, but Col Sob John used to sing them / I may be wrong:

    “Manzil ki taraf do gaam to kya, ek gaam bhi chal kar na jaoon
    Jab khwaish e manzil ho jaye to samne manzil aajaye”

    Regards sir

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Ajay,
      Yes. I remember Col Sob John. By a coincidence, he settled down in Hosur, and I used to meet him very often. His son, Mushtaq joined us in Ashok Leyland, and that bonded us further.
      No. The couplet you have mentioned is not a part of this ghazal. It appears to have been added by a lesser poet. Its genre appears to be different.
      Incidentally, I learnt from Mushtaq, that the original name of Col Sob John was ‘Sahib Jaan’ and a teacher in his English school changed it when he was young. Both his sons joined the army and retired as Lt Cols. The old man passed away in 2003.
      It would be great if you could do a piece on your parents and their association with the IMA. I think his length of service in Dehradun would be a record!
      Love and regards,
      Surjit

  22. Vipan Passi says:

    Nice one General Surjit Sir !

    Saleekey se hawaaoin mein jo khushboo ghol saktey hain,

    Abhi kuchh log baki hain jo Urdu bol saktey hain.

    Regards,
    Vipan Passi

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Subhaan Allah!

      Your words are music to my ears!

      I invite you to write something for the blog.

      Surjit

  23. Sultan S Malik says:

    Ghazal has survived through ages, it is this aromatic freshness which keeps people of this part of the world so glued to this Kohinoor of our poetry culture.

    PEOPLE have always enjoyed the ‘Lehzaa’ of Ghazal/shaere-O-shayari BEFITTING and pleasing to convey max of human sentiments/sensitivities. BAHADUR SHAH ZAFAR-THE KING WROTE THIS..

    Baat karnī mujhe mushkil kabhī aisī to na thī
    jaisī ab hai tErī mahfil kabhī aisī to na thī

    le gayā chhīn ke kaun aaj tirā sabr o Karār
    be-Karārī tujhe ai dil kabhī aisī to na thī

    us kī āñkhoñ ne ḳhudā jaane kiyā kyā jaadū
    ki tabī.at mirī maa.il kabhī aisī to na thī

    ab kī jo rāh-e-mohabbat meñ uThā.ī taklīf
    saḳht hotī hameñ manzil kabhī aisī to na thī

    chashm-e-Kātil mirī dushman thī hamesha lekin
    jaisī ab ho ga.ī Kātil kabhī aisī to na thī

    • Surjit Singh says:

      Sultan,
      Indeed.
      I am told that ‘ghazal’ in its present form is more than three hundred years old. Mir Taqi Mir added a great deal, and even Ghalib accepted him as his mentor.
      Thanks for the piece sent by you.
      Surjit

  24. Dear Surjit Sir,

    I am greatly pleased to go through the lyrics & translation thereof. It may be worth mentioning that Urdu has been a very sweet & heart touching language, as highlighted when a ghazal is composed & penned by a learned poet. The last shayer brings out that extreme difficulties should be greeted as our lord(God Almighty) will take care of such difficulties & these will pass of with time.

    You may to like visit these two links given below:-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jII_D3Uk2a4

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jII_D3Uk2a4

    Another link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCRvHmqoVZk takes you to another ghazal sung by Nyara Noor -AEY ISHQ HAMEIN BARBAAD NA KAR.

    Thanks for all your love for shayree. Hope the number of people patronizing ghazals & classical music increase.I enjoyed this post.

    With fond regards,

    B B Ghai

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