Wednesday, July 25, 2012

About Sins

آتا ہے داغِ حسرتِ دل کا شمار یاد
مجھ سے مرے گنہ کا حساب اے خدا نہ مانگ

आता है दाग़-ए हसरत-ए दिल का शुमार याद
मुझ से मिरे गुनह का हिसाब अय ख़ुदा न मांग

Aataa hai daaGH-e-hasrat-e-dil ka shumaar yaad
Mujh se merey gunaah ka hisaab, ay KHuda na maaNg

The count of wounds sustained in the grief of longing come to mind,
Oh Lord, please don't ask for an account of my sins.

This couplet is another example of Ghalib's superior skills at word play and how he was able to quickly flip the scenarios in just 2 lines. 2 possible interpretations can be derived here:

The import of the above couplet is that every sin that he has committed was a result of some desire or longing. The very thought of those sins invokes the memory of those longings and desire. Hence, he pleads with Lord to be merciful and not ask him to account for his sins as they invoke the memory of pain and grief.

The second meaning is more of classic Ghalib wherein he expertly flips the blame back on God himself and absolves himself of all guilt: 
All the sins that I committed were a result of the temptations and grief that you (Lord) put in my path. So, Lord, it's very ironic that you should ask for an account of my sins. There would have been no sins if you (Lord) had been kind to me.

Friday, July 20, 2012


taa'at meiN taa rahey nah mai-o-angabeeN ki lag
dozaKH meiN Daal do koi ley kar bahisht ko

ता`अत में ता रहे मै--अनगबीं की लाग
में डाल दो कोई ले कर बिहिशत को
طاعت میں تا رہے نہ مے و انگبیں کی لاگ
دوزخ  میں ڈال دو کوئی لے کر بہست کو

taa'at (ता`अत)- worship
Mai-o-angabeen = wine & honey
laag = temptation
bahisht=heaven, paradise

So that, in worship, the temptation of wine and honey would not remain,
Let someone, having taken Paradise, fling it in Hell

A common scenario of Paradise includes streams of honey and wine (unlike the one available on Earth) is plentiful for it's residents. Ghalib uses these props for this sher.

When people worship, they are actually seeking this paradise. It is this temptation which is the reason for their obedience and not the love of God.

If we can just dispense with or remove the concept of Paradise then the worship would be a pure and selfless one.

A worship that is performed in the hopes of a reward after death is no worship at all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Oh Google! What hast thou wrought?

Its a bloody nuisance.
Everyone is a freaking intellectual. 

The smart phone carrying wise-ass who has Google up his ass and who never stops to think that most of what you see on the internet is anything but the truth. 

Google has doomed the generation as much as it has helped it. Probably they now need Google to know how to spell Google.

Information is cheap. The hard-disk is cluttered with movies that we will never see, songs that we will never listen to, presentations that we don't give a crap about and eBooks that we will never even glance at. What then? We will keep on hoarding till the hard-disk crashes and then we will rebuild the collection all over again.

The days when we had to hunt and beg unashamedly for a single track of Simon & Garfunkel is long past. The gleam in the eye at the prospect of laying our hands on The Doors box-set is perhaps history. Stealing old mix-tapes of Dad and recording Beethoven's Symphony #5 on it are tales of the past. The round-robin-polling, once something new arrived in the group, is so laden with nostalgia. Information was shared but only among the sincere pursuers. 

The age of information has indeed arrived and jogging on its heel is the demon of ignorance which rears its ugly head and does a vulgar dance. We are being seduced by the overwhelming amount of information into a passive ignorance with the additional baggage of goldfishesque attention span. 

The general premise or assumption would be that as information becomes more easily accessible, the recipients ought to become wiser and more intelligent. However, apparently, it has led us to believe that the earthquake in Japan was a result of people tearing up the Quran or Bible (depends on which sms you got) and that not forwarding the pic of Ganesh to 50 people would result in 7 years of badluck. Wiser indeed! Intelligent much!

Perhaps, what I really wanted to say is that before internet, information was valued. We worked hard to get it and we clung on to it. Once accessed, we owned it and guarded it with the ferocity of an animal. 

Now we don't even know half of what we think we know. 

Information is illusion.

Our memory is fleeting. We can't even remember our phone numbers. The price we pay.