Jashn e Ghalib
I love to read and re-read Ghalib’s response to a very popular verse credited to him but which wasn’t his
“khudaa ke vaaste parda na Kaaba se uthaa vaaiz
kahiin aisaa na ho yaan bhii wohi kaafir sanam nikle ”
[ for the Lord’s sake, don’t lift the curtain from the Ka’bah, Preacher! // may it not somehow be that here too that same infidel idol would emerge]
In a letter written in 1858 to his friend who was given the responsibility of printing his Divan –
[ Brother Shihab ud-Din Khan, for the Lord’s sake, what have you and Hakim Ghulam Najaf Khan done to my divan?! These verses that you’ve sent– the Lord knows what son of a bitch [vald al-zanaa] has inserted them! The divan has been printed. If these verses are in the text, then they’re mine; and if they’re in the margins, then they’re not mine. In short, even if these verses would be found in the text, then consider that some accursed prostitutor-of-his-wife [zan-jalab] has scratched out the real poetry and and written in this trash. In short, whatever scoundrel is the author of these verses, curses on his father and his grandfather and his great-grandfather, back to the seventh generation of the bastards [vald al-haraam]! More than this, what can I write? ]
One more letter written in 1859 to his friend ( extracts )
I used the pen-name of Asad, otherwise I’ve been using only ‘Ghalib’. And don’t you look also at the style of the writing [tarz-e tahriir], and the path of the thought [ravish-e fikr]? My poetry– and so ‘ornamented, varnished, deceitful’ [muzakhraf]! This story is at an end.
This verse was written by Ghalib but he felt it was below par and didn’t publish in the Divan
” zaraa kar zor siine par kih tiir-e pur-sitam nikle
jo vuh nikle to dil nikle jo dil nikle to dam nikle ”
[please just put a bit of pressure on my breast, so that the tyranny-filled arrow would emerge // if that would emerge, then the heart would emerge; if the heart would emerge, then the breath/life would emerge].