Poem in Translation: Ghalib’s Baazicha-aie-atfaal..

Urdu is not to be learnt. It’s to be consumed in.

Urdu is one the most beautiful languages of the world. The words have a soulful bent to them and the phrases dive right into the ocean of utter poignancy. Even if you don’t know their meaning, the words in Urdu manifest themselves in your mind. You carry the burden of not knowing its meaning until you do and then, you will contain both, the ethereal word and its meaning, within you.

In ‘Masti Ki Paathshaala’, let”s learn some of these words and their derivative meanings in a poem by Ghalib. Beware, a word can have several meanings. We have added the most apt meaning in respect with the poem. Before using a word or phrase in your writing, do consult an Urdu connoisseur.


Baazicha-aie-atfaal by Ghalib..

mirza ghalib


Baazicha-aie-Atfaal* Hai Duniya, Mere Aage (playground)
Hota Hai Shaboroze* Tamasha Mere Aage(dawn & dusk)
I perceive the world as a playground
Where dawn and dusk appear in eternal rounds
Ik Khel Hai Aurang-e-suleman*, Mere Nazdeek(throne of suleman)
Ik Baat Hai Ajaaz-a-Maseehah*, Mere Aage(miracles of messiah)
In His Universal form is a plaything the throne of Solomon
The miracles of the Messiah seem so ordinary in my eyes
 Juz Naam, Nahin Surat-a-aalam* Mujhe Manzoor (face of the universe)
Juz Vaham, Nahin Hasti-e-ashiya*, Mere Aage (soul of the matter)
Without name I cannot comprehend any form
Illusionary but is the identity of all objects
 Hota Hai Nihan Gard Mein Sahra, Mere Hote
Ghista Hai Jabin* Khak Pe Dariya, Mere Aage (forehead)
My anguish envelopes the entire desert
Silently flows the river in front of my floods
Mat Poochh, Ki Kya Haal Hai Mera, Tere Peeche
Tu Dekh Ki Kya Rung Hai Tera, Mere Aage
Ask not what separation has done to me
Just see your poise when I come in front of you
Sach Kehte Ho Khudbeen-o-Khuddara* Hun, Kyon Na Hun? (egotistical & proud)
Baitha Hai Butt-a-Aaeena-Seema*, Mere Aage (limited projection in the mirror)
Truly you say that I am egotistical and proud
It is the reflection, O friend, in your limited mirror
Phir Dekhiye, Andaz-e-Gul-Afshani-e-Guftaar* (style and charm of conversation)
Rakh De Koyee Paimana-o-Sahba* Mere Aage (goblet and wine)
To appreciate the style and charm of conversation
Just bring in the goblet and wine
Nafrat Ka Guman Guzre Hai, Mein Rushk* Se Guzra (Envy)
Kyonkar Kahun, Lo Naam Na Unka Mere Aage
Hatred manifests due to my envious mind
Thus I say, don’t take his name in front of me
Iman Mujhe Roke Hai, To Khenche Hai Mujhe Kufr* (temptations)
Kaba Mere Peeche Hai, Kalisa Mere Aage
Faith stops me while temptations attract
Inspite of Kaaba behind and church ahead
Aashiq Hun, Per Mashook-Farebi Hai Mera Kaam
Majnun Ko Bura Kehti Hai Laila Mere Aage
I am the Lover, yet notorious is my charm
Thus Laila calls names to Majnu in front of me
Khush Hote Hain, Pur, Vasl Mein Yon Marr Nahin Jaate
Aayee Shab-a-Hijran* Ki Tamanna Mere Aage (night of seperation)
“Dies” not one though the union is a delight
In premonition of the separation night
Hai Moujzan* Ik Kulzum-e-Khuun*, Kaash, Yahi Ho (wave ; sea of blood)
Aata Hai, Abhi Dekhiye, Kya Kya, Mere Aage
Alas, this be it, the turbulent wave in the sea of blood
I know not what else is in store ahead of me
Go Hath Mein Jumbish* Nahin, Aankhon Mein To Dum Hai (movement)
Rahne Do Abhi Sagar-O-Meena*, Mere Aage (wine & goblet)
Though the hands don’t move, the eyes are alive
Wine and goblet, let them stay in front of me
Humpesh-O-Hummastrab-O-Humraaz* Hai Mera
Ghalib to Bura Kyon Kaho, Accha Mere Aage
Conscience is companion and trusted friend
Says “Ghalib”, don’t pass any judgments in front of me

I hope you liked today’s learning. Don’t forget to impart this knowledge to others. Let’s share some love.

– SKB for Aaj Sirhaane


One Comment Add yours

  1. syed says:

    Ik khail hay aurange………………
    Ek baat hay…………

    I don’t quite see your interpretation of the verse. It is pretty straight forward and you
    don’t have to add meaning where it does not exist. What I interpret is as follows:

    Ghalib is not impressed by pomp and circumstance and the throne of Solomon is an illusion or game in his eyes not worthy of consideration.

    Ghalib is questioning the miracle birth of Christ. “Ek baat hay” is like “it is rumored”.that it was a miracle birth. Ghalib does not believe in the virgin birth of Christ.

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