Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Poem by Mirza Ghalib--Translation by Sunil Uniyal--India

Urdu original poem by Mirza Ghalib:

Hazaaron khwaahishen aisi ki har khwaahish pe dam nikle
Bahut nikle mere armaan, lekin phir bhi kam nikle.

Nikalnaa khuld se aadam kaa sunte aaye the lekin
Bahut be-aabroo ho kar tere kooche se ham nikle.

Magar likhwaaye koyi usko khat to hamse likhwaaye
Hui subah aur ghar se kaan par rakh kar kalam nikle.

Hui jinse tawakko khastagi ki daad paane ki
Wo hamse bhi ziyaadaa khastaa-i-teghe sitam nikle.

Khudaa ke vaaste pardaa na Kaabe kaa uthaa zaalim,
Kahin aisaa na ho yaan bhi wahi kaafir sanam nikle.

Kahaan maikhaane kaa darwaazaa, Ghalib, aur kahaan waaiz,
Par itnaa jaante hain kal wo jaataa thaa ki ham nikle.

Translation by Sunil Uniyal, India:

A thousand desires I had, each enough to take my breath,
Many longings were fulfilled, yet these were not enough.

Adam was driven from Paradise - I've long heard that tale;
A disgrace far more worse has been my exit from your lane.

I'll help if you want a letter to be written to her,
For, since morn, I've been roaming with a pen on my ear.

When I expect that someone will show sympathy for my plight,
He turns out to be more wounded by the blade of misfortune.

O tyrant, for God's sake, don't lift the curtain of Kaaba,
Or else the same unfaithful icon may appear there, too.

Where's the door of tavern, Ghalib? what has the priest to do with it?
This much I know that yesterday, as I came out he entered it !

Sunil Uniyal ( born 1953-) is a poet and translator based in New Delhi, India. He has been writing haiku and poems for over thirty years and many of these have appeared in e-journals like Muse India, Kritya, AHA Poetry, Poetica Magazine, Sketchbook, Notes From the Gean, A Hundred Gourds and Haiku Dreaming Australia. His work in translation includes, 'The Target is Behind the Sky-Fifty Poems of Kabir', brought out by the Low Price Publications, Delhi in February 2012.


  1. Sunil Uniyal,

    This poem is, indeed, beautiful. There are such phrases of wisdom here and maybe a bit of humor. I love the last line.

    I would love to read some of your poetry and will get on google right now.


    1. Thank you, Kathy, for appreciating this composition. Ghalib (19th Century) is a poet par excellence and one of the foremost poets in the Indian sub-continent. He wrote both in Persian and Urdu and poses great challenge to his translators. I'm happy that you have liked my version of his Ghazal. Thanks once again, and warm regards.


  2. a beautiful translation and a difficult one too.

  3. Dear Sunil,

    Thank you so much for commenting on others' poems today and for sharing your talent at Whispers. I appreciate your efforts to make Whispers a supportive writing community. Best wishes in your writing journey.


    1. Thank you, Karen, for your kind comments and support.

  4. Dear Sunil:

    I'm sorry the about the deleted message. I wanted to change something in my comment. I found a most beautiful haiku of yours on the net, A Flickering Candle. So gentle. I am usually indifferent to forms but I love Haiku (and Sonnets). I'm a fan of brief poetry.


  5. Thank you, Connie Marcum Wong, for the following comment--

    ‘When I expect that someone will show sympathy for my plight, He turns out to be more wounded by the blade of misfortune.’ Lines like these leave me breathless. You write with the talent of a master poet and I shall seek out more of your wonderful poetry to enjoy. Mahalo, Connie Marcum Wong

    1. Thank you, Connie Marcum Wong, for your very encouraging comments. Credit should go to Ghalib, who is a poet par excellence. But I'm happy you liked my version.
      Warm regards.

  6. Thank you, Phyllis Babcock, for the following comment--

    Beautiful poem with some very unique lines.