Category Archives: Urdu Poetry


Meena Kumari had a sad life and died at a young age of 38. Her poetry is of highest standard and shows how she found her life. In one of her couplets she tells us how life has treated her. [She got a checkmate in the chess game of life every time she played: by her father, her husband and then her friends, see below *.]

Meena Kumari

ٹکڑے ٹکڑے دن بیتا دھججی دھججی رات ملی

جس کا جتنا آںچل تھا اتنی ہی سوغات ملی

جب بھی چاہا دل کو سمجھیں ہنسنے کی آواز سنی

جیسے کویؑ کہتا ہو لے پھر تجھ کو مات ملی

ماتیں کیسی گھاتیں کیا چلتے رہنا آٹھ پہر

دل سا ساتھی جب پایا بیچینی بھی ساتھ ملی

رم جھم رم جھم بوندوں مین زہر بھی ہے اور امرت بھی

آنکھیں ہنس دیں دل رویا یہ اچھی برسات ملی

Tukre tukre din beeta dhajji dhajji raat mili

Jiska jitna aaNchal tha Utni hi saughaat mili

[In pieces did I get the day and the night was all in tatters

Of the bounty, one got only as much as one could gather in one’s scarf]


Jab bhi chaha dil ko samjheiN hasne ki aawaz suni

Jaise koyee kahta ho, le phir tujh ko maat mili

[Whenever I tried to understand life, I heard someone jeering at me

As if someone is saying, lo, you got yourself checkmated again]*

MaateiN kaisi ghaateiN kya, chalte rahna aath paher

Dil sa saathi jab paya, bey chaini bhi saath mili

[It is a journey all the time, what with these checkmates or traps

When a heart is your companion, you got restlessness too]

Rimjhim rimjhim boodoN mein, zahr bhi hai aur amrit bhi

aaNkheiN hansdeeN, dil roya, yeh achhi barsat mili.

[The ringing rain- drops have both poison and elixir of life

What a rain did I get, where the eyes laugh and the heart cries]


Posted by on January 13, 2017 in adab and literature, Urdu Poetry, videos


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BEGUM AKHTAR, mere ham nafas.

This is Shakil badayuni’s famous ghazal. It is in very simple language and can be related to by us all.

I like the translation offered by ‘Rekhta’ very much, as it is it self poetry. Never the less I would take liberty to expand a little here and there.

The link to ‘Rekhta” is

First listen to it by Begum Akhtar

image shayari for mere ham-nafas mere ham-nawa mujhe dost ban ke dagha na de main hun dard-e-ishq se jaan-ba-lab mujh...


My explanation.

  1. O my friend, though we breathe together and our voices echo together, please do not betray me feigning friendship.

The burning love has brought me near death, do not if you will wish me well.

  1. My wounded soul glows and the light it emits keeps me alive,

I fear you, though my healer, might end up blowing the flame out.

  1. O my healer, leave me alone if you will, I have little confidence in your healing

Your brief attention might actually cause my malady to worsen.

  1.  (Here a bulbul (bird) is speaking, worried about the garden which is her abode) I am confident that any fire from outside will not touch it, but I have a real fear that the “fire” from the roses might ignite and burn down the garden.
  2. Lo and behold the beloved is ready to dispense favour, O Shakil, where are you,

What is yours might be usurped by someone else I fear.

[Literally: Where are you O  Shakil, Your lover is up, ready with wine and cup,

I fear that the peg of wine which is yours someone else might put a hand on it.]









Posted by on September 29, 2016 in adab and literature, Urdu Poetry, videos


Yeh Dhuan sa Kahan se Uthta hai



Dekh to dil ke jaN se uThta hai

Yeh dhuaN sa kahaN se uThta hai.

Oh I feel a fire in me, I can see something like smoke rising

I wonder if it originates from my heart or from my soul.

Gor kis dil jale ki hai yeh falak

Shola ek subh yaN se uThta hai

It musts be the grave of someone who died with unfulfilled burning desires

I see from this grave in the sky a huge flame rise every day in the morning.


khana e dil se zeenhaar na ja

koi ayese makaN se uThta hai?

This sher gave me jitters due to one word zeenhaاr. I am indebted to one Mr. Raj Kumar Pathria.*

for detailed explanation please see the end.

I would rather you do not leave the abode of my heart at all

Just  imagine, would any one think of leaving the house in such a manner?

or (2) Just  imagine, Would any one think of leaving such a house?

Naalah sar kheeNchta hai jab mera

Shor ek aasmaN se uThta hai.

As my agony finds tortured voice

It becomes a terrible noise from the sky.


Sudh le ghar ki bhi shola e awaaz

Dood kuchh aashiaN se uThta hai

O you (eagle) (who is busy roaming the sky), the one with fierce shrieks

Head now toward your abode as I can see some smoke rising from it.

BaiThne kaon de hai phir us ko

Jo tere aastaN se uThta hai

If one should ever leave the abode of his lover

Who will let him have any peace then?

YuN uThe aah us gali se ham

Jaise koi jahaN se uThta hai

Aah, the way I (had to) leave the locale of my beloved

was like one leaves this world (when he dies)

Ishq ek Meer bhaari pattar hai

Kab yeh tujh naatwaN se uThta hai

Love is like a huge rock, O Meer

How will you ever bear it, given you are so weak.



Raj Kumar Pathria

One more she’r that I would like to discuss in this mini-session is

khaana-e-dil se zeenhaar na ja
koi aise makaaN se uthta hai?

This is clearly one of the better she’rs of this ghazal — and, like
she’r # 4, is typical MEER! Unfortunately, it contains one
semi-difficult word, zeenhaar, that made it unfit for popular singing.

khaana-e-dil = dil ka makaan, the (lover’s) heart as the abode (of his

‘zeenhaar’ is the less common version of the same word whose more common
version is ‘zinhaar’, meaning ‘hargiz’. Meer had to use this version to
meet the demands of the ‘meter’.

zeenhaar na ja = hargiz na ja, don’t leave under any circumstances.

The paraphrase of this she’r is straight-forward. Meer is addressing his
beloved and is saying: “mera dil tumhaara ghar hai, ise chhorh kar mat
jaana. bhalaa koi aisa makaan chhorh kar jaata hai?”

The content of the first line is commonplace; any aashiq would say so,
and any poet would write so. It is the second line that makes this she’r
a “Meer ka she’r”!

Commonly spoken, the first line would imply a ‘request’ or a ‘plea’ on
the part of the aashiq. Here, on the other hand, it appears as an
‘advice’ or a ‘cautionary note’… koi aise makaan se uthta hai?

Please note that Meer could have said: kaun aise makaan se uthta hai?
— Does anyone leave a place like this? Instead, he says: koi aise
makaan se uthta hai? — as if he is saying ke “zaraa socho to, bhalaa
koi aise makaan se uthta hai?”
is andaaz-e-bayaaN mein jo lataafat hai, woh Meer hi ka hissa hai!!!

Those of you who are familiar with the concept of ta’alli
(self-exaltation), commonly indulged in by the great poets in their
maqtas, will realize that this she’r is in the same spirit (of ta’alli)
— this time in behalf of the aashiq. For what is being said here
amounts to saying: “hum aam aashiqon jaise aashiq naheen hain aur na hi
hamaara dil aam dilon jaisa hai. aise aashiq aur aise dil baRi mushkil
se milte hain. tum khush-qismat ho ke tumhein hum jaisa aashiq milaa hai
aur hamaare dil jaisa makaan milaa hai. inhen chhorh kar jaana naadaani

achhchha, ab ijaazat dejiye.

khair-andesh,  Raj Kumar


Posted by on September 5, 2016 in Urdu Poetry


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Khabar e tahayyur e Ishq sun (Siraj Aurangabadi) (2)

You may want to hear this ghazal of Siraj Aurangabadi (714-1763) before reading its wording and its analysis. here

This ghazal has 7 couplets. It appears that the love discussed here is invariably Love of the Divine.

my interpretations:

  1. True love means appearance of complete void where love, lover and the object of love all merge into oblivion. In context with the love for God, it strangely alludes to the fusion of subject and object into oneness and nothingness.
  2. True love allows one to be free from the norms of reason (mind) and of craziness (heart) and leaves him with just bare soul burning in love.
  3. The heat from the True One is so intense that it consumes the whole existence,yet the heart where He lives survives.
  4. In spite of a strong feeling of apparently being ignored (by the beloved) one can sense that his heart remains full of hundreds of longings. [This speaks of complete confidence in his Love and that he does not mind being thwarted or seemingly so] here I remember a sher of Ghalib “dhota hun jab main peene ko us seem tan ke paon, rakhta hai zid mein kheench ke baahar lagan ke paon’, meaning as I try to wash her beautiful feet to drink water thereof, She repeatedly keeps withdrawing the feet out of the pan.]
  5. It was a golden moment when I had the first lesson of True Love. Since then all powers of reason have taken leave of me.
  6. The effect of Your profound Beauty has left my heart incapable of appreciating any further ‘beauties’ or perhaps any other beauty has no shine any more.
  7.  Your Love has reduced my soul to ashes, and thus I cannot feel any threat or danger. I am free from fear.

خبرِ تحیرِ عشق سن، نہ جنوں رہا، نہ پری رہی
نہ تو تُو رہا، نہ تو میں رہا، جو رہی سو بے خبری رہی

شۂہ بے خودی نے عطا کیا، مجھے اب لباسِ برہنگی
نہ خرد کی بخیہ گری رہی، نہ جنوں کی پردہ دری رہی

چلی سمتِ غیب سے اک ہوا کہ چمن ظہور کا جل گیا
مگر ایک شاخِ نہالِ غم جسے دل کہیں سو ہری رہی

نظرِ تغافلِ یار کا گلہ کس زباں سے کروں بیاں
کہ شرابِ حسرت و آرزو، خمِ دل میں تھی سو بھری رہی

وہ عجب گھڑی تھی کہ جس گھڑی لیا درس نسخۂ عشق کا
کہ کتاب عقل کی طاق پر جو دھری تھی سو وہ دھری رہی

ترے جوشِ حیرتِ حسن کا اثر اس قدر ہے یہاں ہوا
کہ نہ آئینے میں جِلا رہی، نہ پری میں جلوہ گری رہی

کیا خاک آتشِ عشق نے دلِ بے نوائے سراج کو
نہ خطر رہا، نہ حذر رہا، جو رہی سو بے خطری رہی

سراج اورنگ آبادی


….na junoon raha na pari rahi – when neither you exist nor I exist

Anis Zuberi writes:

It is hard to translate classical poets. This ghazal of Siraj is like a flower, full of beauty and fragrance that one should smell and enjoy and not dissect. …Siraj Aurangabadi was one of the earlier poets of Urdu who came after Wali Dukkani. According to his biography, for years, he was in a state of trance and used to remain naked. Khabar e-tahayyur-e-ishq is one of his most famous Ghazals.

Khabar-e-tahayyur-e-ishq sunn, na junoon raha na pari rahi
Na toh tu raha na toh mein raha, jo rahi so be-khabari rahi

Learn oh absorbing love that neither the obsession (for the beloved) is left nor the object (pari) of love survived. The only thing that is left is a state of self-unconsciousness: where neither you exist nor I exist.

Shah-e-bekhudi ne ataa kia, mujhay ab libas-e-barahanagi
Na khirad ki bakhiyagari rahi, na junoon ki pardadari rahi

My beloved (shah-e-bekhudi is a reference to the beloved. Knowing what little I know about Siraj I am leaning towards God as his object of love rather than a worldly being) has bestowed me with a dress of nakedness (libas-e-barahanagi). Neither the intellect (khirad) can repair it nor does the insanity (junoon) rip it. Meaning what a dress (nakedness) my beloved has conferred upon me! I am now free from the trouble of ripping it or mending it (depending on the mental state I am in). My focus is my beloved not my own appearance or even existence.

Chali simt-e-ghaib se aik hava, ke chaman zahoor ka jal gaya
Magar aik shaakh-e-nihal-e-gham, jise dil kahen so hari rahi

A breeze came from the outer space (simt-e-ghaib) and burned the entire garden of existence (zahoor) but a branch of the tree of sorrow (nihal-e-gham) that is called heart remained green. Since in the first line poet is referring to a wind coming from the direction of God (ghaib) that has burned the whole existence (chaman) it can be assumed that tree of sorrow is a symbol of the poets own being. In the burned garden of existence he stood like a sad tree. Nothing grows on that tree except sadness, caused by the separation from his beloved. Now that entire existence is gone, only the abode of the beloved (heart) is survived.

Nazar-e-taghaful-e-yaar ka, gila kis zuban se bayan karoon
Ke sharab-e-sad-qadaah aarzu, khum-e-dil mein thi so bhari rahi

I am speechless (kis zuban). How can I complain the indifferent and uncaring glances (nazar-e-taghaful-e-yaar) of my beloved? After reading, the second line it is clear that he is trying to say that I cannot complain about those cold looks or eyes that have granted me so much. I am indebted to those eyes. Why? My heart is brimming with his desire (aarzu) as if a vessel (khum) is filled with hundred goblets of wine (sharaab-e-sad-qadaah).

Woh ajab ghari thi mein jis ghari, liya dars nuskha-e-ishq ka
Ke kitab aql ki taaq main, jyun dhari thi tyun hi dhari rahi

In Urdu poetry, reason (aql-o-khirad) the product of mind is considered a source of selfishness and as it causes a person to make calculated move; as against altruistic emotions that come out of heart. A thoughtful person thinks about the consequences before taking any action. That is why it is assumed that a selfless love is motivated by heart and not mind. For that reason love and brain are just incompatible. Mind is deceitful, untrustworthy, selfish and devious whereas heart is pure, untainted and selfless. As Iqbal said:
bekhatar kuud para aatishe-namrood mein ishq
aql thi mehvi-tamasha-e-lab-baam abhi

That is what Siraj is saying that at that strange moment when I started taking lesson in love (dars-e-nuskha-e-ishq) I left my intellect or brain (kitaab-e-aql- book is synonymous with intellect as one needs brain to read or write) in an alcove, where it is lying ever since.

Tere josh-e-hairat-e-husn ka, asar iss qadar hai yahan hua
Ke na aayine main jila rahi, na pari meiN jalva gari rahi

Bewildered by your beauty (Josh-e-hairat-e-husn), I had such a mark on my heart (yahan is a pointer towards the heart) that the heart (aayina means heart) has lost all its shine (the basic quality of a mirror) and angel (pari is used as simile to refer profound beauty) had no beauty left to reveal.

Kiya khak-e-aatish-e-ishq ne dil-e-benava-e-Siraj ko
Na khatar raha na hazar raha, magar aik be-khatari rahi

The fire of love (aatish-e-ishq) has burned the voiceless heart (dil-e-benava) of Siraj to the ashes. There is no feeling of vulnerability or threat left. Only freedom from fear (be-khatari) is left. (As Iqbal has used the word bekhatar: bekhatar kood para aatish-e-namrood mein ishq.)



Posted by on August 31, 2016 in adab and literature, Urdu Poetry


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Khabar e tahayyur e Ishq sun (Siraj Aurangabadi)

Khabr e Tahayyur e Ishq sun…. by Siraaj Aurangabadi


For the  actual ghazal and its translation, you may want to go to






Posted by on August 28, 2016 in Urdu Poetry, videos


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Gulzar on life and ambition.


after Urdu, you will find Roman and English versions below.

صبح سے شام ہویؑ اور ہرن مجھ کو چھلاوا دیتا

سارے جنگل میں پریشان کیےؑ گھوم رہا ہے اب تک

اس کی گردن کے بہت پاس سے گئزرے ہیں کیؑ تیر مرے


وہ بھی اب اتنا ہی ہشیار ہے جتنا میں ہوں

اک جھلک دے کے جو گم ہوتا ہے وہ پیڑوں میں

میں وہاں پہنچتا ہوں تو ٹیلے پے،

کبھی چشمے کے اس پار نظر آتا ہے-

وہ نظر رکھتا ہے مجھ پر

میں اسے آنکھ سے اوجھل نہیں ہونے دیتا


کون دوڑاےؑ ہوےؑ ہے کس کو

کون اب کس کا شکاری ہے پتہ ہی نہیں چلتا


صبح اترا تھا میں جنگل میں تو سوچا تھا

اس شوخ ہرن کو

نیزے کی نوک پے پرچم کی طرح تان کے

میں شہر میں داخل ہوں گا

دن مگر ڈھلنے لگا ہے

دل میں اک خوف سا اب بیٹھ رہا ہے کہ

بالاخر یہ ہرن ہی

مجھے سینگوں پہ اٹھاےؑ ہوےؑ اک غار میں داخل ہو گا-

Subah se shaam hui aur hiran mujh ko chhalaawe deta,

saare jungle mein pareshaan kiye ghoom reha hai ab tak..

uss ki gardan ke bahut paas se guzre hain kayi teer mere …!


[Its now almost evening and I have been chasing this antelope since morning

Which evades me like a mirage, now I see it now it is gone.

Many of my arrows have just missed his neck]


Woh bhi ab utna hi hoshiyaar hai jitna main hun!

ek jhalak de ke jo gum hota hai woh peddon mein..

main wahan pahunchta hun toh teele pe,

kabhi chashme ke uss paar nazar aata hai..

Woh nazar rakhta hai mujh par!

main usey aankh se ojhal nahin hone deta!!


[He has become as clever as me, I get a glimpse and it disappears between the trees

When I reach there I see it on a hillock over there,

or beyond a stream,

He keeps an eye on me as I make sure he is within sight.]


Kaun daudaaye hue hai kis ko!

kaun ab kis ka shikaari hai pata hi nahin chalta …!


[It is difficult to know who is now chasing whom

And who is hunting whom]


Subah utra tha main jungle mein toh socha tha ki..

uss shokh hiran ko,

neze ki nok pe parcham ki tarah taan ke

main shehar mein daakhil hounga …!

Din magar dhalne laga hai..

dil mein ek khauf sa ab baith reha hai ki,

bil-aakhir ye hiran hi..

mujhe seengon par uthaaye hue ek ghaar mein daakhil hoga .!!


[When I came to the forest this morning, I thought

I would hunt this beautiful antelope

I intended to enter the street, displaying this beautiful antelope

pinned at the end on my spear like a flag

As the end of the day is close

I fear now that I might end up as his trophy,

He would enter a cave balancing me on his horns.]


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This ghazal is one of the most famous and liked ghazals of Urdu poetry.

Listen it here sung by Nayyara Noor before proceeding.

The translations are given for the benefit of my readers who cannot read/ understand Urdu.

Please bear with me if you find translations not to the standard. I am no expert.

Woh jo hum mein’ tum mein’ qaraar tha, tumhein’ yaad ho ke na yaad ho-
Wahi yaani waada nibaah ka, tumhein’ yaad ho ke na yaad ho..
[You may or may not remember, but there was sort of peace between you and me
You may or may not remember, there was a covenant to stick together.] 
Woh jo lutf mujh pe the peshtar, woh karam ke tha mere haal par-
Mujhe sab hai yaad zara zara, tumhein’ yaad ho ke na yaad ho..
[ the delight of your advance love and your kindness for my self
 I remember it all, to some extent, You may or may not remember]
woh naye gile woh shikaayatein’, woh maze maze ki hikaayatein-
woh har aik baat pe roothna, tumhein’ yaad ho ke na yaad ho..
[Those ever new moans and and whines, those hilarious tales,

Your being sore on small matters, You may or may not remember]

kabhi baithe sab mein’ jo ru-ba-ru, to ishaaraton’ se hi guftagu-
woh bayaan shauq ka barmalaa, tumhein’ yaad ho ke na yaad ho..

[ when we found ourselves face to face sitting with others, talking with signs

and that longing to talk normally, You may or may not remember]

koi baat aisi agar hui, ke tumhare ji ko buri lagi-
to bayaan’ se pehle hi bhoolna, tumhein’ yaad ho ke na yaad ho..

[If there was a thing that you found annoying
your pretending being forgetful, You may or may not remember

kabhi hum mein’ tum mein’ bhi chaah thi, kabhi hum se tum se bhi raah thi-
kabhi hum bhi tum bhi the aashna, tumhein’ yaad ho ke na yaad ho..
[There was once love between you and me, there was once a line between you and me,

Once we were known to each other, You may or may not remember]

suno! zikr hai kai saal ka, ke kiya aap ne ek waadaa tha-
so nibaahne ka to zikr kya, tumhein’ yaad ho ke na yaad ho..

[please listen, it is many years since, you made a promise to me, 
what is there to say about it being kept,  You may or may not remember]
jise aap ginte the aashnaa, jise aap kehte the baawafaa-
main’ wahi hun’ Momin’ mubtala, tumhein’ yaad ho ke na yaad ho..
[The one you counted as your beloved, the one you swore to be faithful
I am that very indulgent Momin,  You may or may not remember]

Posted by on May 6, 2016 in Urdu Poetry