dil mein kisi ke raah kiye jaa raha hun main

kitna haseen gunaah kiye jaa raha hun main

-‘Jigar’ Moradabadi (1890-1961)

Here’s an off-the-cuff translation:

I’m making my way into someone’s heart

What an alluring sin I’m committing!

Ali Sikander, originally from Benares, led a life of anonymity as an itinerant salesman, till his poetic genius was serendipitously discovered by a renowned lawyer-poet from Azamgarh, Mirza Ahsan Baig, according to scholars of Urdu literature. After his recitation in tarannum (musical rendition of poetry) at the Mushaira in Azamgarh, in his celebrated baritone voice, ‘Jigar’ never looked back. The poet moved to Gonda, where he became a close associate of the redoubtable Asghar Gondvi.

One of the four giants of the Ghazal form in Urdu, according to literary historians (the other three being Asghar Gondvi, ‘Fani’ Badayuni and ‘Hasrat’ Mohaani), ‘Jigar’ is a master of the classical romantic Ghazal, whose verses are marked by a sense of exquisite rhythm and musicality. He was an extremely popular figure at Mushairas revered as a front-ranking poet of his times in classical mould. His legendary tarannum swayed audiences, transporting them to a magic realm of romance. Jigar’s work bears the profound influence of Asghar, whom he considered his mentor in poetry.

The couplet cited here is from one of his most well-known Ghazals. It is quite simple and calls for little interpretation. It is the refinement of delicate thought and the elegance of expression which appeals to the reader.

Another couplet from the same Ghazal is equally popular among afficianados of the Urdu poetry....

gulshan-parast hun mujhe gul hi nahin azeez

kaanton se bhi nibhaah kiye jaa raha hun main

(A worshipper of gardens, it’s not roses or flowers alone that are dear to me

I remain faithful to thorns as well)

Expressed in simple terms, the couplet subtly exemplifies Jigar’s philosophical approach to life—it’s not the pleasant and rosier side of it—be it people or situations which alone appeal to him. He takes adversities in his stride, as well, reminding us of Shakespeare’s words—“Sweet are the uses of adversity.”

Also Read: Urdu Couplet Of The Day - 5