poocha jo un se chaand nikalta hai kis tarah

zulfoN ko ruKh pe Daal ke jhaTka diya ke yuN

--'Arzoo' Lakhnavi (1873-1951)

A rough and ready translation would be....

(When I asked her how the moon rose at night/Tossing her tresses from off her face, she said,"thus")....

'Arzoo' Lakhnavi hailed from a family of poets and began his poetic career at a very early age, as was the norm in those days in cultured households. His father was a disciple of Jalal Lakhnavi, who also mentored young 'Arzoo'. After trying his hand at writing for Hindi films in Bombay in the 40s, Aarzoo moved to Pakistan.

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Aarzoo's Ghazals are marked by simplicity and uncomplicated thematic expressions. The couplet in question serves as a good example to illustrate the poet's style. The subject, 'zulf' has interested poets in the Persian and Urdu Ghazal tradition and has been treated in a variety of interesting ways by poets over the ages.

The analogy in this shair is quite simple, true to Arzoo's style. The beloved's face is compared to the moon, emerging out of the darkness of the night (zulf-tresses). It is the beauty of the visual image the shair evokes, which adds to the elegance of expression.

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