na gul apna, na khar apna, na zaalim baaGhbaaN apna

banaaya aah kis gulshan meiN hum ne aashiyaaN apna

-Mazhar ‘Jaan-e-JanaaN’ (1699-1781)

न गुल अपना, न ख़ार अपना, न ज़ालिम बाग़बान अपना/

बनाया आह किस गुलशन में हम ने आशियाँ अपना

Roughly paraphrased, it would mean:

Neither the rose/flower is mine, nor the thorn (Khaar), nor the cruel gardener

Alas! In what garden have I built my nest!

The shair is self-explanatory. Through powerful use of figurative expressions, it alludes to a sense of alienation and a state of feeling dispossessed.

In his time Mazhar ‘Jaan-e-JanaaN’ was regarded as a pious mentor of the Naqshbandi order of Sufi mystics. According to some literary historians, his father was held in high esteem by emperor Aurangzeb. He had a large set of disciples who held him in great reverence for his spiritual guidance.

Mazhar ‘Jaan-e-JanaaN’ ranks among the early classical masters whose work enriched the Urdu language with its directness and simplicity. He wrote much less in Urdu as compared to his collection of verses in Persian.

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