2. Ghazal from Ghalib

translation by M. Shahid Alam


کہتے ہو نہ دینگے ہم دل اگر پڑا پایا
دل کہاں کہ گم کیجئے ‘ ہم نےمدُعا پایا


I can’t have it – you say – if you find my heart.
Once – it was mine. Now I know who has it.

Love is easily the best part of life. This pain
cures life’s itch: there is no cure for it.

She is coy & cunning, sweet – exacting too.
She is testing me when I do not know it.

The plain truth about my heart is this.
Every time I look for it, she says she has it.

My mentor likes to rub salt in my wounds.
Sir Tormentor, I ask, what is your reason for it?



-See also Ghazal from Ghalib (I)

– A variant of this translation has appeared in Paintbrush (1999/2000).

– M. Shahid Alam is professor of economics at Northeastern University. He is author of Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism (Palgrave, 2009). You can reach him at alqalam02760@yahoo.com.

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