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I am neither an expert of studies of conversation nor a counselor of how to speak with individuals or address an audience. I have pity on myself why I try to put a big morsel in my small mouth by choosing a profound and scientific topic for my today’s post! I question to myself, “How dare you (Mr. Author) put on an Armour without having a sword in hand?” But, I am prepared for ‘Come what may!’ I recall Narmad, the brave (a Gujarati man of letters) with his call ‘Go forward and victory is there waiting for you.’ *
My good Readers, you will bear with me if I remember our Indian Railway Minister Mr. Laluprasad Yadav for his daring of translating a couplet into English which he had recited in Hindi while delivering his Budget speech. I am sorry for going out of the track of my subject for a while as I cannot restrict myself giving you his Hindi text below in English script for your ‘Off the record’ entertainment!
“Sab kah rahe hain, hum ne gazab kiya hai,
Karodon ka munafa, har ek sham diya hai,
Phal salon mein ab dega paudha jo lagaya hai,
seva ka samarpan ka hamne farz nibhaya hai.”
Mr. Laluprasad Yadav’s presence of mind and his witty nature encouraged him to translate the above verse in his stumbling as well as pigeon English; and, not only the House but the Speaker Mr. Somnath Chatterjee also burst into laughter. Enjoy few sample lines he said in the translation as “They are saying that Lalu Yadav has planted a fruit tree and every year it is a duty of mine to grow fruit trees”.
I shall link above episode with an appropriate point of my further text, but meanwhile, I am going to represent my attempt of conversation on a topic with my little knowledge in that regard to justify the title of my Article. During our S.S.C. Exam. year 1959, we had a lesson in English Text Book as ‘Yateo’s Gift’. This reference is enough here as my main purpose is to let you know the moral from the story that “A little gift may be perfect if love goes with it”. In my case also, the same slogan may be applied in the words as “A little learning may be perfect if style of presentation goes with it”.
Here is the back-ground of the episode in brief. It was the year of 1982. We were diverting our family business of Handloom Cloth Weaving as in kind of Master Weavers to Automobiles. We had started our business with some dealerships of Tyre, Lubricants and Auto Electrical Companies. Mr. Subeer Benerjee was the District Manager of ‘Firestone’ Tyre Company at Ahmedabad. One day he paid a courtesy visit to our premises at Palanpur. Normally, the Company Executives and even SRs also never accepted any dealer’s Lunch or Dinner invitations. ‘Firestone’ was an America based multinational company and it was their disciplinary code of conduct. But, as an exceptional case, Mr. Benerjee accepted our invitation to honor our feelings of hospitality. We took a very nice Hotel on Highway to have our lunch. Being our order of some special items, we had to wait for about half an hour. Mr. Benerjee and myself were sitting comfortably in the family Room. With the last name, he was supposed to be a Bengali, but he was from Indore (M.P.). Just to pass the time and also to push back our hunger, we started our conversation in general as follows:
“Valibhai, you are a well educated man and may be interested in Urdu Gazals and alike forms of poetry. Am I right?”
“Of course!” (An unexpected question puzzled me and I felt that something unripe has been cut off with my positive answer!)
“Very good! I am fortunate enough to listen to some She’rz (couplets) from you just to enjoy.”
“Certainly! Why not? But, do you know the etiquettes of a listener?” (I already knew my limitations to cope with the challenge in this regard; but, I was trying to confuse him just for innocent amusement!)
“Yes, yes. Paying of Daad (words of appreciation)! Isn’t it?”
I had to pass through an acid test! Luckily, I recalled some couplets heard from my friend some years ago. Now, I am prepared to be like a brave warrior with naked sword in hand without wearing the Armour, quite opposite to my former statement!
“But, with one condition! You will not ask for any more, you see!”
“I can’t understand your condition. Will you please explain?”
“I would think that you do not evaluate that high-rank poet and his top most creation in Urdu properly!”
I was trying to prepare an embankment for incoming water in advance as I had a single arrow in my arrow case!
“O.K. Baabaa! I agree with you, but which Urdu poet you are going to talk about?”
“You, you will name the poet, not me, if you are a true fan of him!” I already knew the name, but I wanted to throw the ball in Mr. Benerjee’s court.
“Valibhai, you are really a very cute person. No doubt, I can recite hundreds of She’rz (stanzas) of celebrated Shaayars (poets); but now, I am sure that I’ll be defeated by you! You have tempted me for a long time. Now, please recite it for quick comfort of my mind.”
Now,I felt myself safe in my fortification. I said, “Janaab, to Pesh hai ye! (Sir, now it is this!)”
dil hee to hai na sang-o-KHisht dard se bhar na aaye kyoN ?
royeNge ham hazaar baar, koee hameiN sataaye kyoN? (1)
[ sang = stone, KHisht = brick ]
દિલ હી તો હૈ ન સંગો ખિશ્ત,દર્દ સે ભર ન આયે ક્યોં?
રોયેંગે હમ હઝાર બાર, કોઈ હમેં સતાયે ક્યોં? (૧)
dair naheeN, haram naheeN, dar naheeN, aastaaN naheeN
baiTHe haiN rehguzar pe ham, GHair hameiN uTHaaye kyoN ? (2)
[ dair = temple, haram = mosque, dar = gate, aastaaN = abode/thresh-hold, rehguzar = path/way ]
દૈર નહીં હરમ નહીં, દર નહીં આસ્તાં નહીં,
બૈઠે હૈ રેહગુજર પે હમ, ગૈર હમેં ઉઠાયે ક્યોં? (૨)
As soon as my recitation of the verse was over, Mr. Benerjee, forgetting his status and rising from his chair to embrace me, cried out loudly, “That’s it! Well done, well done, Valibhai! He is none else but Mirza Ghalib, am I right? Now, I have to honor your prior condition with no any hesitation as I am really one of his admirers. Valibhai, I am very happy beyond words! Really, you gave me an exciting surprise! Thanks, thanks a lot.”
“Exciting surprise? Really! I feel good for your compliment, but still I am going to give you one more surprise while seeing you off!”, I said.
My good Readers, you will have to wait for this ‘one more surprise’ promised to Mr. Banerjee just until before the Part-2 of this Article concludes and I see you off then.
Wish you a nice day, meanwhile
– Valibhai Musa
Dtd.: Sep. 20, 2009
* યાહોમ કરીને પડો ફત્તેહ છે આગે!
September 23, 2008 at 6:15 pm
I read your work and was impressed. Thank you appreciating my Ghalib site.
Astan means “Dehliz” or “Chokhat” Astan is mostly referred to Mausoleum or a shrine. It is like a beggar standing at your door and requesting Alms. Believers of shrine think if they beg at the door of shrine they will be rewarded big. Astan also means threshold; mostly of a shrine. In this Sh’er Ghalib refers all religious places. Dair= a Hindu temple, Haram=Mosque; Dar= door to a religious place; Astan=shrine. Ghalib is unique in consistency. I therefore think all words relate to religious places. Here Dar=door cannot mean a door to tavern or to an ordinary house.
In this Sh’er Ghalib presents a scene when he is sitting by the side of a public street and someone is trying to kick him out. He is challenging that person that he has no authority to move him because he is on a public street not on Dair, Haram, Dar, or Astan where power intoxicated Mullahs or Pandits routinely kick out people under different pretexts. He actually taunts those guardians of religions.
September 23, 2008 at 6:59 pm
I am very sorry that the first comment put by Mr. K.V.Hada and second comment as a reply to him from my end had been deleted with a technical mistake by myself which I could not revive. There was a fair and healthy discussion about the meaning of the word ‘Astan’. Just to conclude the difference of opinion between Karimbhai and myself, I contacted Mr. Asghar Vasanwala whose exclusive blog on Ghalib Saab is available on I-net. You may go to his site by clicking his name in first comment above if you are interested in knowing more about the Shaayar and his entire work.
Interpretation of the word ‘Astan’ worked out by Mr. Vasanwala seems to be the most authentic one and I hope Mr. Karimbhai will fully be satisfied with it. No doubt the dictionary meaning of ‘Astan’ is as ‘thresg-hold’ and in that respect Karimbhai is right, but here both the words ‘Dar’ and ‘Astan are to be understood of Shrine’s not of any residential house.
September 24, 2008 at 12:38 pm
Thank you Valibhai that through our exchange of comments, I could reach to Janab Vasanvala and my favorite Ghalib. I had bought Devan-e-Ghalib before forty years in Devnagari script and I still preserve it. I still remember the serial directed by Guljar and enacted by N.Shah and Ghazals of Ghalib sung by Jagjit. One of the best serials of Doordarshan. I will be obliged if you can send my e-mail id. to J.Vasanvala for posting of his mails on Ghalib to me also. Let us share this one in this context from the legend of Urdu poetry. “Dayam pada raha tere dar per nahiN huN MaiN. Khak aisi jindgi per ke paththar nahi huN maiN.” And yes, the interpretation of Janab Vasanval of those lines is superb and enlightening.