January 10, 2011


May Heaven keep the grandeur of Benaras
Arbour of this meadow of joy;
For oft returning souls -their journey’s end.
In this weary Temple land of the world,
Safe from the whirlwind of Time,
Benaras is forever Spring.

Where autumn turns into the touch of sandal
On fair foreheads,
Springtide wears the sacred thread of flower waves,
And the splash of twilight is the crimson mark
of Kashi’s dust on heaven’s brow.
The Kaaba of Hind;
This conch blowers dell;
Its icons and idols are made of the Light,
That once flashed on Mount Sinai.
These radiant idolations naids,
Set the pious Brahmins afire, when their faces glow
Like moving lamps..on the Ganges banks.

Morning and Moonrise,
My lady Kashi,
Picks up the Ganga mirror
To see her gracious beauty,
Glimmer and shine.
Said I one night to a pristine seer
(who knew the secrets of whirling time)
‘Sir, you will perceive
That goodness and faith, fidelity and love
Have all departed from the sorry land.
Father and son are at each other’s throat;
Brother fights brother.
Unity and federation are undermined.
Despite these ominous signs
Why has doomsday not come?
Why does the Last trumpet not sound?
Who holds the reigns of the final catastrophe?’
The hoary old man of lucent ken
Pointed towards Kashi and gently smiled.
‘The Architect’, he said, is fond of this edifice
Because of which there is colour in life.
He would not like it to perish and fall.’
Hearing this, the pride of Benaras soared to an eminence, untouched by the wings of thought.

- Mirza Ghalib
Translated by Pavan Verma from Ghalib: The Man and the Times Published by Penguin India. Ghalib stayed at Benaras during his way to Kolkata and wrote a 108 couplet long poem in Persian and called it, “chiraaGh-e-dair”.


Shrikrishna Umrikar said...

Dear Sir,
Do you have Ghalib's Charag-e dair in devangri script? If yes please mail it to me


Himanshu Rai said...

I don't have this poem in Devnaagri script. Sorry for that. You can google and can search for it.

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