Monday, 3 November 2014

Ghalib's 81.12

This is a good example of a couplet which is meaningful in Urdu because we unconsciously read things like Sachal Sarmast and Suhuni Mahiwal into its mise en scene, even though this isn't warranted by elite literary taste.
In English, however, the 'melting of the gemis not a cliche at all but transports us to back to cold class-rooms and swotting for a Scholarship.
kishtī-e ʿālam bah t̤ūfān-e taġhāful de kih haiñ
ʿālam-e āb-e gudāz-e jauhar-e afsānah ham

The World as Suhuni's Ark, to Abandonment we hurl
To at Arafat melt into the Gawain poet's pearl

1 comment:

Aarti Sethi said...

Dear Vivek,

I couldn't locate an email address for your so am taking the liberty of posting this as a comment.

Hi, I am one of the editors of You may or may not remember me, we had some pointed interactions a month or so ago. So first, forgive me for not being able to approve your comments. I was (and am) constrained by the modalities of running a online conversation platform.

But as an upshot of this, I was lead to your wonderful blog. And so now I am writing to ask you if you would consider writing a piece for us on anything you like. From your writings on your own blog, its clear you have wide-ranging interests: language, poetry, mathematics, philosophy, social history, philosophy of science. And most exhilarating for me, an extraordinary grasp of classical Tamil, Sanskrit, Urdu, Farsi which very few people do now.

So would you write for us? On anything you like, though only given my own curiosities I would love to hear you on the life of Sanskrit and vernacular languages: on the reading, teaching and thinking with them. Or maybe you would consider sending us one of your "new quatrains" series posts where you read Ghalib?

I really do hope you will consider writing, despite your low opinion of Kafila :) In which case help us by sending us your writing!

Warm regards,