Zafar’s Lament

Sometime ago while chatting with a friend I remembered the famous ghazal written (supposedly) by the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Na Kisi Ki Aakh ka Noor Hu. I went on to do some bit of internet fuelled research the same evening, during my long & arduous bus journey back home. But first a bit about this ghazal.

The ghazal in itself is a lament brimming with pathos & personifies self-pity & tragedy, as we will see below. Anyone with a little knowledge about Bahadur Shah Zafar would know the tragic circumstances & the cruel manner in which the British exiled him. If you remember that while listening to this ghazal, it fits, perfectly. Add to that the voice of Rafi (I listened to the ghazal from the film Laal Quila). So much so, that the former President late APJ Abdul Kalam visited Zafars tomb and even responded to Zafar’s lament.

Anyway the aforementioned research led me to a news item which attributes this wonderful ghazal to one Muztar Khairabadi who himself was an accomplished poet.

In my very very personal opinion, I will continue to attribute this ghazal to Bahadur Shah Zafar. For me, this isnt just a lament of a reluctant King but also that of the old & aged of a nation. I have also noted many versions on the internet. I am going ahead and appending only the film version & its translation below.

न किसी की आँख का नूर हूँ न किसी के दिल का क़रार हूँ

जो किसी के काम न आ सके मैं वो एक मुश्‍त-ए-गुब़ार हूँ

नूर, Noor: Bright, Light, Luminescence, Luster, Refulgence

करार, Qaraar: Ease, Patience, Quietude, Repose, Residence Rest, Satisfaction, Stability

मुश्त-ए-गुबार, Musht-e-Gubaar:handful of dust

न तो मैं किसी का हबीब हूँ न तो मैं किसी का रकीब हूँ

जो बिगड़ गया वो नसीब हूँ जो उजड गया वो दयार हूँ

हबीब, Habib: Beloved, Sweetheart, Comrade, Friend

रकीब, Raqiib: Rival, Competitor, Opponent, Enemy

बिगड़ा, Bigda: Bad, Spoilt, Wry

नसीब, Naseeb: Destiny, Fortune, Fate, Lot, Quota

उजड, Ujad: Ruined, destroyed

दयार, Dayaar: Place, Residence

मेरा रंग रूप बिगड़ गया मेरा यार मुझसे बिछड़ गया

जो चमन ख़िज़ाँ से उजड़ गया मैं उसी की फ़स्ल-ए-बहार हूँ

बिछड़ना, Bicharna:To be separated, parted, divided, to separate, part, go asunder; to be sprained; to turn away or aside (from); to slip, slide

चमन, Chaman: Flower Garden, Flower Bed, A Blooming or Flourishing Place

फिजा, Fizaa: Atmosphere, Environment

फसल-इ-बहार, Fasl-e-bahaar: The season of flowers, the spring

पए फ़ातिहा कोई आए क्यूँ कोई चार फूल चढ़ाए क्यूँ

कोई आ के शम्मा जलाए क्यूँ मैं वो बे-कसी का मज़ार हूँ

फातिहा, Fatiha: Commencement, first part (of a thing); exordium;–the opening chapter, or exordium, of the Qorʼān, prayers for the dead; prayers offered up in the name of saints

शमा, Shama: Lamp, Candle

बेकसी, Bekasii: Despair, Helplessness

मज़ार, Mazaar: Mausoleum, Shrine, Tomb, Grave

Translated as:

Neither am I the light of anyones eye

Nor am I the solace of anyones heart

I am a useless, fistful of dirt.
Neither am I dear to anyone

Nor do I have any enemies

I am the fate that is ruined

A land thats destroyed
My beauty & complexion are ravaged

My love has been separated from me

I am the spring crop of a garden that got ruined last autumn.
why should anyone come to pray here

why should anyone come to offer flowers

why should anyone come to light a candle

I am the tomb of that destitution.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.