I have been interested in Shayri from early childhood. Things that rhymed just fascinated me. Then as I grew up the interest grew and I began to get the meaning and emotion behind the sher's, even the non-rhyming ones. Now after years and years of enjoying Urdu Shayri I have come to realize that not only do I enjoy reading or listening to shayri, I also enjoy explaining the sher's to those friends who don't understand that much Urdu even though they are interested in Shayri.
I have done some posts where I posted a sher and then explained it but mostly for my English-speaking readers. It occurred to me that I could do a series of posts for kind of teaching this sort of thing. But I was afraid it might come off as patronizing or showing off my knowledge. Recently, it was pointed out to me that my readers might enjoy that kind of posts. People who like Urdu shayri but haven't had the background to understand a lot of it are not in minority. And modest as I am, even I have to admit that my knowledge of shayri is above average at least. :)
So, here we go, take from it what you like, but I am going to do a series of posts where I'll post from my favourite sher's and explain their meaning including the deeper meaning as I see it.
Let's tackle a nice ghazal today, one of my very favourites. The name of the shayar is खुमार बाराबंकवी, a famour shayar with many very popular ghazals to his credit.
हाले-दिल उनको सुनाते जाइए
शर्त ये है मुस्कुराते जाइए
Translation: When you pour your heart out to her, the condition is that you keep smiling.
Meaning. Haale-dil, the things that are in your heart, when a lover wants to tell this to his beloved, it's usually things like "I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't live without you" etc. etc. So, the shayar says that when you tell her all this, keep a smile on your face. Why? Because you want to keep her interested, and you want to put on a brave front, because nobody likes a whiner.
आप को जाते न देखा जाएगा
शम्मा को पहले बुझाते जाइए
Translation: I cannot see you go, so please douse the candle before you go.
Meaning: The Urdu shayri deals in very delicate emotions. Shayar says that I cannot bear to see you go, so douse the candle so that it's dark when you leave. The implication is that even though I know you are leaving, and I know I cannot stop you, at least I will not have to see you walk out of my life. Anyone who has ever said goodbye to a loved one would understand this sentiment.
And this was the first sher I ever heard from this ghazal:
दुश्मनों से प्यार होता जाएगा
दोस्तों को आजमाते जाइए
Translation: You will start falling in love with your enemies when you start testing your friends.
Meaning: This is a cynical sher. The shayar is talking about the ways of the world that once you start testing your friends you will find that you cannot rely upon them and it might sour you on your friends, making you love your enemies more. As I said it's a very cynical sher but unfortunately bears a grain of truth and I think we can all understand from our own experiences where the poet is coming from.
The last sher, the Makta as it is called, contains the name of the shayar. When I told Fazil the above sher, he told me the next one, and the name of the poet.
रौशनी महदूद हो जिनकी "खुमार"
उन चिरागों को बुझाते जाइए
Translation: The shayar says that we should douse the lamps that have a limited circle of light.
Meaning: The purpose of a lamp is to give light, and the purpose of a human being is to do good. But those lamps whose circle of light is very limited (mehdood comes from हद which means limit) or the people who do good things only to help themselves or their family, are useless in this world, their existence is meaningless. The implication here is that we should be selfless and generous to all our fellow beings and should encourage that kind of culture in the world.
I have deliberately selected a relatively easy to understand ghazal for this post. In the future I will tackle progressive more complicated language and concepts.
I will wait for your comments to know if this was useful at all.