Saturday, October 12, 2013

From ‘Khushwantnama. The Lessons of my Life’ by Khushwant Singh

Na karda gunahon kee bhee hasrat kee miley daad
Ya Rab! Agar in karda gunahon kee zazaa hai.
(For sins I wanted to commit but did not, give me credit
O God, if you must punish me for those I did commit.)

I also follow my role model Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib in his habit of drinking and dining. He took a bath every evening and got into fresh clothes before he fished out his bottle of Scotch whisky, poured out his measure in a tumbler, added scented surahi water to it – and drank in absolute silence while writing immortal couplets in praise of wine and women.

‘Tell me what you eat and I’ll tell you what you are,’ claimed the famous French gastronome, Brillat-Savarin.

Mohammed Rafi Sauda (1713-81), poet laureate of the Mughal court, thought along the same lines:
Fikr-e-maash, ishq-e-butaan, yaad-e-raftgaan
Is zindagi mein ab koi kya kya karey?
(Concern for livelihood, love for women, memories of the past
What else is there left to man in his life?)

Gandhi ….his favourite hymn:
Vaishnavjan toh tainey kaheeye, jo peerh
Paraayee jaaney ray
(I know him as a man of God, who feels
another’s pain.)

As Guru Nanak said:
Suchchon orey sab ko
Ooper Suchh Aachaar
(Truth above all
Above truth truthful conduct)

Khat ghaal kichh hathhon dey
Nanak raah pachchaney sey
(‘He who earns with his own hands and
With his own hands gives some of it away.’
says Nanak, ‘has found the true way.’)

…Edward Young (1681-1756)….
Some, for renown, on scraps of learning
And think they grow immortal as they

There seem to be two reasons for the failure of our intellectuals to change society. One is that all of them write in English, a language that barely 10 per cent of educated Indians can read and comprehend. The masses never get to know about them and what they are saying.

Ghalib ….
Mehrbaan hokey bulaalo  mujhey chaaho jis
Main gayaa vaqt naheen hoon ki phir aa
bhee na sakoon
Have mercy and send for me any time
you so desire;
Time gone is forever gone its true – I
am not time, I can always return
to you.

Faiz Ahmad Faiz ……
Raat yoon dil mein teree khoyee hue yaad aaee
Jaise veeraney mein chupkey sey bahaar aa
Jaisey sahraaon mein hauley sey chaley baad-e-
Jaisey beemar ko bevajah qaraar aa jaaye
Last night the lost memory of you stole
into my mind
Stealthily as spring steals into a wilderness
As on desert wastes a gentle breeze begins
to blow
As in one sick beyond hope, hope begins
to grow.

…Iqbal ….
Baagh-e-bahisht sey mujhey hukm-e safar diya
thha kyon.
Kaar-e-Jahaan daraaz hai, ab mera intezaar kar
(Why did you order me out of the garden
of paradise?
I have a lot left to do; now you wait for me.)

Nishaan-e-mard-e Momin ba too goyam?
Choon marg aayad, tabassum bar lab-e-ost
(You ask me for the signs of a man of
When death comes to him, he has a smile
on his lips.)

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