Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi : A poetic translation.

Hazaaron Khwaishen Aisi is the Anthem of the ghazal buff. Everyone that reads Ghalib and Urdu sher has a translation. To some it’s philosophy (where inexplicably, the beloved is god, and the winestore is “nirvana”. ) to others it’s drunk poetry where , as the poet goes deeper into the ghazal it becomes bloodier and filled with morose thoughts of self mutilation and pain(..funerals…death…last breath….).

This is an attempt to translate the poetry, and it tuns out all is well in the romance.

Edited in later : I’m adding the literal translation of the words, when they differ significantly from my poetic translation , below, in smaller font.)


(The clip above is from the serial “Mirza Ghalib” Gulzar directs, Naseerudin Shah acts, Jagjit Singh Sings the Ghazal)

hazaaro.n Khvaahishe.n aisii ki har Khvaaish pe dam nikale
bahut nikale mere armaa.N lekin phir bhii kam nikale

There are thousands of ambitions that each such wish could consume my life

My desires , and I experience them all intensely, aren’t enough for this one lifetime.

Dare kyuu.N meraa qaatil kyaa rahegaa usakii gardan par
vo Khuu.N jo chashm-e-tar se umr bhar yuu.N dam-ba-dam nikale

so don’t cry , my love, you didn’t cause this pain


It was my fault that I fell so intensly in love with you.

(why does my murderer fear that hangs around her neck,the consequence of the blood that gushes down from my head’s bloody wound )

nikalanaa Khuld se aadam kaa sunate aaye hai.n lekin
bahut be-aabaruu hokar tere kuuche se ham nikale

Of the(unclean* ) birth of man, from the womb, one has heard

but you must see my rebirth when I passed shamelessly by your door!

bharam khul jaaye zaalim tere qaamat kii daraazii kaa
agar is turraa-e-purapech-o-Kham kaa pech-o-Kham nikale


The beauty of your flowing, offending, tresses can be fully exposed/experiened

only when I let down my hair (proper attitudes) as I would open my turban.


magar likhavaaye koii usako Khat to hamase likhavaaye
huii subah aur ghar se kaan par rakkhar qalam nikale

( for a long while), I wanted no more than that I get to write the poetic letters

your many admires make me write to you,

( i went each day, like to work , with a pen behind my ear)


huii is daur me.n ma.nsuub mujhase baadaa-ashaamii

phir aayaa vo zamaanaa jo jahaa.N se jaam-e-jam nikale

and I was acquainted with such intoxication during this period(of knowing you), my love

that the world , after ,  appeared  passionless and dry.

huii jinase tavaqqo Khastagii kii daad paane kii
vo hamase bhii ziyaadaa Khastaa-e-teG-e-sitam nikale

I wandered looking for sympathy (to god)

who was himself , it turned out,was  lovesick for you

muhabbat me.n nahii.n hai farq jiine aur marane kaa
usii ko dekh kar jiite hai.n jis kaafir pe dam nikale

then for me, there was no difference between living and dying

and I lived , each last breath looking at you (the infidel) from afar,


zara kar jor siine par ki tiir-e-pursitam nikale
jo vo nikle to dil nikale jo dil nikale to dam nikale

I then steeled myself and  prised out the arrow of cupid from my heart


so that when it left, it took my heart with it, and with it, my last breath.

Khudaa ke vaaste pardaa na kaabe se uThaa zaalim
Kahii.n aisaa na ho yaa.N bhii vahii kaafir sanam nikale

but now you come back to me, and ask me to lift your veil(marriage for the moslems),

Stop!  because you may find me as unfaitful(as you once were) in love..

(for god’s sake do not take off the veil that covers the Ka’aba. lest it turn out that in there i might find my unfaithful love)


Kahaa.N maiKhaane ka daravaazaa ‘Ghalib’ aur kahaa.N vaaiz

par itanaa jaanate \nhai.n kal vo jaataa thaa ke ham nikale


And now my love, that we have  both been love sick like this , I wonder

Where were those days of intoxication, and what is this call to faith


(it’s like we’re in revolving doors..You now want me to be married and faithful, when at one point I would have been nothing but that, from my intoxication! )


How can you compare the door to the winery with the drug store? yet it’s true that when he went, I was saved)


hazaaro.n Khvaahishe.n aisii ki har Khvaaish pe dam nikale
bahut nikale mere armaa.N lekin phir bhii kam nikale

All these desires now drive my heart

and I could die of each

that no matter how much I suffer from them,

it’s still not enough .



About rameshram

Name : Ramesh Ram... Email Address : Cdrakenc@gmail.com (don't even ask) Blog: (never updated) http://ramesh.journalspace.com Height/ Weight: 6'1 175 (varies between 160 and 185) Color of hair/ eyes black/ brown Bald? Nope (not yet, but give me 20 years.) Interests: Film (Bollywood/international indie), Travel (Germany/Japan/Central America/Sout/east/west Asia/ Northern Africa), Gizmo geek, Clubbing... What do I like in a good movie?: Women, Music, Auters, Special effects, Style. What do I like in a bad movie?: Women, Music, Auters, Special effects, Style. Favorite Critic: International: Bazin Domestic: J Hobermann Indian : me. (noone else comes close ...India or here..) Best quality: Humility. Outspokenness. Warmth Worst quality: Intolerence Favorite color : Yellow Black Blue Favorite Perfume : men: Grey Flannel(Geoffery Beene) Women: Celine dion: Obsession Boxers / briefs : Boxers Did I inhale: And how! Author: Marquiz, Rushdie, Murakami, Jong Last Book: The Ethical Slut by Dossie Easton, Catherine A. Liszt Music : Patricia Kass, Alejandro Sanz,Nina Simone, Amir Diab Sports person: uh..me? What am I usually in : White briefs and tees. Chianti or Burgandy: Chianti Food: French Japanese(street/fast food). Saw and liked: No Country for old men, Lust Caution Saw and disliked: Nishabd Didnt see: Aaja Nach le. Call me: Write me first.
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31 Responses to Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi : A poetic translation.

  1. beautiful. I wish I’m fluent in Urdu/Hindi…

  2. rameshram says:

    thx..Its not a word for word translation, but poetic urdu and japanese , you should always go for the essential meaning, and not the literal one.

  3. Sunita says:

    Wow ..thts beautiful

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is a bad translation ! – you are extrapolating a lot and trying to imply “your” meaning into the ghazal.

  5. anuraag chaturvedi says:

    yes its quit well thanks . but i think you could well then that.

  6. Nisha says:

    You are way off for lots of lines. you didn’t get the meaning right. Check this site, the guy is verbose but has done a much better job.

  7. Tushar says:

    This is Bad Bad and Bad translation.
    Of the(unclean* ) birth of man, from the womb, one has heard

    but you must see my rebirth when I passed shamelessly by your door!

    (why does my murderer fear that hangs around her neck,the consequence of the blood that gushes down from my head’s bloody wound )

    It looks like this person does not know much about Gazals. Please do not do the job which you do not know.

    • rameshram says:

      hmm ok let’s indulge you for a second…

      “vo Khuu.N jo chashm-e-tar se umr bhar yuu.N dam-ba-dam nikale” translates literally to what I ve written in the parenthesis.

      vo khun = that blood
      jo chasm e tar =which from (my/the) crown
      umr bhar = all my? her? life
      yun dam badam nikle = flows (like this) pulsatingly.

      Dare kyuu.N meraa qaatil kyaa rahegaa usakii gardan par
      dare kyun = should (she) be afraid?
      mere kaatil = my murderer
      kya rahega uski gardan par = that it will be hung around her neck.

      since that is the literal meaning it is in parenthesis. my more figurative translation is out there above it.

      I challenge you , tushar , to point out WHY my translation is bad. I doubt if you can do it. merely calling it a “bad bad” translation does not cut it. you need to also do the hard work of showing us where there was mistranslation. (showed you, for example that you didn’t know what you were talking about when you criticised the”dare kyun line).

  8. Jai says:

    Chashm is eyes yaar. That is what makes me think twice about your translation. chashm-e-tar – denotes tears.

    • rameshram says:

      Thanks for catching that.! of course Chasm is eyes! chasm -e -tar is the “star from my eyes” or tears! (so the metaphor here is : “my tears flow as blood” for khoon chasm e taar dam badam nikle ) 🙂

  9. MEENA says:

    Its soooo beautiful and touching…..

  10. farah says:

    hiiiii read ur translation but there is this one stanza which i think u either translate properly…
    nikalanaa Khuld se aadam kaa sunate aaye hai.n lekin
    bahut be-aabaruu hokar tere kuuche se ham nikale

    Galib here refers to the story of adam being ousted from heaven, as per Quran. So he is referring to his return from his beloved’s house to be worse than Adam’s ousting.

    • rameshram says:

      Oh I was aware of that meaning, I decided to translate that line with a more personal meaning for adam and khuld. like I said in the title, this is more a poetic translation than a strictly literal one.

  11. Redwan says:

    as said previously brother, you are implying your own logic to the ghazal rather than the point of view of Ghalib

  12. Redwan says:

    Because what farah said was actually literal along with a poetic effect, the reason why Ghalib used khuld and adam (pbuh) example so as to imply that he passed out in a more disrespectful way from the lane of his beloved than from the womb of Eve (may peace be upon her)

    • rameshram says:

      disrespectful…of eve? oh sure I guess my translation can be construed as being disrespectful of eve, that was my intention in translating those lines like that.

      and redwan, this seems to be where there is some confusion in your mind: The Literal(and ghalib?) translation would be “I have heard of the removal of adam from the garden of eden(in disgrace) , but it was nothing compared to my shameless removal from your front yard” I had translated it as ” we have heard of the (unclean) birth of man from the womb of woman, but it doesn;t compare to my rebirth when I passed through your front yard”.

  13. froZENwell says:

    I do not understand the comments more that I understand the posts. What the hey! It is his translation and perception of the poem. Ghalib would’ve shot dead himself (and I would’ve if I were him!) if people just stuck to the literal meaning and did not work to go beyond it! You can take poetic liberties anytime you feel like. There is nothing wrong in translating something in the way you see it. Thank God for us, we all have our opinions about things; and that itself is so awesome about the whole life thing- we can be we!

    People analysing the post as if it is a sin, probably they must read the first part of the post that says it is “my” poetic translation. How can anybody’s poetry be wrong? Getting entangled again, even in the literal meaning of this post, foolishness, if you will.

    Pothi padh padh jag mua, pandit bhaya na koi dhaai aakkhar prem ke padhe so pandit hoye- St. Kabir

  14. bhavesh jain. says:

    just to pleasing to know the translations.,…be in touch sir….

  15. Zero says:

    Khuld is a Dari/Faris word for heaven and Adam is Hazrat Aadam. It refers to the story of Adam being thrown out of heaven for eating the forbidden fruit. Here he says that as humiliating as that was, me being rejected and walking away from your door wasn’t any less humiliating.

  16. Abhijeet says:

    Interpretation of a Gazal could be different from person to person and from situation to situation. It also depends on state of mind of a person.
    Hence one has to understand the words written in the Gazal to murder himself/herself.
    Every time I listen to a Gazal, I find it new, afresh. That’s the greatness.
    I cannot describe how beautiful the Gazal is……………….

  17. Satadru says:

    This is a beautiful poetry and what a wonderful translation! I am not well versed in Urdu but I am a crazy fan of Ghalib and so try to explain the verses in my own way. I have just a couple of minor suggestions for two couplets. I am giving the couplets and below them my translations. Just tell me if you think that they too make sense.

    “Nikalna khuld se aadam ka soonte aaye hain lekin
    Bahot be-aabru hokar tere kooche se hum nikle”

    > We know how helpless and possession-less a child of man is when he comes out of the womb
    But I was even more broke than that when I came out of your doors.

    “Kahaan maikhane ka darwaaza Ghalib aur kahaan vaaiz
    Par itna jaantay hain kal voh jaata tha ke ham nikle”

    > This intoxication (of love) is not suitable for a sage, Ghalib
    But I know of a sage who used to go to a bar every day, and I am what is left of him.

    • bhushan says:

      thanx satadru i am bhushan thanx for giving this translation ,i am also fan of galib’s sher but don’t understand meaning of it ,do u have collection of translation of galib’s sher/shayari/gazal in hindi as u mention above or any site name where translation is given so that w can enjoy , pls mail me at diwali74@yahoo.in or bushu75@gmail.com

  18. Kanchan says:

    First few sentences really caught my attention.The thoughts have been expressed very nicely . I love philosophy and knows that our perspective and interpretation of things changes with age (actually with experience; it could change in a day too).

  19. shashankmsp says:

    Reblogged this on shashankmsp and commented:
    Good share

  20. Prof Khan says:

    I disagree with a lot of it… I do understand that this is your “Poetic” view. But let me add just one critique here.

    The line about khuld and Adam is completely misunderstood. This is because you disregarded the words before it. He said “SunTay aaye Haine..”, referring to the story Muslims and even some other Abrahamic religion hear a lot through their childhood about the disgrace of Adam. If your translation was correct it would imply every one hears a lot about the birth of a child and it’s helplessness… definitely not the case here. No one tells this to any one!

    • rameshram says:

      Thanks Prof Khan,

      It is your right to disagree, As I said, I was concentrating on the poetic integrity of the piece more than the literal word for word translation , which I’m sure you will find everywhere on the web.

      There are a couple of reasons the Adam-eden, womb man analogy made sense (and hence the use of the word “unclean” which seems to have ticked you off. The first is that the word “adam” both means the first man created in the garden of eden , as well as “man”(generic). Also, “NIKALNA”. to me was very evocative of birth. So to my mind, using the parelell metaphor of both Adam-eden, and Birth-man made sense.

      Also Islam, like Christianity and Judaism DOES subscribe to the concept of original sin of adam, To my mind, the “nclean birth of man” referred BOTH to the actual birth of a child, AS WELL AS the birth of Adam as a man from Original sin when he was removed from the garden of eden.(with shame)

      Now, is the mention of original sin an implication that “everyone hears a lot about the birth of a child and its helplessness” perhaps …but there was nothing in my translation that indicated that I or Ghalib said this. However, it is some kind of self deception to think a poet of the delhi court who lived in the mid 18th century , was somehow incapable of imagining the birth of a child in his poetic metaphors.

      As regards “Sunte aaye hain” i HAVE addressed it in my translation..

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