Children’s Playground (Bazeecha-e-Atfal) – A poem by Mirza Ghalib


Like a child’s sport it is,
the world in front of me…
From each sunlight to the moonlight,
the show happens in front of me.

Desert buries self in dust,
under an influence of me.
Ocean rubs her head in sand
in front of me…

Avoid inquiring, what happened
during your absence to me…
Just feel – how effervescent
you are… in front of me.

My steadfastness holds me,
as wanderlust seduces me…
Behind me is an anchor,
stands a muse in front of me…

Though embrace is lethargic,
eyes still have the spirit.
Let the wine of two worlds,
shower her charms in front of me.

– Dedicated to a playground – the stage of innocent mischievousness – this world happens to be.

Rendition above is by great ghazal singer: Jagjit Singh. Though it’s also performed by other legendary singers like Lata Mangeshkar.

Original words by one of the great Urdu poets – Mirza Ghalib. Perhaps the word great is an understatement for him. He along Rumi, Iqbal and in Urdu world (Faiz, Faraz, Meer and Shakir) rule half of the world already, those who haven’t discovered them yet are often considered to be in an infancy. In this poem Ghalib is en-captivated and engulfed in a state of ecstasy…

baaziichaa-e-atfaal hai duniyaa mere aage
hotaa hai shaboroz tamaashaa mere aage

hotaa hai nihaaN gard men seharaa mere hote
ghisataa hai jabiin Khaak pe dariyaa mere aage

mat puuchh ke kyaa haal hai meraa tere piichhe
tuu dekh ke kyaa rang hai teraa mere aage

imaaN mujhe roke hai jo khiinche hai mujhe kufr
kaabaa mere piichhe hai kaliisaa mere aage

go haath ko jumbish nahiin aaNkhon men to dam hai
rahane do abhii saaGaromiinaa mere aage

Disclosure: As much as this poem’s translation is out my sheer love for it, this also happened as a result of a request made by Miss Maqsood. Who quite fittingly happens to be a real Nawaab.

More Couplets:

Elevated throne of the Solomon,
is like an amusement to me.
Quite typical are divinity’s
miracles in front of me.

Of nothing but a name,
universe earns an embrace of me.
Of nothing but an appearance,
the existence in front of me.

Truth you speak, I’m proud,
happens a self-adorer in me.
Happens too that an idol is sitting
having a mirror-face in front of me.

See, how my expression
turns dipped into honey.
Just as one puts a goblet
of red wine in front of me.

Passing me as a hater,
when just an envy indulges me.
Why would I say not
tell tale, in front of me.

Lover I am, infecting
the charmed is natural in me.
Even Juliet defames
the Romeo in front of me.

One doesn’t embrace death,
though the union enchants me…
Came solicitation for an eve
of detachment in front of me.

A flood of blood – that’s it
I wish, the eagerness in me.
Yet, it’s to see what does
materialize now in front of me…

Same trade, similar nature,
a confidant is the one for me.
Why curse the “influence” (Ghalib),
good it is, in front of me.

– Translation completed. I hope I’ve done justice… though I know deep down that’s not possible when it comes to Ghalib.

13 thoughts on “Children’s Playground (Bazeecha-e-Atfal) – A poem by Mirza Ghalib

  1. Oh you did it soon. Thanks 🙂
    I just love this Ghazal, I have been commenting the same thing on every Ghazal-post but whatever this one’s Chicha Ghalib’s how can you not like his work.Its so hard to choose a fav couplet here . And you did a great job with the translation. Really Masha’Allah.
    As I have said earlier you make poetry and translation seem so easy.
    Ah you had to share Jagjit Singh’s rendition, he happens to occupy a soft spot in my heart.

    “Who quite fittingly happens to be a real Nawaab.” LOL pata nahi kya nawaabi dikha. Anyhow Thank you for the translation. 🙂

    • Undoubtedly, no one who admires poetry and knows Urdu can ever avoid loving Mirza Ghalib. This ghazal is no exception. With its complexity, and state in which it’s written and presented – It’s marvelous.
      I’m updating it with more couplets… so keep checking…
      Jagjit Singh is of course great – undeniably a legend. Specially when his work is plenty, massively popular and hence easily available. Yet, when it comes to ghazals, I rank him 3rd. The top two positions in my heart are occupied by Ghulam Ali and Mehdi Hassan saheb. 🙂
      Even if you didn’t act like a Nawaabi, I incidentally related you to your family name/ ancestor’s tribe, by instantly fulfilling your request. 😉

      • Sure 🙂
        Hmm…ofcourse Ghulam Ali and Mehdi Hassan Saheb are great legends and I agree with your ranking but Jagjit Singh will occupy the soft spot mainly coz it was through him that I was introduced into Ghazal-land and many more other reasons to give him the spot. 🙂

      • Aha! Kya bolun… I have no words to express. I might siund weird saying this but Ghalib’s work makes me laugh, good humored laugh. He is soo witty n sarcastic n charming at the same time that I cant help but laugh n envy him. As its rightly said ” hain dunya mein aur bhi sukhanwar bahut ache,
        Kehte hain Ghalib ka andaz-e-bayan hai aur” 🙂
        As usual great job with the translation. Thank You once again for doing it 🙂

      • Yes. Sarcasm, black humor, witty remarks, double entendre… he really has something special for everyone… An intricate style of weaving things together indeed. 🙂
        This liberal translation was entirely a pleasure of mine.
        Thanks to you for steering me in this way… 🙂
        I recall, Maria (RandomlyAbstract) did something very similar not far ago and I did a translation spree on ghazals sung by Ghulam Ali saheb. Which I see that you and others are thankfully already enjoying 🙂

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