Friday 6 May 2016

Har zarre par ek kaifiyat-e-neemshabi hai  –
 Ai Saaqi-e- dauraan yeh gunahon ki ghadi hai
                                            - Firaq Gorakhpuri
In a marvel of condensation this sher (couplet) reflects the transitional age through which India is passing, from fuedal society to a modern industrial society. At present we are neither totally feudal nor totally modern, but partly both.
. Zarra means particle, kaifiyat means condition, e means of, neem means half, and shab means night. So the first line in the couplet literally means
“Every particle is in a condition of half night”.
Urdu poetry is often to be understood figuratively, not literally. So this line really means that (in the transitional age) everything is in flux, neither night nor day, neither the old order nor the new. Also, in the middle of the night if we get up we are dazed, in a state of mental confusion, and so are people in a transitional age.
In the second line, saaqi is the girl who fills the wine cup, but she is also the person to whom one can confide the innermost thoughts in one’s mind. The poet is imagining a girl, to whom he is describing the features of the transitional era.
Yeh gunahon ki ghadi hai’, i.e. it is the time of sin. In this transitional age it is a ‘gunahon ki ghadi’ from both points of view. From the point of view of people of the old, feudal order it is a sin to marry according to your choice, and particularly outside one’s caste or religion, it is a sin to give education to women, it is a sin to treat everyone as equal.
At the same time, from the point of view of modern minded people the caste system is a sin, denying education to girls is a sin, and love marriage is quite acceptable. Thus old and new ideas are battling with each other in the transitional age.
 This state of affairs is likely to continue in India for another 10-20 years., after which a modern just social order will be created, in which everyone will get a decent life, i.e. employment, proper education and healthcare, nutritious food, etc

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