‘Qaid e hayat o band e gham’ – Mirza Ghalib

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Life’s yoked to sorrow, hand in hand go they
So why hope then grief afore death will stay?

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Qaid e hayat o band e gham asal me dono aik hain,
Mout se pehle admi gham se nijat pae kion.

(prison-of-life and bondage-of-grief really both are same
death before-it man sorrow exempt why should be)

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Ghalib sees no distinction betwixt life and suffering. His life was punctuated with tragedies; he lost all seven of his children in their infancy, saw his patron (Bahadur Shah Zafar) sent to die in exile by the British, was a witness to the massacres that followed the 1857 revolt, and struggled with poverty throughout his life. As a result, his poetry is tinged with a melancholic air.

That sorrow is weaved into existence and can only be alleviated by death is a recurring idea in his work.

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*an alternative translation:

Life’s yoked to suffering, together they are bound
Why hope then respite ere death can be found?

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