Ghalib's Paradise: Humko Maloom Hai Jannat Ki Haqiqat - Ghazal and Translation

I was thinking of this couplet from Mirza Ghalib when I read a quote about hell by Dostoervsky: 

Humko  Maloom  Hai   Jannat  Ki  Haqiqat   Lekin
Dil Ke Bahlaane Ko, 'Ghalib' Yeh Khayaal Achcha Hai

I know the reality of heaven 
but it is a good distraction for the heart

In the past I have written about poet's and philosophers' perspectives on heaven. Mirza Ghalib's take on this is one of my favorite.  It makes fun of heaven but also accepts it in the same couplet. Its beautiful!

Translation of the full ghazal is here. There are two other translations I found useful. One is by Professor Pritchett and another by urdustuff. Some of the couplets were sung by Jagjit Singh for the TV series on Mirza Ghalib:

Husn-E-Mah, Garche Ba-Hangaam-E-Kamaal Achcha Hai
Uss Se Mera Mah-E-Khursheed-E-Jamaal Achcha Hai

[ mah = moon, KHursheed = sun, jamaal = beauty ]

The beauty of the full moon is good
but my moon with sun's beauty is better

Bosa Dete Nahin Aur Dil Pe Hai Har Lahza Nigaah
Jee Mein Kehte Hain, Muft Aaye To Maal Achcha Hai

[ bosa = kiss ]

My love won't give me a kiss, but keeps an eye on my heart
Keeps reminding himself that goods that are free are better

Aur Baazaar Se Le Aaye Agar Toot Gaya
Saaghar-E-Jam Se Mera Jaam-E-Sifaal Achcha Hai

[ saaGHar-e-jam = Badshah Jamshed's cup, jaam-e-sifaal = clay cup ]

If it is broken, why don't you get another one from the market
From the cup of Jamshed, my clay cup is better!

Be-Talab Dein To Maza Uss Mein Siwa Milta Hai
Woh Gada Jis Ko Na Ho Khoo-E-Sawaal Achcha Hai

[be-talab = without any enquiry, gada = beggar, KHoo = habit ]

If one receives without asking, the pleasure is doubled
The beggar who is not in the habit of asking is better

Unke Dekhe Se Jo Aa Jaati Hai Munh Par Raunaq
Woh Samajhte Hain Ke Beemaar Ka Haal Achcha Hai

On seeing my love my face brightens
And they think the sick man is well

Dekhiye Paate Hain Ushshaaq Buton Se Kya Faiz
Ik Birahaman Ne Kaha Hai, Ke Yeh Saal Achcha Hai

[ ushshaaq = lovers, faiz = profit ]

Let's see what profits statues bring lovers
A pundit has said that this year will be better.

Ham-Sukhan Teshe Ne Farhaad Ko Sheereen Se Kiya
Jis Tarah Ka Bhi Kisi Mein Ho Kamaal Achcha Hai

[ ham_suKHan = together, tesha = axe ]
An axe brought Farhaad and Sheeren together
However a masterstroke is brought about is good!

Qatra Dariya Mein Jo Mil Jaaye To Dariya Ho Jaaye
Kaam Achchaa Hai Woh, Jiska Ma'aal Achcha Hai

A drop goes into the river and becomes the river
Whatever brings about a good result is good

Khijr Sultaan  Ko Rakhe Khaaliq-E-Akbar Sar-Sabz
Shaah Ke Baagh Mein  Yeh Taaza Nihaal Achcha Hai

[ KHijr SultaaN = one of Badshah Zafar's son, KHaaliq = The Creator/
God, akbar = greatest, sar_sabz = fertile, nihaal = tree ]

May the protector keep the prince (Khizr Sultan) flourishing
In the King's garden this new sapling is good

Ham Ko  Ma'aloom  Hai   Jannat  Ki  Haqeeqat   Lekin
Dil Ke Bahlaane Ko, 'Ghalib' Yeh Khayaal Achcha Hai

I know the reality of heaven but
it is a good idea to lure the heart

Another one: 

I know the reality of heaven 
but it is a good distraction for the heart

Some of the vocabulary: 

[ ma'aal = result ]


  1. Deepest regards for this translation

  2. Shivpreet Betaa (I take that liberty, because I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your voice and how you have sung our Gurus’ Baani! And I am considerably older than you!! 😇):

    You have the incorrect She’r … THIS is the Correct She’r:

    “Ham ko ma.alūm haiJjannat kī Haqīqat, LEKIN!
    Dil ke ḳhush rakhne ko, 'Ghālib' yeh ḳhayāl achchhā hai!!”

    1. iPhone error - Jannat … NOT Jjannat!!