The poem 'Chirag-e-Dair' or Temple Lamp is an eloquent and vibrant Persian masnavi by Mirza Ghalib. While we quote liberally from his Urdu poetry, we know little of his writings in Persian, and while we read of his love for the city of Delhi, we discover in temple Lamp, his rapture over the spiritual and sensual city of Banaras.
Chiragh-e-dair is being translated directly from Persian into English in its entirety for the first time, with a critical Introduction by Maaz Bin Bilal. It is Mirza Ghalib's pean to Kashi, which he calls Kaaba-e-Hindostan or the Mecca of India.
Dr Maaz Bin Bilal has completed a work of immense importance. During this storm, he has saved the Temple lamp from blowing out. It was Ghalib who called Banaras a temple lamp'. By translating this Persian poem into English, Dr Maaz has unlocked the shores of the rest of the world. -- Gulzar
About the Author
Mirza Ghalib (1797-1869) was one of the greatest Urdu poets who was most well-known for his ghazals. He lived during the reign of the last Mughal king, whose court was the centre of the golden age of Urdu poetry. Chiragh-e Dair is a masnavi he wrote on the city of Banaras en route to Calcutta.
Maaz Bin Bilal is a poet, translator, and academic. His first collection Ghazalnama: Poems from Delhi, Belfast, and Urdu (2019) was shortlisted for the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar. Maaz was the recipient of the Charles Wallace Trust Fellowship in writing and translation in Wales (2018-19) and has also just received the Akademie Schloss Solitude fellowship in writing (2022).