Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ghalib and Science

Mr Syed Hasan Shahid Rizvi, who has retired ans Senior Scientific Officer from Physics Department of AMU, used to say that Ghalib was a physicists.
You got to know his take - why does he think that?
There is phrase in one of Ghalib's ghazals - Ya Ilahi ye majrah kya hai, O God what is this matter?
Bingo! That is science.
To be pedantic Ghalib was not pondering on the properties of matter but the things that will rightfully belong to psychological and social matters - if not spiritual. Let us take the full couplet

Hum hain mushtaq aur woh bezar
Ya Ilahi ye majrah kya hai?

I am eager and he (or she) indifferent
What's this matter O God!

There goes physics and science in general out of it. But when you are bent upon putting science in it then it is a different matter altogether. In fact there is a well accepted principle in literary criticism that it is not necessary that a poets knows all the aspects of his work! there you go.

Real scientific matters are dry. Be it Physics or Chemistry, Zoology or Botany. Things get exciting here and there in a different way but by and large the vocation of science is an ascetic profession. There are many people who try to make it interesting for sake of communication, and this is good, but so many times they end up in a situation in which they cease to be convincing to their own colleagues.

In poetry there may be shades of all emotions but joy is supposed to be the core of it. There will be boring exceptions but that is it - these are boring. Hence we end up in a situation where we have two, by and large, disconnected disciplines of life - poetry and science.

Over and out.

Now we can add some thing from Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Kayee baar is ki khaatir zarre zarre kaa jigar cheerah
Magar ye chashm-e-hairaN hai ke is ki hairani nahin jaati

So many times, for the sake of it, atoms were split
But this curiosity (of mine) is all the same unsatisfied

Now that is science.
And that is religion also. You are left amazed at the intricacies of the world around you and you start agreeing that the ink of the oceans will be over before the descriptions of the wonders of Allah(SWT) can be described even if the oceans are filled with ink seven times.