Ye Gham Kya Dil Ki Aadat Hai? Nahin Toh (Jaun Elia)


As I watched the 1982 film Bazaar starring Smita Patil, Naseeruddin Shah, Farooq Shaikh and Supriya Pathak with my Mum, I couldn’t help but wonder how being born in a certain kind of family in our country could make such a difference. Especially, to a girl.

If you find the time, do watch it for its fantastic performances and screenplay.

It’s got nothing much to do with this beautiful poem penned by Jaun Elia sahab, but I heard several renditions of this online and I wanted to put a face to the phrase “nahin toh” which is repeated several times over in this poem.

In our ‘Indian ways of things’, ‘nahin toh’ could mean a lot of things given its context. It could mean subtle denial. Or inquisitive refusals.

It’s a way of asking a question, without really asking one. No?
The number of times I would have done that in life = 0/0

Imagine if someone asks you if you nurture your obsession with heartache (and the answer is yes), how would you respond?

यह गम क्या दिल की आदत है?
नहीं तो

My answer to that would be:

Isn’t that beautiful?

Isn’t she?

PS. LOVED this little, heartfelt video put together about Jaun by Parth Vasani. His voice made me feel like I was sitting in a warm blanket on a cold Delhi winter morning, sipping a hot cup of adrak-tulsi chai.
Yes, it did.

For this poem, skip to 6.06! But watch the rest anyway!

Ye Gham Kya Dil Ki Aadat Hai? Nahin Toh.


Ye gham kya dil aadat hai?

Nahin toh.

Is the perpetual sadness a little habit that your heart has cultivated?
-No.. not at all.


Kisi se kuch shikaayat hai?

Nahin toh.

Do you harbour any regrets in your heart?

Hai wo ek ik khwaab-e-be-taabeer isko
Bhula dene ki neeyat hai?

Nahin toh.

You know that it is an impossible dream
Do you have any intentions to forget it?

-Well.. no.


Kisi ke bin, kisi ki yaad ke bin
Jeeye jaane ki himmat hai?

Nahin toh.

Are you willing to live, if at all,
Without the one, without that one’s memories?

-No.. no, I’m not


Kisi soorat bhi dil lagta nahi?
Toh kuch din se ye haalat hai?

Nahin toh.

No one person can fix you, yes?
And has this been the case for a while?

-Nope. Not at all.


Tere iss haal par hai sabko hairat
Tujhe bhi ispar hairat hai?

Nahin toh.

Everyone is shocked to see you like this
Are you?

-No.. no, I’m not.


Wo darveshi jo taj kar aa gaya.. tu
Ye daulat uski keemat hai?

Nahin toh.

The world you left behind, along with the poverty
Is this wealth worth the price you’re paying for it?



Hua jo kuch yahi maqsoom tha kya?
Yahi saari hiqaayat hai?

Nahin toh.

Everything that happened.. was it fate afterall?
Is that the story?

-No.. it isn’t.

Aziyat naak ummeedon se tujhko
Aman paane ki hasrat hai?

Nahin toh..

Do you really wish for peace
From those who are agonized and tortured?

-No.. no, I don’t. I don’t.


Jaun Elia




यह गम क्या दिल की आदत है?

नहीं तो

किसी से कुछ शिकायत है?

नहीं तो

है वो इक ख्वाब-ए-बे-ताबीर इसको
भुला देने की नीयत है?

नहीं तो

किसी के बिन किसी की याद के बिन
जिए जाने की हिम्मत है ?

नहीं तो

किसी सूरत भी दिल लगता नहीं?
तो कुछ दिन से यह हालत हैं?

नहीं तो

तेरे इस हाल पर है सब को हैरत
तुझे भी इस पर हैरत है?

नहीं तो

वो दरवेशी जो तज कर आ गया.. तू
यह दौलत उस की क़ीमत है?

नहीं तो

हुआ जो कुछ यही मक़्सूम था क्या?
यही सारी हकायत है ?

नहीं तो

अज़ीयत नाक उम्मीदों से तुझको
अमन पाने की हसरत है?

नहीं तो


2 thoughts on “Ye Gham Kya Dil Ki Aadat Hai? Nahin Toh (Jaun Elia)

Add yours

  1. Kahan se laye wo saliqa, wo tar tar dil,
    jo hume Jaun ko samajhne ka shaoor de…

    Shukriya Prachii…Thanks for putting this beautiful island of a blog..Shukriya..


  2. Jaun Elia has always been a favourite of mine. Loved the translation because it is so perfect and captures the mood beautifully! Prachi you always have the loveliest ghazals to share and really love that about your blog and this one is also a gem. The YouTube video was also quite charming and will really help people connect with Jaun Elia if they haven’t heard of him before. As for the ghazal itself, I connected with it on a very personal level, it’s almost as if Jaun Elia read my mind! Just beautiful ❤️👌 Thank you for sharing this lovely post Prachi!


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