हर ज़र्रा चमकता है अन्वर-ए-ईलाही से,
हर सांस ये कहेती है हम हैं तो खुदा भी है|
– Akbar Allahabadi
ज़र्रा (zarra(h)) stands for a tiny, insignificant particle of sand and is usually used to show tiny (often insignificant) entity. With this in mind this beautiful sher (couplet) turns into a very meaningful statement. I don’t know when exactly Akbar Allahabadi wrote these lines, but they are just awesome!!
Roughly translated/interpreted, it would mean –
Every lifeless, insignificant particle shines due to His brilliance,
But every breath asserts, that the God exists because of us!
This really is a wonderful assertion from an intellectual person. It becomes all the more significant in a society which is carrying its ‘herd mentality‘ and followers are plenty! He probably suggests that only lifeless, insignificant people shine (do well) due to someone else or due to some godfather. But every living being (हर सांस), every thinking individual asserts that the God exists (and is worshiped) because of us (figuratively; can be taken as godfather or any established entity or person. This may apply to anyone from corporate giant, superstar to government). In essence, this couplet suggests that every living individual has ability to think, to assess things on his/her own rather than being a blind follower. It suggests that your breath separates you from an insignificant, lifeless entity and you create your own path instead of following the beaten track.
The arrogance, rebellion here is so appealing because it affirms – ‘if you breath, you exist and your existence is different from a tiny, insignificant particle that glitters only due to someone else’s brilliance – so let your existence create new definitions, let your existence make the difference to existing definitions’. For me, this is the most wonderful way of saying ~ Be yourself!