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The meanings and uses of the word ‘Gharib’ are quite diverse in Urdu. Although the word commonly means poor, it has been versified in the sense of a simpleton by Dagh in this couplet:
Puucho janaab-e-Daagh Kii ham se sharaaraten
Kya sar jhukaa.e baithe hain hazrat Ghariib se
In Arabic, Gharib means something strange or rare (Ajib). Thus, it’s often recited together with the latter as ‘Ajib-o-Gharib’; a phrase we’re all familiar with. Owing to this meaning, a museum came to be known in Urdu as ‘Ajaaib-Ghar’, or a wonder-house.
But in Persian Gharib means stranger or foreigner. The construction ‘Gharib-ul-Watani’, very common in Urdu prose and poetry, means a traveler or homeless fellow. The following couplet by Hafiz Jaunpuri is rightly famous:
baiTh jaataa huu.n jahaa.n chhaa.nv ghanii hotii hai
haa.e kyaa chiiz Gariib-ul-vatanii hotii hai