Ghazal 1, Verse 6x


;xisht pusht-e dast-e ((ajz-o-qaalib aa;Gosh-e vidaa((
pur hu))aa hai sail se paimaanah kis ta((miir kaa

1) the brick-- a 'back of the hand' of weakness; and the mold/framework-- an 'embrace of leave-taking'
2) it has become filled with the flood-- the measure/capacity of which construction?


qaalib : 'A form, model, mould; anything in which, or from which, another is made'. (Steingass p.949)


sail : 'A flowing; a flow of water, a torrent, a current'. (Platts p.712)


paimaanah : 'A measure (for dry or wet goods); measure (of length, or capacity, &c.) ... ; a cup, bowl, goblet'. (Platts p.301)


ta((miir : 'Building, constructing; construction, structure'. (Platts p.327)


Having seen this situation, he asks in amazement, 'Which construction has the flood destroyed, that every aspect of the construction is in this state of grief?'

== Asi, pp. 49-50


He says that in the tempest of the rainy season, falling bricks place the 'back of the hand' on the ground to express weakness, and in order to take leave of them an embrace has been spread. This is a preferred theme of Ghalib, which he has versified in various places in different guises. From this it seems that it is his real life story [aap-biitii ;haqiiqat hai].

== Zamin, p. 24

Gyan Chand:

For the wineglass of a building to be filled with the flood, is just the kind of harm as for a person's wineglass to be filled with poison! By qaalib is meant a mold for bricks. Although the framework of the building could also have been meant; but Ghalib often brings in the theme of a brick-mold.

Seeing bricks being made somewhere, he says that these bricks are weak, like the back of the hand. In their mould, the embrace for taking leave is in such a style that it seems that the building that will be built from these bricks will be so weak that as soon as it is built it will take its leave [and collapse]. What building's fated death-hour is coming, that it is being built of such bricks? For flood waters to come into the foundation of a building is a sign of its being demolished.

In this verse is the extremity of Ghalib's despair. That is, in every construction he sees the signs of ruination-- as in {10,6}.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 60-61



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

On the nuances of pusht-e dast-e ((ajz , see {155,3}. On the 'embrace of leave-taking', see {57,6}. The excellent paimaanah with its meanings of both 'measure of capacity' and 'cup, goblet' (see the definition above) also works well, uniting the architectural imagery with the 'torrent, flood'.

Every brick, lying flat and prostrate along the ground, is (like) a helpless, submissive hand; every framework with its scaffolding that surrounds a space within it is (like) an embrace opened for leave-taking. Every act of building invites-- or even provokes, if we take {10,6} seriously-- its own ruin. And by framing the second line as a question, the verse invites us to think of our own 'construction', and our own built-in doom. It pretends not to know, but of course it does. (Think of the innocent-sounding kis kii in the first line of {1,1}.)

It's depressing to notice that 'natural poetry' commentary like Zamin's begins cropping up from the very first ghazal. For the record, please note that the fact that a ghazal poet has often used some theme does NOT show that the theme is part of his autobiographical 'real life story'.

Compare also the brick-making in {251x,2}. A more metaphysical brick-mould (but with even more human-body associations) appears in {428x,6}.