Ghazal 3, Verse 9x


((aalam :tilism-e shahr-e ;xamoshaa;N hai sar-basar
yaa mai;N ;Gariib-e kishvar-e guft-o-shunuud thaa

1) [either] the world is an enchantment of a {'city of the silent' / cemetery} from {end to end / 'head to head'}
2) or I was an alien/stranger in the land of speaking and hearing


shahr-e ;xaamoshaa;N : ''The city of the silent'; a cemetery'. (Platts p.738)


;Gariib : 'Foreign, alien; strange, wonderful; rare, unusual, extraordinary; --poor, destitute; meek, mild, humble, lowly; --a stranger, foreigner, an alien;--a poor man; a meek or humble person'. (Platts p.770)

Gyan Chand:

For me, the world is entirely an enchantment. Nothing told me of its reality, since I was a stranger in this world. The gist is that I wasn't able to understand the language of this place. (65)



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices.

Gyan Chand's text has buud-o-nabuud , which seems a far less probable reading than Raza's, since it sacrifices the excellent wordplay; as always, I follow the latter.

An enchantment [:tilism] is a magic world, a narrative concept developed to the highest possible degree in the Dastan of Amir Hamzah. An enchanted world in which no one could speak or hear, or did speak or hear, would be a fine venue for a hero to explore. But the speaker feels that either he's trapped in a cemetery, or he's an 'alien' or 'destitute'-- no matter what the explanation, he's the one who's alone and miserable.

Needless to say, without the wordplay of 'city of the silent' for 'cemetery', this verse wouldn't have a leg to stand on. While we're mentioning body parts, 'head to head' is a great touch, in a verse based on speech and hearing.

Compare Mir's more spectacularly radical use of the idea of a :tilism : M{1314,9}.