Ghazal 3, Verse 11x


tuu yak-jahaa;N qumaash-e havas jam((a kar kih mai;N
;hairat-mataa((-e ((aalam-e nuq.saan-o-suud thaa

1) you collect [imperative] a whole world's worth of the {odds-and-ends / bric-a-brac} of desire; for I

2a) was an amazement-merchandise-trader in the world/condition of loss and profit
2b) was an amazement-merchandise-item of the world/condition of loss and profit


qumaash : 'What is collected hence and thence, anything picked up here and there; trifles, things of no value; household furniture; merchandize, goods, stuff; silken cloth; fine linen; close or thick texture (in cloth, paper, &c.); --breeding, manners'. (Platts p.795)


;hairat : 'Perturbation and stupor (of mind), astonishment, amazement, consternation'. (Platts p.482)


mataa(( : 'Merchandise; goods, chattels, furniture; clothes, effects; utensils; valuables'. (Platts p.990)


You are the one who must collect the equipment of desire, and you're welcome to it! Because since I came into the world, a state of amazement has dominated me. For this reason, in concern about loss and gain I have remained amazed, with my head spinning. And I was able to do nothing at all. (52)


Oh companion/rival, oh addressee! You are busy in collecting the world, so go on with it, but excuse me from all this! From this world of loss and profit, where people experience benefit and harm, for me nothing but a wealth of amazement came to hand. That is, in my view both gain and loss here are trifling/unworthy, and I am amazed that people consider the gain of such an unreal thing to be a cause of happiness, and its loss to be a cause of grief. This verse should not have been omitted, but he omitted it. (30)

Gyan Chand:

;hairat-mataa(( is that person whose property/goods would be only amazement; that is, 'amazed'. Oh addressee! you alone must collect, with desire, the wealth and property of the world. I, having seen the business of the world of profit and loss, remained absorbed in amazement. Because ultimately all this property will take its leave, and there will be nothing but loss/harm.

== Gyan Chand, p. 66



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

On the yak-jahaa;N construction, see {11,1}. On ;hairat see {51,9x}.

Once we recognize that ;hairat-mataa(( must be read as a compound, a number of doors open. For one thing, why must it mean a person whose merchandise or property consists of amazement, as in Gyan Chand's reading (2a)? It could also mean an item of merchandise characterized somehow by the quality of amazement (2b).

Then that second reading also connects elegantly with the first line: the speaker in effect urges the addressee to buy him at a flea market. The world of profit and loss contains what might be called a loss-leader: an unusual item of bric-a-brac that epitomizes or evokes 'amazement'. You, the addressee, can get it cheap, so why not take advantage of the chance, and stock up?

And is what you're stocking up with the 'odds and ends of desire' meaning odds and ends that themselves contain or epitomize (the speaker's?) desire? Or are they odds and ends that are necessary for the creation or expression of desire? Or are they odds and ends for which you, the addressee, have at least some desire? That, after all, might be why you're willing to stock up on them. The i.zaafat works its magic very powerfully in this verse.