Ghazal 4, Verse 4


saadagii-o-purkaarii be-;xvudii-o-hushyaarii
;husn ko ta;Gaaful me;N jur))at-aazmaa paayaa

1) artlessness and skilfulness, self-lessness and awareness
2) I found beauty, in negligence/heedlessness, [to be] courage-testing


saadagii : 'Plainness, absence of ornament; artlessness, simplicity, openness, frankness, sincerity, purity'. (Platts p.623)


purkaar : 'Skilful, efficient, full of workmanship, well-executed'. (Platts p.234)


be-;xvudii : 'The being beside one's self, alienation of mind, ecstasy, transport, rapture; senselessness, insensibility, stupefaction, delirium'. (Platts p.202)


hushyaarii : 'Intelligent, prudent; acquainted; well-informed; sensible; knowing; --mindful, cautious, alert, watchful, vigilant, on (one's) guard; awake; conscious; in (one's) senses'. (Platts p.1230)


ta;Gaaful : 'Unmindfulness, heedlessness, forgetfulness, neglect, negligence, inattention, inadvertence, indifference, listlessness'. (Platts p.328)


That is, the beautiful one's ignoring the lover, and showing ignorance of his situation, is only in order to see the lover's heart and to test his courage. In reality, it's cleverness and awareness, and outwardly it's artlessness and ignorance.

== Nazm page 4


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {4}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The meaning is that in order to see the lover's heart, the beloved feigns artlessness; and in reality this artlessness is special cleverness and even trickery. The placing of the words is beyond praise. (13)

Bekhud Mohani:

The negligence of the beautiful ones is in order to see the lovers' hearts. That is, they want to test whether the lovers consider them naive and simple, and gather their courage for insolence. When it's thus, then how is it artlessness? It's awareness! (8)


BEKHUDI: {21,6}

TESTING verses == {4,4}; {4,9x}; {4,16x}; {21,4}; {22,7}; {22,8}; {25,4}; {26,3}; {43,2}; {48,5}; {51,9x}, negatives; {60,7}; {91,1}; {100,9}; {104,2}; {115,6}; {129,6x}; {175,1}; {204}, all verses; {234,5}

'LIST' verses:For other examples of such deceptively simple-looking, extremely versatile 'list' constructions, see {2,1}*; {2,2x}; {33,7}; {49,5}, line 2; {51,8x}; {53,5}; {61,9x}; {68,6x}, line 2; {71,3}; {77,3}; {78,3}; {97,10}; {115,2}, a list of negated items; {206,4}; {228,10}; {230,7}. Some 'list' lines are radically and designedly ambiguous; others, however, are easier to decode; see for example {169,5} or {230,5}. Compare also the list-like group of 'I and' verses on the SETS page.

By giving us in the first line four abstract qualities, devoid of verbs, connected as simply as possible (A and B, C and D), Ghalib invites-- and by this indecideability also compels-- a multitude of readings. For after all, the 'and' can be a sign of genuine linking (A and B have common qualities); or of opposition and contrast (A-- and on the other hand, B); or of some kind of surprise or paradox (A-- and B!).

Moreover, since none of the four qualities are specifically assigned to either the beloved or the lover, the possible mathematical permutations become remarkable, and make this one of the richest 'meaning-generators' in the whole divan. (The first line also provides a nice internal rhyme.)

I've rendered be-xvudii as 'self-lessness', as a reminder that it's not the same as the usual 'selflessness' in the sense of 'unselfishness', but is to be taken quite literally as a state of being lost to the world, being 'outside' oneself.

For the present verse, some of the possible readings of the first line have been spelled out below; there could perhaps be even more:

=artlessness and cleverness, self-lessness and awareness! (These qualities are all present at once, in the lover and/or the beloved.)

=[her] artlessness and cleverness, [her] self-lessness and awareness! (She feigns naivete and obliviousness, but it's actually all a deliberate ruse.)

=[my] artlessness and [her] cleverness, [my] self-lessness and [her] awareness! (I am a simple-hearted, devoted lover, and she is testing my courage.)

=[her] artlessness and [my] cleverness, [her] self-lessness and [my] awareness! (She naively thinks her show of simplicity, assumed as a test, has fooled me, but I cleverly see through her.)

=[her] artlessness and cleverness, [my] self-lessness and awareness! (She and I are both paradoxical creatures; we both combine in ourselves seemingly contradictory qualities.)

='artlessness'-- and cleverness! 'self-lessness'-- and awareness! (Her 'artlessness' is just a show, a mask for her cleverness; similarly, my 'self-lessness' is just a cover for my awareness.)

Aren't those particular four words excellently selected and placed, so as to generate multivalent, and ambivalent, meanings? For an instance in which beloveds are saadah purkaar , see {108,8}.

Note for meter fans: The word jur))at is pronounced, and scanned, as jur-))at, long-long (since the alif is really only a chair for the hamzah , which counts as a consonant. So remember, even if nowadays it sometimes gets only a tiny hamzah and thus looks like juraat (ju-raa-t, short-long-short), it's not. There ought in principle to be a hamzah there. More examples: {35,6}, {188,2}.

Another note for meter fans: The first line sounds much too 'thumping' and repetitive when recited. I think it's because of the way the word divisions follow and emphasize the foot divisions.

Compare Mir's equally clever juxtaposing of attributes in M{96,7}.