Ghazal 4, Verse 16x


ne asad jafaa-saa))il ne sitam junuu;N-maa))il
tujh ko jis qadar ;Dhuu;N;Dhaa ulfat-aazmaa paayaa

1) neither is Asad cruelty-asking, nor is [your] tyranny madness-inclined
2) to the extent that I sought you, I found you {intimacy/affection}-testing


saa))il : 'Asking; — asker'. (Platts p.631)


maa))il : 'Inclining (to or towards, -kī t̤araf, or -par), leaning; inclined; propense, having a propensity, or inclination, or partiality (for); biassed; fond (of), taking delight (in), addicted (to)'. (Platts p.988)


ulfat : 'Familiarity, intimacy; attachment, affection, friendship'. (Platts p.76)


In the first line there is an error of calligraphy. [His text has ham instead of sitam .]

== Zamin, p. 34

Gyan Chand:

Neither is Asad (that is, the lover) a seeker after cruelty, nor is the tyranny of the beloved inclined toward the madness of the lover. However much I searched for you and scrutinized you, it appeared that you were testing my affection; for this reason you remain very far from me.

== Gyan Chand, p.70


MADNESS: {14,3}
TESTING: {4,4}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Why does the lover keep on seeking her out, at all costs, when the only result is more cruelty on her part? Why, when he keeps on humbly seeking her out, does she so constantly and viciously persecute him? Is he masochistic? Is she sadistic? Are they both insane?

No, no, the first line assures us. Asad's behavior isn't 'cruelty-asking': he's not crazy, he's not looking for trouble. Nor is 'tyranny'-- her essential nature, her personified self-- 'madness-inclined': she's not crazy herself, and she's not attracted by craziness in others.

So perhaps there's method in their madness? There's only one conclusion, one classic rationale-- the lover's last, desperate resort: 'It's really a compliment in disguise-- it's because she's testing me!' Testing opens at least a sliver of distant possibility that the lover might someday be accepted. Whereas the worst thing of all would be-- to be ignored. (For proof, see {119,1}.)

For a genuinely brilliant exploration of the lover's rationale of 'testing', compare {4,4}.

In any case, there's lovely internal rhyme in the first line, and the wordplay of 'searching' and 'finding' in the second line.

Note for meter fans: In the first line, the twofold use of ne to replace nah is of course to accommodate the meter, by providing long syllables where these are required.