Ghazal 5, Verse 5


dil nahii;N tujh ko dikhaataa varnah daa;Go;N kii bahaar
us chiraa;Gaa;N kaa karuu;N kyaa kaar-farmaa jal gayaa

1) {there is / I have} no heart, otherwise I would have shown you a flourishing/springtime of wounds

2a) the operator of that lamp-display-- what can/would I do?-- burned up
2b) what can/would I do with that lamp-display? --the operator burned up


bahaar : 'Spring, prime, bloom, flourishing state; beauty, glory, splendour, elegance; beautiful scene or prospect, fine landscape; charm, delight, enjoyment, the pleasures of sense, taste, or culture'. (Platts p.178)


chiraa;Gaa;N : 'Lamps; lights; a display of lamps, a general illumination'. (Platts p.428)


chiraa;Gaa;N : 'Lamps; an illumination (m.c.); ... — chiraa;Gaan kardan , To illuminate (m.c.); to inflict a cruel kind of punishment by placing burning lights into the wounds of a lashed culprit'. (Steingass p.389)


jalnaa : 'To burn; to be burnt; to be on fire; to be kindled, be lighted; to be scorched, be singed; to be inflamed, to be consumed; to be touched, moved, or affected (with pity, &c.); to feel pain, sorrow, anguish, &c.; to burn or be consumed with love, or jealousy, or envy, &c.; to take amiss, be offended, be indignant; to get into a passion, be enraged, to rage'. (Platts p.387)


jal jaanaa : '(intens.) To be burnt up, be consumed (with, - se )'. (Platts p.387)


He has made the heart an operator, and wounds a chiraa;Gaan . The word chiraa;Gaan ought to be understood as the plural of chiraa;G . (6)

== Nazm page 6


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {5}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He addresses the beloved when he speaks. (15)

Bekhud Mohani:

The flourishing/springtime of my wounds was worth seeing. But alas, the heart that was the arranger of this lamp-display has itself not remained. That is, before the heart was extinguished, longings remained in it-- my state of burning was worth seeing. (11)



MIDPOINTS verses: {5,5}*; {6,14x}** ; {21,12}*; {22,3}; {24,3}; {25,3}; {25,6}* with jaise ; {27,3}; {30,3}; {39,4}; {42,6}; {45,3}*; {53,3}, with huu;N ; {53,9}; {68,9x}; {71,8}; {84,4x}; {88,1}; {91,1}; {91,8}; {94,2}*; {96,2}; {98,1}; {111,1}; {116,4}*; {125,9}; {131,1}; {131,9}; {132,2}; {133,1}; {146,4x}; {147,1}; {152,6}; {172,2}; {173,5}; {173,6}; {177,1}*; {190,6}; {191,7}**, Ghalib explains; {202,3}*; {207,1}; {208,1}; {209,5}*; {230,9}; {231,1} // {389x,3}*; {424x,6}; {430x,6}

ABOUT chiraa;Gaa;N : Grammatically, the word is simply the Persian plural of chiraa;G , a lamp (meaning of course an oil lamp). Compare the chiraa;Gaa;N usages in: {10,4} (where it is a sarv-e chiraa;Gaa;N or 'lamp-tree'); {12,5x}; {15,4}; {18,6x} (where it seems more like fireworks); {29,8x} (where a mirror might also be involved); {49,8}; {81,3}; {105,2}; {190,5}; {190,10}; {190,12x}; {233,1}; {233,4} // {296x,6}; {329x,4} (where it's compared to Divali); {333x,1}; {379x,7}; {399x,4}. It's really not possible in most cases to tell exactly what kind of a structure (if any) Ghalib might have had in mind. For a different vision of a chiraa;Gaan as a form of cruel torment, see Zamin's comments on {18,6x}. On these two senses of chiraa;Gaa;N see also Steingass's definition above, and the discussion in Mir's M{1650,2}.

A 'flourishing', literally a 'springtime' [bahaar], of wounds creates a vigorous image of vitality, energy, newness, fresh and copiously flowing red blood, etc. But spring has now finished springing, it's over-- the energy was such that the heart, the source of it all, has been consumed in its own fires.

The wounds themselves become cold, dead, scarred over, without constant fresh blood from the flaming, glowing heart-- which has now burned itself out entirely. The lover shrugs his shoulders, unable to offer the fine spectacle he once could have provided: he's like a carnival owner whose show-manager has suddenly quit.

The two readings of the second line, both so colloquial and so appropriate, are a great source of enjoyment. They are generated by the fact that karuu;N kyaa can be read either with the phrase after it, as in (2a), or with the phrase before it, as in (2b). I am calling the (mostly adverbial) phrases used in this way 'midpoints', for want of a better name. Ghalib uses them occasionally, but Mir relies on them as a major feature of his poetics.

Do we read is or us , 'this' or 'that' chiraa;Gaa;N ? Arshi, whose text I have taken as normative, doesn't say. Hamid says 'this'. Faruqi says (July 2000) 'that'. To me, 'that' works better, since it shows the detachment the speaker feels from his own burnt-out amusement-park display. But 'this' could be plausible as well, for a sense of immediacy.

And besides the literal meaning of jal gayaa , just look, in the definition above, at the wide array of metaphorical and emotional reactions that might also explain the heart's-- the 'operator's'-- inability or unwillingness to provide the anticipated spectacle.