Ghazal 6, Verse 1


shauq har rang raqiib-e sar-o-saamaa;N niklaa
qais ta.sviir ke parde me;N bhii ((uryaa;N niklaa

1) ardor in every mode/'color' turned out to be an enemy/Rival of possessions/property
2) Qais, even/also in the veil of a picture, turned out to be naked


rang : 'Colour, tint, hue, complexion; ... appearance, aspect; fashion, style; character, nature; mood, mode, manner, method'. (Platts p.601)


sar-o-saamaa;N : 'Apparatus, necessaries, requisites, effects, goods and chattels'. (Platts p.649)


ta.sviir : 'Picture; drawing; sketch; painting; portrait; an image'. (Platts p.326)


pardah : 'A curtain, screen, cover, veil ... ; secrecy, privacy, modesty; seclusion, concealment; ... pretext, pretences'. (Platts p.246)


[1865, to Shakir:] raqiib has the meaning of 'opponent'. That is to say, ardor is the enemy of possessions. The proof is that Qais, who in life wandered around naked, remained naked even within the veil of a picture. The pleasure of it is that Majnun is always pictured with his body naked, wherever he is pictured.

==Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum vol. 2, p. 837
==another trans.: Daud Rahbar, pp. 281-82.


That is, even when Majnun's picture is made, it's always made naked. Even in this condition, passion is the enemy of possessions.... Realizing the affinity of rang with ta.sviir , he said har rang [rather than other metrically equivalent words]. But to abandon an idiom for the sake of affinity is not good. The meaning of 'rival' [raqiib] has been made to be 'enemy'. (6)

== Nazm page 6


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {6}

Bekhud Mohani:

[Nazm is wrong to object to har rang .] Where, because of a word with affinity, the verse would begin to resemble a garden, it is not suitable [munaasib] to to reject it. Where because of affinity the meaning in the verse would not become flawed, but rather it would become an ornament to the verse, to reject it is distorted. In this place, only that individual can accept the phrase har rang who is not only a poet, but also a person of literary sensibility [adiib]. And if shauq har rang is read with an i.zaafat [after shauq], then its meaning will be 'no matter how much any shauq would become an enemy of possessions'. (11)



VEIL verses: {2,2x}; {6,1}; {6,11x}; {13,1}**; {14,6}*; {16,6x}; {28,5x}; {39,1}; {41,5}; {49,9}; {56,5}; {97,9}; {98,8}*; {98,9}; {111,3}; {115,3}; {115,7}; {124,4}; {130,4}; {137,4x}; {139,7}; {141,3}; {149,4}; {149,6x}; {152,5}; {153,6}; {158,2}; {158,7}; {164,3}; {164,14}; {169,3}; {188,3x}; {189,5}; {191,6}; {198,2}*; {199,4}; {202,1}; {207,3}; {210,4}; {211,7x}, 'wasp-veil'; {226,2}; {227,2}; {228,7} // {235x,3}; {249x,6}; {251x,4}; {253x,2}; {254x,2}; {256x,4}; {269x,3}; {274x,6}; {295x,5}; {296x,6}; {307x,6}; {315x,5}; {319x,7}; {320x,6}; {332x,8}; {346x,8}; {350x,6}; {373x,6}; {377x,5}; {386x,7}; {407x,4}; {408x,5}; {421x,4}; {424x,7}

ABOUT ((uryaa;N : Every single time in the divan that Ghalib uses the word 'naked' [((uryaa;N], it appears in just the same position as it does in this verse: as the rhyme-word. In that closural position its dramatic impact and slight shock value are maximized, especially in mushairah verses. Compare its other occurrences: {6,7x}; {6,11x}; {17,5}; {111,3}; {226,2}; {226,6x} // {332x,8}; {377x,5}. The noun form 'nakedness' [((uryaanii] is often (though not always: see {192,1}) used similarly, as in {64,1}; {202,1}; in {378x,3}, it comes at the end of the first line; in {3,5}, barahnagii comes at the end of the first line. See also the closural positioning of 'bare' [jariidah] in {322x,8}.

ABOUT DRAWING/PAINTING: Very rarely does Ghalib in his ghazals make any reference to drawing or painting. The present verse is the most conspicuous example in the divan, but there are a few others. One additional example, itself tongue-in-cheek: {131,4}. Another example, concerning an 'under-coat': {145,10x}. A third example, about the power of 'drawing': {153,9}. Then among the unpublished verses there's the ambiguous {320x,6}, the extravagant {326x,2}, the clever {396x,3}, and {399x,5} with its praise of Mani; there's also {433x,3}, in which the poet calls himself a 'Nightingale in a picture'; {440x,2} with its invocation of Bihzad, and {441x,5}, in which the image is a kind of intruder. For verses with references to music, see {10,3}.

The excellently chosen phrase sar-o-saamaa;N basically refers to property and possessions (see the definition above); thus it has overtones of dignity and propriety (including 'self-possession'). As a madman Qais is out of his head [sar], as a naked wanderer in the desert he has renounced all possessions and all possible forms of 'equipment' [saamaa;N]. So he's as hostile to sar-o-saamaa;N as it's possible to be.

Of course the verse is full of semantic affinities: color and picture, veil and nakedness. The versatility of rang is particularly appropriate: its literal meaning of 'color' goes well with the idea of a painting, while its numerous related and more abstract meanings give the verse a wider range of applicability. Nazm's objection, based as it is on an absurdly restricted notion of the meaning of rang , is unpersuasive. For further discussion of the possibilities of rang -- in the context of a very similar objection by Nazm-- see {119,2}.

This is the second of the three 'meaningless verses' that Ghalib explained in a letter in 1865. In the first one, {1,1}, the people in a picture [ta.sviir] were imagined as dressed in paper robes as a complaint against injustice; here, a picture is imagined as a veil or screen between human nakedness, rawness, wildness, and the 'proper possession' of dignity and self-control. In both cases, the picture apparently fails to achieve its object: God (?) continues to show 'mischievousness', and Qais continues to be seen in the wild nakedness of his passion.

As is the case so often in Ghalib's ghazals, this is a verse in which each line makes an independent statement, and the reader is obliged to figure out how the two are to be connected. Is the first line the main point, and the second a mere example? Or is the verse really about Qais, with the first line just a bit of extra reflection on his plight? Or do both lines refer, through different imagery, to the same situation?

For another meditation on the power of being ta.sviir ke parde me;N , see {320x,6}. And for the lover as a 'naked picture', see {332x,8}.

Compare Mir's meditation on 'disgrace' and 'propertylessness': M{1896,9}.

AN APOCRYPHAL VERSE: Many people nowadays apparently attach to this ghazal another, apocryphal verse:

chand ta.sviir-e butaa;N chand ;hasiino;N ke ;xu:tuu:t
ba((d marne ke mire ghar se yih saamaa;N niklaa

[some pictures of idols, some letters of beautiful ones
after dying, from my house this equipment/material emerged]

Please note that this verse is NOT by Ghalib. (I will refrain from going into a long tirade about how it doesn't even sound like him.) For a detailed discussion of the issues surrounding such apocryphal verses, see {219,1}. I'm grateful to Shah Jemal Alam for pointing out this verse and examining its wide circulation. And I'm particularly grateful to Irfan Khan, who posted this very helpful information to the Urdulist:

This verse has been discussed by Hanif Naqvi in ;Gaalib : a;hvaal-o-aa;saar (1990). The key points:

= Except for the 1922 edition of Ghalib's divan published by the Nizami Press, this verse has never appeared in any divan. And even there, it appeared in a special section of verses not from the traditional divan.

= Bazm Akbarabadi composed, sometime before 1910, the following similar verse:

ek ta.sviir kisii sho;x kii aur naame chand
ghar se ((aashiq ke pas-e marg yih saamaa;N niklaa

[one picture of some mischievous one, and some letters
from the lover's house, after death, this equipment/material emerged]

Naqvi is of the opinion that the verse attributed to Ghalib is a modified form of this verse of Bazm's.

It's such a pleasure and honor to have the help of other researchers on this huge project.