Ghazal 6, Verse 4

{6,4}

dil-e ;hasrat-zadah thaa maa))idah-e la;z;zat-e dard
kaam yaaro;N kaa bah qadr-e lab-o-dandaa;N niklaa

1) the longing-stricken heart was a banquet-table of the relish of pain
2) the friends' work/desire/'throat' turned out [to be] to the extent of their lips and teeth

Notes:

maa))idah : 'A table (esp. one covered with victuals)'. (Platts p.988)

 

la;z;zat : 'Pleasure, delight, enjoyment; sweetness, deliciousness; taste, flavour, relish, savour; --an aphrodisiac; an amorous philter'. (Platts p.955).

 

kaam : '(Hindi) Action, act, deed, work, doing, handiwork, performance; work, labour, duty, task, job; business, occupation, employment, office, function; operation, undertaking, transaction, affair, matter, thing, concern, interest'. (Platts p.804)

 

kaam : '(Persian) Desire, wish; design, intention; --the palate'. (Platts p.804)

Nazm:

That is, however much worth was in each one, to that extent he obtained from me the pleasure of pain; otherwise, on my side there was no lack. The word 'work' [kaam] has a relationship of .zil((a with 'lips and teeth' [because of its Persian meaning of 'throat']. (7)

== Nazm page 7

Vajid:

Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {6}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, my longing-stricken heart was a dining-cloth of the pleasure of pain, on which were set out various types and kinds of food. According to their capability and relish, the friends received portions from my dining-cloth. Here there was no shortage. The meaning is that people receive benefit from me according to their individual capability. (17)

Bekhud Mohani:

The point is that my verses were an album of despair and longing and pain. However much ability each person had, that was how much pleasure he received. (12)

FWP:

SETS == GROTESQUERIE; MULTIVALENT WORDS ( kaam , la;z;zat )

FOOD verses: {6,4}; {17,7}; {19,7}; {26,4}; {39,4}; {50,1}; {51,6x}; {56,6}; {67,3}; {114,1}(?); {118,2}; {167,7}; {233,2}

PROPORTIONALITY verses: {3,12x}; {4,14x}; {5,4}; {6,4}; {12,2}; {12,5x}; {27,1}; {27,7}; {44,4x}; {98,5}; {112,4}; {117,2}; {131,9}; {167,1}; {170,2}; {182,2}; {205,2}; {234,8}

ABOUT la;z;zat : The word la;z;zat , although it officially has pleasurable and especially food-centered meanings (see the definition above), seems to be quite morbidly inclined: more often than not, Ghalib uses it with reference to the 'pleasure' of something painful. Some verses even feature the explicit phrase la;z;zat-e aazaar , which is parallel to la;z;zat-e dard in the present verse. Examples: {6,4}; {15,8}; {17,7}; {53,10}; {60,6}; {64,7x}; {87,6}; {92,3}; {92,5}, {112,4}, with list of la;z;zat-e aazaar verses; {165,1}. (Of course, he does also sometimes use la;z;zat favorably, as in {157,2} and {157,4}.)

Faruqi recognizes (July 2000) that this is not one of Ghalib's better verses. For a much finer treatment of this theme, he suggests that we consider one of Mir's [M{454,3}]:

bhuu;Nte hai;N dil ik jaanib sikte hai;N jigar yak suu
hai majlis-e mushtaaqaa;N dukkaan kabaabii kii

[To one side, they roast a heart; elsewhere, they grill a liver
The gathering of the ardent ones is a kabab-seller's shop]

He has a point. Mir's verse has a playfulness and vigor that this one conspicuously lacks. There's also another of Mir's that includes naan-o-namak as well [M{1384,1}]:

darveshii kii jo so;xtagii hai so hai la;zii;z
naan-o-namak hai daa;G kaa bhii ek shai la;zii;z

[the burnt-ness of darvesh-ship-- well, it's savory
even/also the naan and salt of the wound is a savory thing]

Somehow the present verse seems uneasily poised between humor and morbid over-physicalness. Are we really supposed to imagine the heart as a banquet being literally eaten by the friends, who are using their lips and teeth to the best of their ability, and politely wiping the blood from their fingers with a dainty napkin? Without that specificity of image, the verse has little to recommend it; with that specificity, it becomes, so to speak, unappetizing. This is a verse of what I will call 'grotesquerie'; for further discussion, see {39,3}.

It's possible of course to take the verse as referring to poetry: the speaker's laments are a banquet of the 'relish of pain' because his pain produces a mental feast of eloquent words and expressions for his friends to enjoy according to their capacity. In this regard compare the last verse of the divan, {234,14} (one of the meanings of .salaa is, after all, an invitation 'to partake of food').

For a more detailed discussion of the very suitable double meaning of kaam as both 'work' and 'desire' see {22,6}. But in this verse, Nazm is surely right to insist on 'throat' as well, since the interaction of all three meanings is an indispensable part of the pleasure.