Ghazal 7, Verse 1


dhamkii me;N mar gayaa jo nah baab-e nabard thaa
((ishq-e nabard-peshah :talabgaar-e mard thaa

1) he died in the [initial] threatening-- he who was not a gateway/subject of battle
2) Passion, a professional at battle, was a seeker of men/heroes


dhamki : 'Threatening, threat, menace, reprimand, snubbing'. (Platts p.546)

baab : 'Door, gate; chapter, section, division (of a book), head, heading; subject, affair, business, topic, matter'. (Platts p.117)


nabard : 'Battle, engagement, war, contest'. (Platts p.1121)


mard : 'A man; a male; a husband; —a brave or valiant man, a hero'. (Platts p.1021)


That person who was not a hero of the battlefield of passion died even during a threat. (7)

== Nazm page 7


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {7}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The allusion is to Farhad ... I did not, as did Farhad, die of the threat of passion; rather, my whole life long I kept confronting the difficulties of passion in a manly way. (18)

Bekhud Mohani:

He has established Passion as a hero of the battlefield. And he says that whichever person couldn't endure to confront Passion died at the sight of Passion, and in the [initial] threatening. To take the field and confront Passion is a task for those with heart. (13)


[See his discussion of Mir's M{126,1}.]



Only the most seasoned and practiced warrior-heroes have the honor of grappling directly with Passion itself; the combat is so terrifying that lesser mortals die in the preliminaries, from the mere exchange of threats. A bout of boasting about yourself (and your ancestry, etc.) and sneering at your opponent used to be a standard prologue to any episode of single combat; the dastan world is full of examples.

Surely Ghalib was intrigued by the interplay between mard and nabard , which goes deeper than mere rhyme. Otherwise, I can't see what else is going on here. Another meditation on nabard : {167,8}.

For more examples of baab , see {15,7} and {15,13}. 'Gateway' is not an ideal translation for baab , nor is 'subject', but it's hard to think of anything better (see the definition above). In fact in the context of the first line, baab is such a piquant word that it's easy to see how it might have appealed to Ghalib.