Ghazal 7, Verse 6


a;hbaab chaarah-saazii-e va;hshat nah kar sake
zindaa;N me;N bhii ;xayaal bayaabaa;N-navard thaa

1) the companions were not able to perform a cure of wildness/solitariness/desolateness
2) even/also in a cell, Thought was a desert-wanderer


va;hshat : 'A desert, solitude, dreary place; --loneliness, solitariness, dreariness; --sadness, grief, care; --wildness, fierceness, ferocity, savageness; ... distraction, madness'. (Platts p.1183)


That is, I was confined in a cell, but my thought was in the desert. Imprisonment brought no remedy for madness. (8)

== Nazm page 8


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {7}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The rule is that they imprison the insane man in a madhouse in order to cure his madness. Mirza Sahib says, 'Friends and acquaintances couldn't at all cure my madness. In order to keep me away from wildness and madness, they had imprisoned me. But even in a prison-house, my thought remained a desert-wanderer-- just the way I myself, before being imprisoned, used to wander around in a state of madness in the wilderness.' (19)


Compare {92,1}. (220)


DESERT: {3,1}

The lover's solicitous friends have become concerned about his increasingly erratic behavior. Finally they've found it necessary, for his own sake, to have him imprisoned-- so he won't be a danger to himself or others, no doubt. They visit him in his madman's cell; they try to restore his sanity, but always fail. Even the presence of companions can't relieve his solitude. Even the confinement of his body can't stop his thought from going off wandering in the desert.

The multifarious meanings of va;hshat (see the definition above), all of them appropriate here, are at the heart of the verse. In some ways, a cell is indeed like a desert. Companions don't really exist, they are shadows or irrelevant distractions. The mind can roam freely in a cell, uncontrolled by the imperatives and pressures of the outside world-- just the way the body can roam freely in a desert.

The man of such 'wildness' may or may not be a madman; his friends might think so, but there's nothing in the verse to compel that reading. All we know is that he's obsessively given to 'desert-wandering', but that may be a sign of his 'wildness' in the sense of 'solitariness' or 'sadness' or 'desolateness', rather than of actual madness.

And then-- in this verse, who's speaking? It ought surely to be the lover. If so, the lover appears to be a detached observer-- someone who sounds both well-informed and quite sane. Does the lover's 'madness' exist only in the eye of the beholders? In our Lit Hum class this past semester we read the book of Job, and this verse makes me think of the relationship of Job and his 'comforters'.