Ghazal 7, Verse 7


yih laash-e be-kafan asad-e ;xastah-jaa;N kii hai
;haq ma;Gfarat kare ((ajab aazaad mard thaa

1) this corpse without a shroud is that of heart-broken Asad
2) may God have mercy on him-- he was a strangely/extraordinarily free man!


;xastah : 'Wounded, hurt; broken; infirm; sick, sorrowful'. (Platts p.490)


;xastah-jaa;N : 'Heart-broken; sick at heart'. (Platts p.490)


((ajab : 'Wonderful, marvelous, astonishing, amazing, miraculous, strange, extraordinary, rare; droll'. (Platts p.758)


aazaad : 'Free, unfettered, unrestrained, uncontrolled; liberated, discharged, set free, ransomed, emancipated; free born; free from care, at ease, light-hearted; --s.m. A freeman; freedman; a faqiir or Mohammadan devotee who shaves his beard and eye-lashes and vows chastity, but considers himself exempt from all the ceremonial observances of religion; a free-thinker'. (Platts p.45)


That is, he was a strangely free one-- for his corpse too is without a shroud. (8)

== Nazm page 8


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {7}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, while the broken-down Asad remained alive, he remained in a state of freedom. He was absolutely free of confinements and relationships. After death, it is being said, his body was without a shroud, for it too is free of grave and shroud. 'May God have mercy'-- this sentence of prayer has produced an extraordinary pleasure. (19)

Bekhud Mohani:

In this verse, the meaningful words are yih , be-kafan , and ;xastah-jaa;N . yih implies that a picture of the bier without a shroud comes before the hearer .... be-kafan brings the condition of freedom before the eyes: he was such a free one that even his corpse is without a shroud .... ;xastah-jaa;N begins to create a picture of his condition, which is peculiar to those free ones. The late Janab Zauq too has expressed this theme. But the difference between these two [verses] will not remain hidden from people of insight:

kahte hai;N aaj ;zauq jahaa;N se gu;zar gayaa
kyaa ;xuub aadmii thaa ;xudaa ma;Gfarat kare

[they say today Zauq passed from the world
what a fine man he was! may the Lord have mercy on him] (14)



In this verse, ((ajab seems to be treated as an adverb modifying aazaad . With its heavily emphasized range of meaning (see the definition above), it runs from the admiring, through the surprised, to the patronizing. All of which work well with the image of a man so 'strangely free' that even his corpse is without a shroud. Does the speaker feel admiration, amazement, pity, or all three? Is he perhaps even identifying a body-- does he perhaps recognize with a shock the emaciated corpse of someone he used to know well? Or is he the only mourner, keeping watch over the body, and casually explaining the situation to a passer-by?

The speaker exclaims 'may God have mercy on him!' in absolutely the conventional way. But in such a peculiar case, is this only because he's dead? Should God forgive him for his free-thinking, emancipated ways? Should God generously compensate him for his extreme poverty and broken-heartedness? Or does he really need God's mercy at all-- might he not have been, in his nothing-left-to-lose aazaad state, 'free from care, at ease' (see the definition above)?

For a different treatment of the meaning of a shroud, see {3,5}.

Compare Mir's even more radical vision of the neglectedness of the lover's body after death: M{109,3}.