Ghazal 8, Verse 3


havaa-e sair-e gul aa))iinah-e be-mihrii-e qaatil
kih andaaz-e bah ;xuu;N-;Galtiidan-e bismil pasand aayaa

1) the desire/lust/breeze of a stroll among roses-- a mirror of the mercilessness of the murderer
2) for the style of the bloody writhing of the wounded/slaughtered ones was pleasing [to her]


havaa : 'Air, atmosphere, ether, the space between heaven and earth; — air, wind, gentle gale; — a gas; — flight; — an aerial being; spirit, fiend; — sound, tone; — rumour, report; — credit, good name; — affection, favour, love, mind, desire, passionate fondness; lust, carnal desire, concupiscence; — an empty or worthless thing'. (Platts p.1240)


;Galtiidan : 'To tumble, wallow, roll'. (Steingass, p.892)


bismil : 'Sacrificed, slaughtered'. (Platts p.156)


That is, her desire to stroll among the roses is a mirror of her cruelty, and the proof of her pursuit of violence is that the roses have the style of the bloody writhing of the wounded. (9)

== Nazm page 9


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {8}

Bekhud Mohani:

Here, havaa means 'ardor'. Mirza Sahib says that the murder has an ardor for looking at flowers, and this ardor is a mirror of her tyranny. That is, when our murderer goes into the garden for a stroll, she doesn't go in order to feel the cool breezes and look at the colorful flowers. Rather, she only goes to see those flowers that have fallen from the branches and lie on the ground, and change their position with the gusts of wind. She considers the spectacle of those flowers to be a dance of the wounded, and from seeing them she receives joy and delight. (21)


The garden provides her with a fine occasion for watching the spectacle of red red flowers, fallen from the branches, that are picked up by the wind [havaa] and blown around this way and that, and that offer her the vision of wounded ones writhing in blood. (37)


One point which the commentators have not noticed, although it's worth mentioning, is that it's not enough to count only the flowers or other parts of the garden among those wounded by the beloved. When the beloved goes out for a stroll in the garden, then on the road too people see her; and when people see her, then they are wounded; and when they are wounded, then they writhe in dust and blood. Thus although the beloved expresses a desire for a stroll among the roses, this is only an excuse for going outside: 'If I go outside, then people will be wounded by my glory/appearance, and writhe in the dust, and bathe in blood; and this sight will be interesting and worth seeing'.

This meaning has been able to become possible because the verse mentions 'the style of the bloody writhing of the wounded ones'; it has not particularly said that the flowers are wounded by the beloved's sword and that the beloved wants to enjoy the sight of their woundedness. On the contrary: the verse mentions only 'wounded ones'-- that is, any person or creature whom the beloved would have directly wounded, or who would have become wounded because of the beloved.

== [2006: 37-38]

[See also his discussion of this verse in {136,4}.]



MIRROR verses: {1,7x}; {6,8x}; {6,13x}; {8,3}; {9,8x}; {10,5}, with a list of 'mirror-chamber' verses; {12,4x}; {15,17x}; {16,2}**, a glass mirror, and general discussion; {16,6x}; {16,7x}, glass and metal mirrors clash; {17,4}; {22,3}, 'mirror-forehead'; {23,4x}; {24,10x}, as lustful; {29,2}, with a list of 'parrot and mirror' verses; {29,7x}; {29,8x}; {34,2}**, with Ghalib's commentary; {37,5x}; {40,1}; {41,4}, door of the 'six directions'; {41,9x}; {42,5}; {42,7x}; {42,9x}; {47,1}, on zangaar ; {48,10}; {53,12x}; {56,2}; {56,7x}; {60,10}; {63,1}; {64,2}; {68,3}; {68,6x}; {73,1}; {82,2x}; {88,7x}; {93,2x}; {93,3x}; {96,4}; {98,9}; {103,2x}; {104,3x}; {109,3x}*; {113,6}; {113,10x}; {115,4}; {116,8}; {122,2}; {125,5}; {128}, refrain; {128,1}*, discussion of the 'heart as mirror'; {129,3x}; {141,3}; {145,13x}; {166,6x}; {170,5}; {171,4x}; {172,1}; {173,5}; {184,5x}; {187,1}; {190,4}; {190,9}; {192,3}, aab-giinah ; {195,3x}; {206,2}; {208,6}, 'mirror-forehead'; {213,1}; {214,16x}; {217,3}; {217,7x}; {217,8x}; {217,10x}; {221,4x}*; {228,2}; {228,5}; {228,9}; {228,12x}; {229,1}; {230,2}; {230,4}; {230,8}, 'picture-showing' // {246x,6}, 'mirror-binding'; {254x,2}; {280x,3}; {286x}, aa))iine par ; {308x,6}, zang-e dil ; {320x,4}, zang ; {320x,6}; {321x,7}; {323x,9}*, fear of it; {347x,4}, source of existence; {348x,6}; {349x,2}, incapable; {349x,3}; {352x,4}, 'mirror-binding'; {374x,2}, 'mirror-binding'; {379x,1}; {389x,4}; {398x,3}; {399x,4}; {399x,7}; {424x,4}; {424x,6}; {434x,5}; {434x,6}. For the unpublished verses, this list is very far from complete.

ABOUT havaa : The duality of havaa , as both desire and air/breeze (see the definition above), is the life of the verse. For similar uses of this versatile word, as part of the meaning of the verse or by way of wordplay, see: {11,5x}; {16,3}; {48,8}, implicit?; {48, 10}; {49,2}; {49,4}*; {68,4}*; {73,5x}, also 'flight'; {79,4x}*; {80,2}; {80,6}; {86,7}; {108,1}; {108,2}; {114,2}; {158,4}; {164,6}; {181,6}; {204,4}; {209,10}; {218,3}*; {227,3}. Sometimes there's even a (real or deceptively contrived) possibility of also reading the word as hu))aa , 'happened, occurred' (as in {48,5}, and {68,4}), but that is rare.

If it is the beloved who desires to stroll among the roses, it is because either (1) the wind-tossed roses remind her of her wounded, bloody, writhing lovers; or (2) her wounded, bloody, writhing lovers remind her of wind-tossed roses (so that her 'stroll' is perhaps metaphorical only, and thus her desire for it quite properly a 'mirror' of her cruelty). For another verse that compares her wounded lovers to roses, see {136,4}. (The word bismil officially means 'slaughtered', but in the ghazal world it often means merely 'wounded', as in the present verse.)

Or else it's the breeze of her stroll through the garden that mirrors the murderousness of her heart, because the breeze generated by her passing tosses the roses and knocks the petals off the overblown ones, giving her pleasure.

This verse marks the first occurrence in the published divan of the mirror, which seems to be Ghalib's favorite image. Some of Ghalib's 'mirror' verses are among his most obscure, baroque, abstract ones. The present verse is relatively simple, as 'mirror' verses go. (Sometimes a mirror is just a mirror.)