Ghazal 9, Verse 4


dil guzar-gaah-e ;xayaal-e mai-o-saa;Gar hii sahii
gar nafas jaadah-e sar-manzil-e taqvii nah hu))aa

1) let the heart be a roadway of the thought of wine and wineglass at least
2) if the breath didn't become a path to the destination of piety


sahii : 'emphat. part. Yea, verily, indeed, true enough, forsooth; just so; very well, so be it, let it be; just'. (Platts p.707)


jaadah : 'Way, road, pathway, highway; the right road; manner, practise'. (Platts p.370)


The poet means that if you haven't attained piety, then have rakishness at least. (9-10)

== Nazm page 9; Nazm p. 10


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {8}

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, the heart wants to lead a pious life. But when the taste for sin doesn't let it remain pure, then why not let yourself go and sin freely? In any situation, one should do what is in one's power; what kind of wisdom is it to pass one's days like one devoid of senses? (17)


The goal of piety is that a man should remain happy at all times. Since I attain this mood from the thought of wine-drinking, if my temperament is not inclined toward piety then what's the harm? (265)


Compare {51,4}. (62)


WINE: {49,1}
ROAD: {10,12}

About sahii expressions: The colloquial expression hii sahii has a vigor and fluency that's hard to capture in translation; for discussion of this form, and examples, see {148,1}. Examples of its negated form nah sahii ('so what if not', or 'if not indeed'): {36,9}; {114,4}; {148,7}, the whole of {175}, and {228,9}. Ghalib himself adds to sahii to the list: {148,10}. There is also sahii alone, which has a more simply concessive sense ('so be it'; 'no doubt'; 'indeed', 'even so'), without such an emotional charge; examples include {19,5}; {66,8}; {98,8}; {115,4}; {115,8}; {157,6}; {205,6}; {209,3}; {215,2}; {216,1}; {231,8}.

The word jaadah , 'path', seems to be part of Ghalib's regular tool-kit of highly abstract imagery. This is the first example we've seen, but there are a number of others. They include: {10,12}; {18,2}; {33,1}; {67,4x}; {74,1}; {84,4x}; {92,2}; {92,3}; {123,11}; {145,16x}; {223,1}.

If the breath is not to be an austere, linear Sufi path to a pious destination, then the heart should be a passage, a highway full of back-and-forth traffic, for thoughts of wine and wineglass. There's a kind of metaphysical defiance: if we can't get what we want in the piety line, then let's turn our attention to a more promising domain. After all, as he points out in {22,2}, he's the kind of person who would turn back from the door of the Ka'bah itself if it didn't happen to be open. Faruqi also rightly singles out {51,4} as a parallel.

In a characteristic bit of ghazal inversion, the first line is the 'then' clause, the second line the 'if' clause, so that the meaning is rendered opaque until the very end.

The parallelism of the two lines is part of the thought-provokingness too. If the breath is not a path, then let the heart be a roadway. One is thus led to ask how the 'destination of piety' is parallel to the 'thought of wine and wineglass'. Could they be as similar and closely linked (and substitutable) as breath and heart, path and roadway?

Note for fans of metrical technicalities: On the pronunciation of taqv;aa , see the discussion of ((iis;aa in the similarly-manipulated {9,7}.