Ghazal 11, Verse 4x


suraa;G-aavaarah-e ((ar.z-e do-((aalam shor-e ma;hshar huu;N
par-afshaa;N hai ;Gubaar aa;N suu-e .sa;hraa-e ((adam meraa

1) I am the {trace/mark}-wanderer of a 'two-worlds' breadth, the turmoil/bitterness of a gathering/Doomsday
2) my dust is wing-fluttering, that [way], toward the desert of Nonexistence


aavaarah : 'Without house and home; wandering, roving; astray; abandoned, lost; dissolute;—s.m. Wanderer; vagabond; profligate'. (Platts p.101)


((ar.z : 'Presenting or representing; representation, petition, request, address; —(v.n. fr. ((ar.z , 'to be broad'), s.m. Breadth, width; (in Geog.) latitude'. (Platts p.760)


shor : 'Cry, noise, outcry, exclamation, din, clamour, uproar, tumult, disturbance... ; --salt, brackish... ; very bitter; --unlucky'. (Platts p.736)


ma;hshar : 'A place of assembly or congregation ;--(for yaum ul-ma;hshar ), the day of the place of congregation, the day of judgment'. (Platts p.1008)


;Gubaar : 'Dust; clouds of dust; a dust-storm; vapour, fog, mist, mistiness; impurity, foulness'. (Platts p.769)

Gyan Chand:

My nature has kicked up a Doomsday-turmoil in both worlds. I am manifesting that clamor everywhere. Since it is very boundless, I am going onward and onward in search of a place to manifest it. I can't find a trace of anything that would encompass it. Now my dust has emerged in another direction, even beyond Nonbeing. And there too I've kicked up a Doomsday-turmoil. Since the footstep-trace has become lost, I wander sometimes this way, sometimes that way, manifesting my Doomsday-equippedness of temperament. (85)


DESERT: {3,1}
DOOMSDAY: {10,11}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices.

Gyan Chand seems to take suraa;G-aavaarah to mean that the trace has been obscured or lost, so that I don't know where I'm going. I'm not sure how he actually puts the whole verse together. I'm not sure of my own reading either, but it's the best I can come up with. The level of abstraction is such that more possibilities are very possible. For example, instead of taking the first line as two attributes ('I am A, I am B'), we could put the whole thing together: 'I am the {trace/mark}-wanderer of the breadth of a 'two-worlds' turmoil/bitterness of a gathering/Doomsday'. Really, though, how much mileage can we get out of this kind of reshuffling of almost incomprehensible abstractions?

On my reading, the whole verse describes the appalling combination of liminality and inclusiveness claimed by the speaker. Although he lives in the present world, he embodies in his own person the dire turmoil/bitterness of Doomsday, which will signal the end of the world as we know it; and although he lives in the human world, his Doomsday is marked by his being a wanderer over the breadth of both of the two worlds. (For more on such 'two worlds' constructions, see {18,2}.)

Thus his state is paradoxical. Instead of behaving like dust or mist or other inanimate clouds of particles, the specks of the speaker's dust show his agitation by being 'wing-fluttering' like birds. (This isn't impossible: in {113,6} Ghalib makes the polish-lines on a metal mirror flutter their wings, and in {176,6} the wing-flutterer is a wave of blood.) So the speaker's dust-specks seem to be alive. But then, instead of behaving like a living creature and seeking the wherewithal for life, the speaker's dust-cloud is heading straight toward Nonbeing.

In short, the speaker's nature has the impossibly amalgamated qualities appropriate to somebody who would call himself the 'turmoil of Doomsday'. He claims everything; he's like a distant, crazed cousin of Walt Whitman. Such cosmic grandiosity is nothing new for him: just take a look at {62,8}.