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 a wandering trace/sign of the manifestation of the 'two-worlds' turmoil of Doomsday
2) my dust is wing-fluttering, that way, toward the desert of Nonexistence


suraa;G : 'Sign, mark, footstep, trace, track, clue; search, inquiry; spying'. (Platts p.650)


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'. (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)


aa;N-suu : 'That side, thither, from the other side, through'. (Steingass p.111)


I have become a wanderer for a trace/clue, and I want to manifest that Doomsday-turmoil of mine, which can be called the Doomsday-turmoil of both worlds. Thus my dust is wing-fluttering toward the desert of nonexistence. That is, it's flying along.

== Asi, p. 60


suraa;G-aavaarah = without address/information (the i.zaafat is inverted [maqluub]).
((arz-e do-((aalam shor-e ma;hshar = that Doomsday-turmoil with which the two worlds have become filled.
par-afshaa;N hai = is flying.
aa;N-suu-e .sa;hraa-e ((adam = a field where there would be no grass, etc., is called a .sa;hraa ; through this affinity, he has used for nonexistence the metaphor of a .sa;hraa .

The meaning is that the commotion of Doomsday, with the turmoil of which the two worlds have become filled, is wandering and roaming in search of me. But nowhere does it find a trace of me! Where would it find such a trace? My dust has emerged beyond even the desert of nonexistence, and is outside the limits of the world of 'collecting and scattering' [;hashr-o-nashr]. And there's also this verse of Mirza's: {5,3}.

== Zamin, p. 47

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.

== Gyan Chand, p. 85


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

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Asi and Gyan Chand seems to take suraa;G-aavaarah to mean that the trace has been obscured or lost, so that the speaker doesn't know where he's going. Zamin takes it to mean that he is unfindable by the 'commotion of Doomsday'. Both these readings have problems. The level of abstraction is such that more readings can be invented almost at will. Really, though, how much mileage can we get out of this kind of reshuffling of unmoored abstractions? On suraa;G-aavaarah as an 'inverted izafat' construction see {129,6x}.

On my reading, the whole verse describes the grandiose combination of liminality and inclusiveness claimed by the speaker. His passion and madness are so extravagant that he has attained the state of a wandering cloud of dust, a trace or sign of the dire 'two-worlds' turmoil of Doomsday. (For more on such 'two-worlds' constructions, see {18,2}.)

Thus his state is paradoxical. Instead of behaving like ordinary 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 an actual living creature, his 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 a sign of the 'two-worlds turmoil of Doomsday'. He claims everything; he's like a distant, crazed cousin of Walt Whitman. Such cosmic grandiosity is nothing so remarkable for him: just take a look at {62,8}.