Ghazal 12, Verse 1

{12,1}*

saraapaa rahn-e ((ishq-o-naa-guziir-e ulfat-e hastii
((ibaadat barq kii kartaa huu;N aur afsos ;haa.sil kaa

1) entirely pledged/mortgaged to passion-- and helpless against the intimacy/affection of life
2) I worship lightning-- and regret/lament the harvest/result

Notes:

rahn : 'Pledging, pawning; a thing deposited as a pledge, a pledge, a pawn; a mortgage, a sum lent on mortgage'. (Platts p.610)

 

naa-guziir : 'Remediless, helpless; irremediable, unavoidable'. (Platts p.910)

 

ulfat : 'Familiarity, intimacy; attachment, affection, friendship'. (Platts p.76)

 

afsos karnaa : 'To feel regret, sorrow, &c., to regret; to grieve, sorrow, or sigh (for, or because of), to lament, bemoan; to take to heart; to express sorrow or regret (for); to feel or to express pity (for)'. (Platts p.62)

 

;haa.sil : 'Product, produce, outcome, what is cleared, what remains (of anything), result, issue, ultimate consequence; inference, deduction, corollary; produce or net produce (of land, or of anything that is a source of revenue), revenue; —acquiring, acquisition, advantage, profit, gain, good; sum, sum and substance, substance, purport, import, object'. (Platts p.473)

Nazm:

In this verse he has given for passion the simile of lightning, and for existence the simile of the harvest. He says, I am pledged to passion, and also my life is dear to me. My duality is as if some fire-worshiper would worship lightning, and also regret the burning of the harvest. In the first line the verb, 'am' [huu;N], is omitted. (13)

== Nazm page 13

Vajid:

Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {12}

Bekhud Mohani:

The loftiness of my nature has inclined me toward passion, which claims to provide the oblivion of existence. But love of life too is a part of human nature. My case is that of someone who would consider lightning to be an object of worship, and would also wring his hands at the burning of the harvest. That is, my nature permits me neither to renounce passion, nor to renounce the love of life. Alas, that the Maker made me a union of opposites, and thus placed me in such a difficulty! (24-25)

Shadan:

And this is the form that I want [to clarify the second line]: ta((alluq barq se ho aur ho afsos ;haa.sil kaa [there would be a relationship with lightning, and there would be regret for the harvest]. I haven't been able to understand the word 'worship' [((ibaadat]. (125)

FWP:

SETS == MULTIVALENT WORDS ( ;haa.sil )
LIGHTNING: {10,6}

ABOUT ;haa.sil : This excellently multivalent word has both generalized positive meanings ('profit, gain'), abstract and neutral ones ('outcome, corollary, result'); it also specifically invokes a harvest or the 'produce of land' (see the wide-ranging definition above) in a way most convenient for this verse with its evocation of crop-destroying lightning. More examples of its uses: {24,9x}; {24,10x}.

The first line describes the speaker's helplessly paradoxical double allegiance. Then in the second line, the speaker either worships lightning, but still grieves for the 'harvest, produce' that is destroyed by its fire; or else he worships lightning, and yet regrets the (more general) 'outcome, result' of his worship.

On the first, more specific reading, the obvious verses for comparison are those about the lightning that strikes the harvest in the field. For a verse about the intimate relationship among lightning, harvest, and human desire, see {10,6}. And in {155,1}, Ghalib himself explains the 'lightning of the harvest'.

For another, more complex, exploration of the vocabulary of 'pledging', see {228,10}.