Ghazal 14, Verse 3

{14,3}

garchih huu;N diivaanah par kyuu;N dost kaa khaa))uu;N fareb
aastii;N me;N dashnah pinhaa;N haath me;N nashtar khulaa

1) although I am mad, why would I fall for the friend's trick/beguilement?
2) in the sleeve a dagger hidden, in the hand a lancet revealed/opened

Notes:

fareb : 'Deception, deceit, fraud, trick, duplicity, treachery, imposture, delusion, fallacy; allurement, beguilement, &c.' (Platts p.780)

 

dashnah : 'A dagger, poniard'. (Platts p.518)

 

A 'lancet' [nashtar] was an instrument used for blood-letting, a common medical practice of the day; among other benefits, it was thought to relieve pressure on the brain.

Nazm:

That is, the world's friendship is such that the outer and the inner are not the same. 'In the hand a lancet revealed' is to express sympathy; that is, he shows a purpose of curing, and in his sleeve a dagger is concealed. That is, he intends to slit his throat. (14)

== Nazm page 14

Vajid:

Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {14}

Bekhud Mohani:

'Although I am mad' can be said in a number of cases. That is, hidden in it is the thought of a madman who realizes his situation, after the height of madness has abated. Then, the meaning of the word 'friend' is also worth noticing; that is, even in that situation he holds the beloved dear. [The sympathetic beloved approaches him with a lancet, to bleed him, but he mistakes her radiant wrist for the gleam of a dagger and misjudges her in his madness.] (31)

Naiyar Masud:

1) When the knife is hidden inside the sleeve, how did the madman know if it?.... 2) When someone loses his mind and senses and goes mad, the desire to kill him vanishes of its own accord.... 3) It's not so hard to kill a madman, that the drama of lancet in hand and dagger in sleeve would be necessary. [Whereas Bekhud Mohani avoids these questions, but only through a fanciful and improbable drama in which the beloved's wrist is made to resemble a dagger, etc.]

The madman/lover prides himself on his madness/passion.... The madman thinks the lancet is not a cure, but a diminishing of his madness of passion, as if it were the instrument of death to him.... The apparent lancet in the friend's hand is not really a lancet, but rather it is a dagger hidden in the sleeve (hidden in the sleeve because its power is not apparent; outwardly it's a means for a cure but to me, it's a means of death). 'A dagger hidden in the sleeve' and 'a lancet open in the hand' are not two separate things, but rather the open lancet itself with regard to its inward effect is a dagger in the sleeve. (115-16)

FWP:

SETS
SWORD: {1,3}

MADNESS verses: {4,11x}; {4,16x}; {6,7x}; {6,14x}; {14,3}; {15,12}; {16,6x}; {17,3}; {18,2}; {19,5}; {23,1}; {35,10}, with a list of stone-throwing verses; {36,4}; {40,3}; {44,3x}; {44,4x}; {44,5x}; {51,7x}; {57,6}; {60,12}; {64,1}; {68,5}; {81,13x}; {84,2x}; {85,3}; {91,9}; {91,13x}; {112,1}; {112,5}, with a list of head and wall verses; {112,10}; {113,5}; {113,8}; {119,8}; {120,6}; {130,2}; {132,2}; {139,12}; {141,6}; {147,7x}; {148,1}; {149,10x}; {157,7}; {165,1}; {165,3}; {167,6}; {171,2}; {176,4}; {188,1}; {190,3}; {190,5}; {192,1}; {201,7}; {202,8}; {206,1}; {206,4}; {214,2}; {214,8}; {214,10}; {214,11}; {215,5}; {217,8x}; {220,3x}; {221,3}; {223,2}; {223,3x}; {230,6}

This one is another great verse of Ghalibian ambiguity, like the dream-based {3,3}. I am mad, therefore what I say could be merely a sign of madness-- or maybe not, since I'm sane enough to know I'm mad; or else I could be madly making unfounded accusations that in fact happen to be true. In any case, the 'friend' (who may or may not be the beloved) could be either a real well-wisher of mine, who wishes to bleed me and thus ease the pressure on my brain, or a false 'friend' who is actually trying to kill me, or (as Naiyar Masud argues) both at once, since loss of my madness/passion is a form of death. If {3,3} is a dream verse, this one is an archetypal nightmare verse. On the complexities of fareb , see {71,3}.

And of course, since it's in inshaa))iyah mode, the question of the first line may be a real one-- perhaps there are good reasons that I would, or could, or should fall for the trick, and I'm merely seeking to ascertain what they are. For another verse that enjoyably plays with the (false? true?) cunning of madness, compare {215,5}.

For more on nashtar and the concept of bleeding, see {166,2}.

The term used here for a dagger, dashnah , is less common than the alternative ;xanjar . For a list of ;xanjar verses, see {26,3}. Other dashnah verses include: {59,6}; {72,4}; {115,4}; {186,5}; {233,13}.

In addition to all its other marvels, this verse always strikes me as cheerful and somehow ruefully funny. I imagine the madman in his cell, muttering to himself, spinning elaborate conspiracy theories, proud of his profound insights. Yet also half-apologetically knowing that he's mad. Yet after all, paranoids have enemies too.