Ghazal 15, Verse 8


naagahaa;N is rang se ;xuu;N-naabah ;Tapkaane lagaa
dil kih ;zauq-e kaavish-e naa;xun se la;z;zat-yaab thaa

1) {suddenly / without warning} in this style/'color' it began to drip pure blood--

2a) the heart, which had obtained pleasure/taste from the relish of/for the scratching/digging of fingernails
2b) the heart, because it had obtained pleasure/taste from the relish of/for the scratching/digging of fingernails


rang : 'Colour, tint, hue, complexion; beauty, bloom; expression, countenance, appearance, aspect; fashion, style; character, nature; mood, mode, manner, method; kind, sort; state, condition'. (Platts p.601)


;zauq : 'Taste, enjoyment, delight, joy, pleasure, voluptuousness'. (Platts p.578)


la;z;zat : 'Pleasure, delight, enjoyment; sweetness, deliciousness; taste, flavour, relish, savour; — an aphrodisiac; an amorous philter'. (Platts p.955)


The scratching of fingernails is a metaphor for the scratching of grief. (16)

== Nazm page 16


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {15}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

This is a verse of 'taking flight'. Whatever has been mentioned above, he has finished it. He says that suddenly in that way a longing arose in the heart to write another ghazal in the same ground. (33)

Bekhud Mohani:

All of a sudden the heart, which was acquainted with the relish of pain and difficulty, began to drip blood; that is, the pain-filled heart began in this way to complain. (36)



Bekhud Dihlavi considers the remaining verses of this ghazal ({15,9-15}) to be a separate ghazal; on this see {15,1}. Thus he takes this verse to be a sort of introduction to the new, formally identical ghazal. But nothing in the verse itself requires this reading.

Had the heart found relish 'of' or from the scratching of fingernails (having been scratched was what caused it to bleed), or 'for' the scratching of fingernails (it began to bleed out of sheer relish or longing, or a sort of masochistic fantasy)? The versatility of the i.zaafat is once again displayed to advantage.

And was the heart in a general state of pleasure going back some time, such that it began to drip blood simply as a spontaneous expression of overflowing delight (2a)? Or was there a clear cause-and-effect relationship-- the enjoyable relish of/for scratching was what caused the heart to drip blood? The versatile kih can go either way.

To use rang , literally 'color,' to mean 'style, manner' and so on as well, in a verse with other color imagery, is one of Ghalib's (and everybody's) favorite bits of wordplay-- just think of the range of interpretive possibilities it opens up (see the definition above). What is remarkable about the dripping of the 'pure' blood-- color, beauty, manner, style, suddenness, (un)causedness? Any or all of them, of course-- and we're left to make the decision for ourselves.