Ghazal 16, Verse 9x

{16,9x}

dekhii vafaa-e fur.sat-e ranj-o-nishaa:t-e dahr
;xamyaazah yak daraazii-e ((umr-e ;xumaar thaa

1) I/we saw the faithfulness of the leisure for the sorrow and joy of the age/time/world

2a) a stretch/yawn was the whole length of a lifetime of intoxication/hangover
2b) the whole length of a lifetime of intoxication/hangover was a stretch/yawn

Notes:

fur.sat : 'A time, opportunity, occasion; freedom (from), leisure; convenience; relief, recovery; respite, reprieve; rest, ease'. (Platts p.779)

 

dahr : 'Time; a long period of time; an age; eternity; fortune, fate; chance, adverse fortune, misfortune, calamity, adversity; danger;--custom, habit, mode, manner; care, solicitude; the world'. (Platts p.541)

 

;xamyaazah : 'Stretching; yawning, gaping; --stretching by way of punishment, putting on the rack; punishment, retribution, reward, fruit'. (Platts p.494)

 

((umr : ' Life; life-time, period of life; age'. (Platts p.765)

 

;xumaar : 'Intoxication; the effects of intoxication, pain and headache, &c. occasioned by drinking'. (Platts p.493)

Asi:

The world's leisure and interval for sorrow and ease, we have now seen. The length of a stretch/yawn was, so to speak, the lifetime of an intoxication/hangover. That is, here neither does sorrow remain established, nor does ease. (63)

Zamin:

In the world, a person experiences only two conditions: sorrow and happiness. He says that, 'I have formed an estimate of the persistence/faithfulness of their duration. My experience is that intoxication and joy lasts only for a very little while the limb-breakingness and misery of the hangover that follows it is lifelong. The gist is that in the world there is little happiness and much grief. (58)

Gyan Chand:

In the word ;xamyaazah there's an iihaam , because in connection with ;xumaar the attention goes to the meaning of 'yawn'. But here 'revenge' or 'retribution' is intended. We saw the leisure of sorrow and joy in the world. That leisure showed absolutely no faithfulness. That is, the leisure was very little. Having come into the world, for seeing sorrow and joy we were punished with a lifetime as long as the duration of a single ;xumaar . A ;xumaar is the painful condition of the wearing off of intoxication; thus it's not desirable. Even if we would get something in the world, there will still be the condition of ;xumaar .

Ghalib's accomplishment is that he joined together sorrow and joy both, into the lifetime of a ;xumaar . In ;xumaar there's certainly sorrow, because the body is wracked with pain, and it's the decline of intoxication. Along with this, there's also a suspicion of joy, because ;xumaar is the result of the joy of wine, and in it too to some extent there remains intoxication. (94-95)

FWP:

SETS == SYMMETRY
WINE: {49,1}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Gyan Chand's reading of ;xamyaazah as 'retribution' doesn't seem very appropriate, since there's no indication in the verse of any remotely punishable offense. On the contrary, in fact, the connection of ;xamyaazah and ;xumaar is a classic pairing that pertains entirely to intoxication; for discussion and examples, see {12,2}.

After drinking, a ;xamyaazah is a sign of satisfaction: a stretch and a yawn of intoxicated repletion. And how long does it last? Because of the second line's structural symmetry, we learn either that the ;xamyaazah is the 'whole length of a lifetime of intoxication/hangover' (2a), or that the 'whole lifetime of intoxication/hangover' is the length of a ;xamyaazah (2b). But since ;xumaar can mean both the desirable state of 'intoxication', and the all too painful one of a 'hangover' (see the definition above), a number of possible readings inevitably arise:

=the brief yawn of satisfaction itself, was equal in value to a whole lifetime of intoxication (because life is short)

=the yawn (of satisfied intoxication) itself was equal in value to a whole lifetime of hangover (because we value pleasure even though it's always mixed with pain)

=the whole length of a lifetime of intoxication was no longer than the brief yawn at its end (because life is short and its satisfactions are fleeting)

=the whole length of a lifetime of hangover was no longer than a brief yawn (because life is so short that not even painful experiences are worth mentioning)

As usual for Ghalib, all of these readings work enjoyably with the bittersweetness of the first line. For in it the sarcastic word 'faithfulness' suggests that the speaker feels betrayed by the treacherous brevity of life; but the generally resigned and philosophical tone suggests a detached awareness that life is to short to make it worthwhile even to brood or complain about its brevity.