Ghazal 21, Verse 11

{21,11}

kiyaa kis ne jigar-daarii kaa da((v;aa
shikeb-e ;xaatir-e ((aashiq bhalaa kyaa

1) who made a claim of courage/'liver-possession'?!

2a) as if a lover has any patience/endurance of temperament!
2b) what, for goodness sake, is a lover's patience/endurance of temperament?
2c) for goodness sake-- does a lover have any patience/endurance of temperament?

Notes:

jigar-daarii : 'Boldness, bravery, valour'. (Steingass p.366)

 

shikeb : 'Patience, long-suffering'. (Platts p.731)

 

bhalaa : 'Good, excellent, virtuous, righteous; honest, respectable; behevolent, kind; healthy, well, sound; fortunate, prosperous; strange, wonderful, admirable; comical, droll; --adv. & intj. Well, very good; how fortunate! forsooth, in sooth, of a truth; strange'. (Platts p.190).

Nazm:

That is, I absolutely don't make the claim that I can have any peace without you. (23)

== Nazm page 23

Vajid:

Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {21}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, the tyranny or negligence or troubles of separation that seek to make me writhe with restlessness-- when did I ever make before you a claim of liver-possession, that is, of courage and strength? (46)

Bekhud Mohani:

In this verse is a picture of an incident. [The lover is persuading the angry beloved that he never made any arrogant claims of fortitude.] (55)

FWP:

SETS == EXCLAMATION; IDIOMS; KYA; MULTIVALENT WORDS ( bhalaa )
JIGAR: {2,1}

ABOUT bhalaa : The verse centers on bhalaa kyaa . I've given the full meaning from Platts, to show its range. (It mustn't be confused with balaa expressions; on them see {58,1}.) The literal meaning of bhalaa is something like 'good', often with overtones of almost simplicity or naivete (for an example of this straightforward use, see {162,9}). But colloquially, bhalaa becomes an interjection that vigorously rejects, or expresses lively irritation or vexation about, whatever is being said. (This sarcasm is what Platts is trying to get at in the second part of the definition, though it doesn't emerge very clearly.) Here are some other such uses: {114,4}, {153,1}.

I originally translated this colloquial sense as 'what the hell!', which conveyed the slangy, indignant energy better than any other expression I could think of. But the reference to 'hell' made the English phrase sound more radical than bhalaa does in Urdu. My wonderful ghazal class of spring 2009 thought 'what the hell' was overdone, and after some brainstorming we came up with 'for goodness sake', which has the advantage of retaining the literal sense of the word bhalaa . They all firmly endorsed the change, so even though I was a bit sulky about it, I've now made it. And I dedicate this choice of wording to the collective will of that excellent and inspiring group of students. (Hi, everybody, wherever you are-- remember our evenings in Kent 522B!)


In the first line, jigar-daarii is an excellent choice of words, because in addition to its official meaning of 'courage' (see the definition above), it literally means 'liver-possession'. And in ghazal physiology, as we in the audience are expected to know, the liver is the source of fresh blood. A lover without a liver will quickly weep away all his blood in the form of bloody tears, or see it flow out of his wounded heart with no prospect of replenishment. So his doom is imminent-- how could he possibly make any claim of fortitude or endurance?

The enjoyable part of this inshaa))iyah verse is its tone of indignation. It takes what would normally be a reproach-- the charge that the lover has no fortitude or endurance-- and twists it into an accusation. 'What! Who made such a stupid claim as that of having fortitude? Certainly I never did! The very idea! What the hell-- as if lovers have any patience/endurance of temperament!'

The speaker feels a twofold indignation, in fact. To be suspected of claiming to have patience/endurance or fortitude is an insult, since in his view no true lover would be rash or foolish enough to make such a claim. And it seems from the second line that it's equally insulting for a lover to be suspected of having patience/endurance or fortitude. After all, it's a lover's proper duty to be wild, transgressive, bound for death and destruction, like the Moth-- what an insult to be described in terms appropriate to the Advisor! The lover's indignation is a delight to behold.