Ghazal 22, Verse 8


qa:tre me;N dijlah dikhaa))ii nah de aur juzv me;N kul
khel la;Rko;N kaa hu))aa diidah-e biinaa nah hu))aa

1) [if] in a drop the Tigris wouldn't be visible; and in a part, the whole
2) [then] a children's game occurred, a seeing eye did not occur


biinaa : 'Seeing, having sight; clear-sighted, discerning'. (Platts p.211)


That is, the gaze of the [mystical] knower is no game. This verse too [like {22,7}] should be read in the style of a negative [rhetorical] question. (24)

== Nazm page 24

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The excellence with which Mirza Sahib has presented this eloquent [balii;G] theme in these two lines-- it's beyond the power of description. (48)

Bekhud Mohani:

Dijlah: a river in Baghdad; imaginatively, they call every river Dijlah. (58)


This verse's style of expression harmonizes with that of the previous one. (84)


DROP/OCEAN: {21,8}
EYES {3,1}
TESTING: {4,4}

As the commentators note, this verse is a continuation or development of the thought of {22,7}, and repeats many of its formal features as well.

But what is the connection between a boys' game and a seeing eye? And what is the connection of either or both with the Tigris and the part/whole imagery? Knowing Ghalib, we certainly there to be one. For example, if there had been in Ghalib's day a boys' game called dijlah , and especially if it resembled hide-and-seek, then we would be on to something. We would have the 'objective correlative' needed to connect the two lines tightly. No doubt a drop is round like an eye, but that's not enough to be truly satisfying. He could, for example, have said 'It's a mirage, not a seeing eye', or something like that, and then the connection of 'mirage' with water would have made for a fine affinity.

To me it seems that this verse is inferior to the previous one, {22,7}. The enjoyable degree of connection between 'the romance of Hamzah' and 'an account of passion' is not evident between 'boys' game' and 'seeing eye'.

When I discussed this verse with Faruqi, he said (March 2003),

Children's games are make-believe; they pretend that something is there, and in fact very nearly believe that it is there, even if it is not there. Like a child riding a stick, and pretending, even believing for a moment, that she is riding a horse. Or like children playing ghar ghar , meaning: playing at being families, with children of their own, and having parties, and visiting with other families, 'decorating' their 'homes', having phone calls, and so forth. (This game is still very popular, partly because it is so free-wheeling and has no rules.) So an eye that cannot see a whole riverfull in a drop is not a real eye; it is a make-believe eye, such as children's games are.

Then, khel la;Rko;N kaa is like children playing with dolls, whose eyes, ears, and nose etc. are not real but which look like the real thing and the children treat them as if they were real. larko;N here means 'children, immature persons'.

Then, khel la;Rko;N kaa also means something of no import, of no real worth.
The eye is shaped like a tear-drop. The eye is also very often descibed as a boat, or a river. The line recalls these similarities and standard images which reinforce the connection.

I am not really persuaded, but these discussions can go on forever. Now you, dear reader, can make up your own mind.

Note for grammar fans: On the implicit but necessary to , see the discussion of the grammatically similar previous verse, {22,7}.