Ghazal 22, Verse 9

{22,9}*

thii ;xabar garm kih ;Gaalib ke u;Re;Nge purze
dekhne ham bhii gaye the pah tamaashaa nah hu))aa

1) there was a hot rumor/report that {Ghalib will be torn to pieces / pieces of Ghalib will fly}
2) we too went to see, but the/a show/spectacle did not take place

Notes:

Nazm:

It's an expression of his disgrace and alienation, that people consider him a spectacle. (24)

== Nazm page 24

Bekhud Dihlavi:

Mirza Sahib, as is his habit, has shown mischievousness in this closing-verse too. He has presented a commonplace theme in a novel aspect and in new words. The meaning is only this much: that the beloved had appointed a day to test Ghalib's love. [To the regret of the assembled spectators] in the test of passion and faithfulness, without being tested he was successful. (48)

Bekhud Mohani:

The people of the world consider the disgrace and destruction of others to be a spectacle. And if somebody somehow escapes, then instead of happiness they feel regret....

One commentator describes the meaning of this verse like this: We too went to see the spectacle, but the beloved's negligence was displayed. She had promised the murder, and the lover himself, careless of his life, went there. But here too the beloved broke her promise, and went back on [her pledge of] taking his life. (58)

FWP:

SETS == DIALOGUE
TAMASHA: {8,1}

The two Bekhuds seem to take the verse as a straightforward depiction of an episode between lover and beloved. But then they differ with each other on its nature, with Bekhud Dihlavi seeing it as a triumph for the lover, and Bekhud Mohani as another in a string of failures and betrayals. So it couldn't be that straightforward after all.

To me it's reminiscent of {22,6}, in which it's not clear whether the lover's fate is to be at the center of an unprecedented turmoil of sorrow and affliction-- or at the center of nothing at all. Here too, there's a hot rumor that Ghalib is to be-- what? torn apart? beaten up? abused and humiliated? Literally, that his 'pieces will fly'. (And if read literally, this could be even a miracle of some kind.) What or who will cause this? Will it be physically painful, or even fatal, or merely socially humiliating? Needless to say, no answers are forthcoming.

Then all that we learn in the second line is that the speaker, an eager spectator, went to see, but tamaashaa nah hu))aa . (On the double worldly-mystical possibilities of tamaashaa , see {8,1}.) Since there are no articles in Urdu, this can mean that either 'the spectacle' or 'a spectacle' didn't take place.

Which of course leaves plenty of further questions. Did the whole thing (worldly or mystical) not happen-- Ghalib's pieces were not made to fly? Or did it happen, but in some anticlimactic way not worth seeing, so that there was none of the big 'spectacle' the disappointed gawker had been hoping for? Or was there simply nothing at all in public view, no event whatsoever for the gawkers to observe? Ghalib could have been torn to pieces in private, or silently, or invisibly. After all, isn't that what happens to the lover all the time anyway?