Ghazal 27, Verse 4

{27,4}*

;Gam-e firaaq me;N takliif-e sair-e baa;G nah do
mujhe dimaa;G nahii;N ;xandah'haa-e be-jaa kaa

1) in the grief of separation, don't give me the trouble of [taking] a stroll in the garden
2) I have no mind/desire/'nose' for inappropriate smiles

Notes:

dimaa;G : 'The brain; head, mind, intellect; spirit; fancy, desire; airs, conceit; pride, haughtiness, arrogance... ; --the organ of smell'. (Platts p.526)

Hali:

He has called the smile of the rose an inappropriate smile since it does not smile at some thought, or because it is surprised, so it's as if its smile is out of place.

==Urdu text: Yadgar-e Ghalib, pp. 140-41

Nazm:

That is, I can't stand to look at the smile of the rose. (28)

== Nazm page 28

Vajid:

Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {27}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

When one is grieved or sorrowful, inappropriate smiles are generally displeasing to one's temperament. There's no question about the verse's excellence. (57)

Bekhud Mohani:

He has not called the smile of the rose inappropriate because it is devoid of understanding. Rather, he has said this because when we are in this state, then what occasion is there for laughter? (71)

Arshi:

Compare {11,2}. (166)

Faruqi:

[Compare his comments on Mir's M{386,1}.]

FWP:

SETS == WORDPLAY

SMILE/LAUGHTER verses: {10,10}; {27,4}; {33,3}; {43,4}; {53,9}; {77,3}; {77,7}; {80,1}; {113,5}; {123,6}; {123,12x}; {130,4}; {149,1}; {166,1}; {171,3}; {203,1}; {212} (all verses)

In the ghazal world the tightly closed bud, 'narrow' and like an oppressed heart, smiles or laughs as it opens into a rose, since its widening petals look like a mouth smiling in enjoyment. And of course, its smiles betoken its imminent death, which works very well for poetic purposes.

This verse also plays on the multiple meanings of dimaa;G , which usually means 'mind, desire' but has a sort of tertiary meaning of 'nose' or 'sense of smell'. (For more examples of this kind of wordplay on dimaa;G , see {11,2}.) Obviously, all these meanings work well together. The rose's 'smile' coincides with its diffusion of perfume, as well as its brilliant color and imminent death. Any or all of these might distress the morbidly sensitive lover; as usual, Ghalib leaves all possibilities open.

Why are the rose's smiles 'inappropriate' or 'out of place'? Hali says it is because the rose smiles at random, for no good cause. The two Bekhuds say it's because the lover is in no mood for joviality and cheer. Both reasons make sense, but I think the latter is closer to the heart of the matter. This is a great verse for expressing the lover's irritable, disaffected mood. Can't you just hear the cranky tone in which he rebuffs the well-meaning friend who is trying to cheer him up?

Compare Mir's treatment of the theme, as he cuts dead the friendly overtures of the roses: M{693,1}. Elsewhere, he perhaps tries to avoid going to the garden in the first place, by taking refuge in postponement: M{1502,2}.