Ghazal 28, Verse 3x

{28,3x}

garmii-e daulat hu))ii aatish-zan-e naam-e niko
;xaanah-e ;xaatim me;N yaaquut-e nagii;N a;xgar hu))aa

1) the 'heat' of wealth/fortune/dominion became fire-setting to a good/beautiful name
2) in the 'house' of the signet-ring, the ruby of the ring became a spark

Notes:

garmii : 'Heat, warmth; warm or hot weather, the hot season; warmth, glow; fervour, fervency, ardour; activity, briskness, throng (of a market); —heat of temperament; heat of system, morbid heat; fieriness, vehemence; passion, rage, anger, excitement'. (Platts p.905)

 

daulat : 'Good fortune, prosperity, happy state or condition, happiness, felicity; riches, wealth; —state, government, monarchy, empire, sovereignty, dominion, rule'. (Platts p.535)

 

aatish-zan : 'Striking fire; that which strikes fire; tinder; touchwood; anything combustible; a tinder-box with the flint and steel'. (Platts p.16)

 

;xaanah : 'House, dwelling, place; receptacle, socket, drawer, partition, compartment'. (Platts p.486)

 

daulat-;xaanah : 'lit. 'House of fortune'; a mansion, palace, house (in polite speech)'. (Platts p.535)

 

;xaatim : ''A signet-ring'; a finger-ring; —a seal, stamp, mark; —end, finish, &c.'. (Platts p.483)

 

nagii;N : 'A precious stone; —a precious stone set in a ring; —a ring, (esp.) a signet-ring; —what fits or sits well'. (Platts p.1152)

 

a;xgar : 'Live ashes; spark of fire'. (Platts p.30)

Zamin:

When they 'seat' the stone in a signet-ring, then beneath it they put a setting [thevaa] to keep it from moving. The poet sees the ruby stone set in a ring to be burning/flickering like fire, and considers that from clashing against the gold the ruby has burnt up; and from this he draws the conclusion that the heat of wealth sets fire to a good name. And naam-e niko and naagiin are related words. (73)

Gyan Chand:

In former times the name used to be engraved on the stone of a ring, so that it was used as a seal. So to speak, the stone of the ring was the cause of the fame/reputation of the name. ;xaanah-e ;xaatim = that circle of the ring in which the stone used to be set. The heat of wealth burnt up a good name like fire. An illustration is that when an expensive stone like a ruby was set into a ring, then it showed the aspect of fire. Since a ruby is only set into the rings of rich people, and it has a similitude with fire, the claim of the first line has been proved.

Another aspect of the verse is that the name can be carved into the stone only when it would be made from some mineral [dhaat]. If the stone is a ruby, then neither can a name be carved into it, nor can it be used as a seal. In this way the fame/reputation and display of a good name is obstructed. Now it has been proved that a token of wealth becomes fire for a name.

== Gyan Chand, p. 107

FWP:

SETS == A,B

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Note: in the Raza text, p. 154, there's an error of calligraphy: maatam appears instead of ;xaatim .

For other verses that play with the meaning of signet-rings, see {4,15x}.

Gyan Chand makes excellent use in his discussion of the hardness of ruby; apparently a ruby is second only to a diamond in hardness, and thus in the near-impossibility of being engraved.

In this 'A,B' verse, we're left to decide for ourselves how to put the two lines together. In what sense does the 'heat' of wealth or power burn down a good name or reputation? How exactly does this abstract moral reflection connect with the specific-seeming physical image of the ruby in the signet-ring becoming a flame of fire? Does the 'heat' somehow light the ruby, or does the ruby generate the heat?

Moreover, what kind of garmii might we envision, and what kind of daulat ? The possibilities for both words range widely (see the definitions above). The verse also invokes, without actually using it, the common polite expression, daulat-;xaanah (see the definition above).

The wordplay with ;xaanah is particularly fine, because the reference can be both to a regular 'house' (of the kind that could burn down) and to the 'socket' or 'compartment' into which the stone of a ring is set (see the definition above); thus the ruby too lives in a 'house'-- one which it proceeds to burn down. The effect of the word ;xaanah is to help draw the two lines together.