Ghazal 29, Verse 5x


i.s:tilaa;haat-e asiiraan-e ta;Gaaful mat puuchh
jo girah aap nah kholii use mushkil baa;Ndhaa

1) don't ask about the terminology of the prisoners of heedlessness/listlessness!
2) the knot that they themselves didn't open-- they versified/'bound' it as 'difficult'


i.s:tilaa;haat : 'Phrases, idioms; conventional terms, technicalities'. (Platts p.58)


asiir : 'Bound, tied, made captive; --s.m. Prisoner, captive'. (Platts p.55)


ta;Gaaful : 'Unmindfulness, heedlessness, forgetfulness, neglect, negligence, inattention, inadvertence, indifference, listlessness'. (Platts p.328)


He says that those who are accustomed to heedlessness/negligence have said a fine thing! --where they were unable to do some task, they have simply said that 'This is a very difficult task, who could do it?'. Here, instead of simply rejecting this, Mirza has said to those accustomed to heedlessness, that heedlessness too is one kind of simple rejection/refusal. kholnaa and baa;Ndhnaa are words that have a .zil((a with girah .

== Zamin, p. 40

Gyan Chand:

Those people who are the prey of the beloved's heedlessness/negligence-- how can their terminology be described?! That problem they're not capable of solving, they declare to be difficult. Thus they ought to reflect that if it can't be solved by them, it's still not necessary that it will be difficult for other people. For example, a knot is before them: how might the beloved's attention be obtained? Now since they themselves are incapable of this, they will say that to obtain the beloved's attention is extremely difficult. Although how many people must there be to whom the beloved pays attention, and for them this problem is not difficult!

If this verse be taken with regard to the Divine, then the meaning will be more appropriate. Man is the prey of the heedlessness of the True Beloved. He can't see the truth of the world; thus he declares it to be difficult. If he were not deprived of the affection of the Beloved, then insight into the Truth would not be difficult.

== Gyan Chand, p. 77


BONDAGE: {1,5}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Of course these prisoners could be those who have been worn down by the heedlessness and negligence of the beloved, and have been left so feeble that they're incapable not only of solving problems, but even of assessing the problems to be solved. This is Gyan Chand's reading.

But if we assume that the beloved's 'heedlessness' and 'negligence' have included a failure to 'tie up' [baa;Ndhnaa] her prisoners properly, then new possibilities appear; suddenly we have real connection between the lines. Now we realize that the prisoners are also so devoted to her, and/or so mesmerized by her beauty (like deer in the headlights), that even though she hardly bothers to tie them up, they themselves are eager collaborators: they don't even try to untie themselves, they hasten to declare the knot too 'difficult'.

Equally compellingly, in an elegant show of the versatility of the i.zaafat , they could just as well be prisoners 'of' an 'indifference, listlessness' of their own. For the verse doesn't say the knot is one that they 'couldn't' open, but that it's one that they 'didn't' open [nah kholii]. And of course, this knot could be part of the fastenings of the cords or bonds that make them 'prisoners' in the first place. So perhaps, in their listlessness and languour, they don't even care about escaping at all? As an excuse for not opening the knot (as perhaps they could perfectly well do), they claim that it's so very 'difficult'.

And as an additional layer of enjoyable complexity, these prisoners are poets. We are learning about their technical terminology [i.s:tilaa;haat], and about how they versify-- literally (and so appropriately) 'bind'-- words into metrical lines. For more on the literary sense of baa;Ndhnaa , see {29,2}.

For more on 'knot' verses, see {8,2}.

Note for grammar fans: The grammar of the second line must be something like jo girah kih unho;N ne apne aap nah kholii , with the subject colloquially omitted, to make the sense of it work.