Ghazal 31, Verse 3


ba((d-e yak ((umr-e vara(( baar to detaa baare
kaash ri.zvaa;N hii dar-e yaar kaa darbaa;N hotaa

1) after a whole lifetime of abstinence/continence, he would have granted admission once/finally
2) if only Rizvan alone/himself were the Doorkeeper of the beloved's door!


vara(( : 'Timidity, cowardice; --apprehensiveness of doing wrong; abstinence from anything doubtful; --the fear of God; --temperance, continence, chastity'. (Platts p.1188)


baare : 'Once, one time, all at once; at last, at length'. (Platts p.121)


That is, Rizvan has at least this much to be said for him, that after a whole lifetime of worshipping, he allows one to enter Paradise. (31)

== Nazm page 31


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {31}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

If only the doorkeeper were Rizvan (who is the doorkeeper of Paradise), it could have been hoped that after a lifetime of worship he would not have prevented me [from entering]. (61)

Bekhud Mohani:

The point is that entry into Paradise is possible, but access to the beloved's house is impossible. (77)



ABOUT baare : This simple-looking little adverb can mean either 'once' or 'finally'. Often it's used straightforwardly, usually with the sense of 'finally'. But sometimes it's used in clever ways that evoke both possibilities. Other examples: {43,4}; {105,1}. In any case, the present verse is one of the very few instances in which the word doesn't occur at the beginning of the second line.

This whole ghazal, only three verses long, is unusual in not having a formal closing-verse.

The verse relishes its wordplay: baar and baare; dar and darbaa;N. Look at the sound effects too: by my count, of the 22 long and short vowels in the words of the verse, 15 are either aa or a, while only 7 are everything else combined. Unusually, this ghazal ends not with a formal closing-verse, but with just this ordinary one.

The first line is vague in isolation, so that, under conditions of mushairah performance, we would have to wait for the second line before we could grasp the meaning. And then in the second line the amusing, subtle powers of inshaa))iyah speech-- exclamatory in this case-- are once again displayed to great advantage. To say that the beloved's Doorkeeper is as forbidding as Rizvan, the guardian of Paradise, might seem an obvious simile. But here the imagery is so thoroughly reversed that it doesn't even need to be said that the beloved's Doorkeeper is even more severe than Rizvan. Instead, the lover merely exclaims, 'Oh if only it were just Rizvan at her door-- after a lifetime of submission, he would let me in!'.

The unselfconscious exclamation, and that understated, casual little hii , work wonders: they convey both the informational, or ;xabariyah , point, and the lover's reaction to it. The lover is so cavalierly dismissive of Rizvan that he isn't even aware of being dismissive of him: his whole mind is fixed on the far harsher, far more unjust Doorkeeper who actually confronts him.

For after all, he doesn't want to get into Paradise, he wants to get into the beloved's house. And having said that, we at once realize that there's a real difference between the two. The beloved commands a Paradise more truly heavenly than the official one. God is more fair-minded and approachable than the beloved, and Rizvan more mellow and compassionate than her Doorkeeper. This strikes me as another verse that it would be very difficult to read as addressed to a divine rather than human beloved; for more on such verses, see {20,3}.