Ghazal 33, Verse 1


yak ;zarrah-e zamii;N nahii;N bekaar baa;G kaa
yaa;N jaadah bhii fatiilah hai laale ke daa;G kaa

1) not a single grain of the earth of the garden is useless
2) here even/also the path is the wick/bandage of the tulip's wound/brand


fatiilah : 'A wick; a match; a fuse'. (Platts p.776)


laalah : 'A tulip; (in India, also) the red poppy'. (Platts p.947)


daa;G : 'A mark burnt in, a brand, cautery; ... scar, cicatrix; wound, sore; grief, sorrow; misfortune, calamity'. (Platts p.501)


If we take daa;G to mean 'wound', then fatiilah is that rolled-up bandage that they put in a wound, and if we take it to mean [a burning] 'lamp', then fatiilah [as 'wick'] is the cause of its radiance. In the first case, the lush growth of greenery has caused the path to grow so thin that it's become like the vein of the tulip. And the 'wound' is the special feature of the tulip because it would prove the claim of excess against the numerousness of the colorful roses and the intensity of the greenness of the greenery. And in the second case, it means that the path has the same affinity with a tulip that a wick does with a flame. (31-32)

== Nazm page 31; Nazm page 32


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {33}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says that this time spring has come to the garden so riotously that not a grain of earth has remained useless: the garden paths have become covered with greenery, and it's as if they have become ointment-covered rolled-up bandages for the tulip's wound. (62)

Bekhud Mohani:

Even the path, which separates the gardens, has doubled the beauty of the tulips. As if it were a wick, through which the lamp of the tulips was lit.

[Also,] in this verse is the theme of the insubstantiality of the world.... The path is illumining the fact that the world of luxury and joy has no stability; rather, the fruit of seeking worldly enjoyment is a wound-- and that too a wound like the tulip's, which remains forever. (78)


ROAD: {10,12}
ZARRAH: {15,12}

ABOUT THE laalah AND ITS daa;G : By convention the laalah has a 'wound' or 'scar' in its heart, indicated by its dark, scorched-looking center; thus its heart resembles that of the lover, which has at its center the black suvaidaa (on this see {3,2}), and is flaming with passion, and finally burns itself out (and which also melts into bright red blood the color of the flowers). In the real world, there are lots of species of tulips (and in India, red poppies; see the definition above), with all kinds of different-looking centers; but in the ghazal world, they all are inwardly dark or blackened, to show that the flower's heart is scorched or burnt-out. Other verses that invokes the tulip's 'wound' or 'brand': {146,4x}; {155,1}; {230,1}.

Nazm explains the wordplay of daa;G and fatiilah . You might think that in a gorgeous, voluptuous garden the path through it would be 'useless' in contributing to the visual effects. But far from it. The long, narrow path can serve as a certain kind of rolled-up bandage used for deep wounds and called metaphorically a 'wick'. And, of course, since the tulip's wound is a flaming one contained inside a deep cup, it resembles an oil lamp, and the path can act as a a 'wick' for it.

Thus in one sense, the fatiilah as a wick makes possible the flame of the tulip; in another sense, the fatiilah as a bandage soothes the fiery wound of the tulip. It thus plays two contradictory roles at once, both of them crucial. The path that we thought was a neutral, useless interruption of the garden, useful only for permitting human access, turns out to be complexly integral to the whole life and beauty of the garden itself.

And the path itself, the particular word jaadah , seems to be a part of Ghalib's regular tool kit of highly abstract images; for other examples, see {9,4}.

The word yaa;N , 'here', may mean 'in the garden', thus suggesting what an unusually comples microcosm the garden really is. Or it may mean 'in this world', thus suggesting that the world is full of signs that have meaning for the mystically perceptive (consider {13,1}). What is here a single grain of dirt, ;zarrah , is normally conceived of by Ghalib as a sand-grain, and in that role too it is is full of mystical possibilities (see {16,4}).

We don't get to know any of this until the second line, of course. The first is a general statement; the second provides an instance or proof of it.

Different kinds of daa;G formations: a tulip, and a red poppy: