Ghazal 33, Verse 8x


josh-e bahaar kulfat-e na:z:zaarah hai asad
hai abr punbah rauzan-e diivaar-e baa;G kaa

1) the ebullience of spring is a trouble to the gaze, Asad

2a) the cloud, is cotton in/of the crevice-work of the garden wall
2b) the cotton in/of the crevice-work of the garden wall, is a cloud


kulfat : 'Trouble, vexation, distress, inconvenience'. (Platts p.843)


na:z:zaarah : 'Sight, view, look, show; inspection; —amorous glance, ogling'. (Platts p.1142)


Mirza had to give for the cloud the simile of cotton; otherwise, what meaning would it have for the ebullience of spring to be a trouble to the gaze? Though indeed, the Sufistically inclined can take the meaning to be that the crude/thick substance of the present world prevents any seeing of the delicacy and subtlety of the true/real world.

== Zamin, p. 69

Gyan Chand:

Springtime is always called a comfort/rest to the gaze. Ghalib, parting company with them all, called it a trouble to the gaze. In the second line, between the cloud and the cotton, which one would be established as the subject and which one as the predicate-- from that, various meanings emerge.

(1) Asad, the excessive ebullience of the spring is a cause of the confusion/agitation of the gaze. It is a whole scene of the ebullience of spring. The clouds will overspread the sky, but no one will want to go out of the house when the clouds rain down-- as if the cloud has become like cotton in the holes of the garden wall. As long as the cotton was not there, through the holes the scene of the garden could be seen. The cotton closed off the path of sight. The clouds are also, like that cotton, an obstruction in the path to the sight of the garden. It has thus been proved that the uncommon ebullience of spring is a trouble to the sight. The prose order of the second line will be: abr rauzan-e diivaar-e baa;G kaa punbah hai .

(2) The ebullience of spring is a cause of trouble for the gaze. How long will we wander around enjoying the spectacle? Our eyes grow tired. For this reason cotton is placed in the crevice-work of the garden wall; this provides great comfort/rest. We are compelled to leap up and peer through the crevice-work in a restless manner-- then the crevice-work has been closed up, we have become free of care. So to speak, the cotton in the crevice-work has been proved to be as pleasing as the coming of the cloud in our hot country. The prose order of the second line will be: rauzan-e diivaar-e baa;G kaa punbah abr hai .

== Gyan Chand, pp. 105-106


GAZE: {10,12}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; for the sake of completeness (since it's the only unpublished verse in this ghazal), I have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

On the nature and appearance of a rauzan , see {64,4}. On the use of cotton ( punbah ) in a rauzan to block out light, see {87,4}.

Gyan Chand's two readings of the second line correspond to mine, and he carefully explicates this example of the device that I call 'symmetry' (that is, 'if A=B, then equally B=A'). His systematic reading pleases me very much, because it's so rare that any of the commentators take note of such elegant devices.

I might slightly differ with him about how to unpack those readings. To me, the cloud-as-cotton reading (2a) suggests that the radiant dazzle of the brilliantly colorful garden in the spring sun is too much-- it tires the speaker's eyes, it gives him a headache; so that the darkness brought by a sky overspread with heavy clouds is a welcome relief. And the cotton-as-cloud reading (2b) suggests that even if the speaker would stuff cotton into the crevice-work of the garden wall, the brilliance of the garden is so overpowering that the effect would be not a blocking of the view but simply the presence of another sign of spring, a (white) 'cloud'.