Ghazal 35, Verse 1

{35,1}*

phir mujhe diidah-e tar yaad aayaa
dil jigar-tishnah-e faryaad aayaa

1) again/then wet eyes came to my mind/recollection
2) the heart became {ardent / 'thirsty-livered'} for lament

Notes:

tishnah : 'Thirsty; thirsting (for), eagerly desiring; greedy, insatiable'. (Platts p.325)

 

jigar-tishnah : 'Thirsting, longing'. (Steingass p.366)

Nazm:

In the second line aayaa is used with the meaning of hu))aa ; it's a Persian idiom, and the idiom is not used this way in Urdu. (34)

== Nazm page 34

Hasrat:

The meaning is that the memory of wet eyes again made the heart long to lament. (34)

Bekhud Mohani:

The heart is preparing to lament. At this time my tear-shedding comes to my mind. That is, formerly when I used to be preparing to lament, then wet eyes always used to keep that afflicted one [the heart] company. But all the blood flowed out. Now in the wet eyes dust is flying. How could the eyes keep it company? The point is that now we are in no state for shedding tears and extinguishing the flaring fire of the heart. (82)

Baqir:

Some people take 'wet eyes' to refer to the beloved's wet eyes. (114)

Faruqi:

It is established that jigar-tishnah with the meaning of 'ardent' [appears in at least one early Persian dictionary]. The second point is that jigar-tishnah is no novel construction: it's the inversion of tishnah-jigar [which itself appears in two Persian dictionaries].... From the above discussion it becomes established that in Ghalib's verse jigar-tishnah is entirely correct; in it there's neither obscurity nor novelty nor innovation. (57)

== [2006: 57]

FWP:

SETS == A,B; PHIR
EYES {3,1}
JIGAR: {2,1}

This is one of only a handful of ghazals from which Faruqi has selected every single divan verse as superior.

As usual, so much can be done (and in fact must be done) to figure out the relationship of these two extremely simple lines. Hasrat and Baqir take the first line to be the cause, and the second line the result: wet eyes came to mind, therefore the speaker felt like weeping. Bekhud Mohani takes the second line to be the cause, and the first to be the result: the speaker felt like weeping, therefore he remembered the old days when he actually had tears to weep with. Or, of course, both lines could be parallel, and would just describe his habitual melancholy.

'Wet eyes' are also ambiguous. The speaker's? The beloved's? A sign of grief, and thus grief-evoking? A sign of proper lamentation, and thus nostalgia-evoking? And how are we to read phir -- did this experience happen 'again' (so that it's something that frequently occurs), or 'then' (in response to the second line, or to some other stimulus)? Obviously there's 'wetness' in one line and 'thirst' in the other, but how exactly are they to be connected to each other?

Making the 'heart' appear as 'thirsty-livered' adds to the complexity, since these two organs are often depicted in opposition to each other; for more on this opposition see {30,2} (and also, in the present ghazal itself, {35,4} and {35,6}). Now the heart and liver are somehow working in tandem, or else the heart has its own (metaphorical) liver. But are they working successfully, generating tears? Or are they working unsuccessfully, vainly lamenting their loss of the power to generate tears?

This whole ghazal, one of Ghalib's great classics, is a triumph of that ghazal quality called mood. It's in a 'short meter' [chho;Tii ba;hr], and has in yaad aayaa , 'came to mind', an unusually long and evocative refrain. What ghazal could be easier to memorize, or more tempting to recite? Small wonder that it's been a favorite with singers.

Those with a technical bent of mind might want to notice that this verse has the same kind of 'contrived rhyme' that {26,9} does (see that verse for discussion).

Here's my long-ago attempt at a translation (1985).