Ghazal 35, Verse 10

{35,10}*

mai;N ne majnuu;N pah la;Rakpan me;N asad
sang u;Thaayaa thaa kih sar yaad aayaa

1) I, against Majnun, in boyhood/childishness, Asad,
2) had picked up a stone-- when {I got hold of myself / 'the head came to mind/recollection'}

Notes:

la;Rakpan : 'The condition of being a child, the state of childhood; boyhood, childhood'. (Platts p.956)

Nazm:

That is, then they would have struck my very own head. (35)

== Nazm page 35

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, in the time of my boyhood, imitating the boys, I had picked up a stone against Majnun. But at once I recollected myself. That is, the thought occurred, in my head too this same kind of madness of passion is accumulated. That is, my temperament from childhood onward was that of a lover. (69)

Bekhud Mohani:

In childhood, I had picked up a stone against Majnun. But my power of empathy was so strong that I felt pain, and I reflected that such a person is worthy of compassion. If someone would treat me that way, I would feel pain. (84)

FWP:

SETS == IDIOMS
MADNESS: {14,3}

What an elegant verse of wordplay! The idiom sar yaad aanaa means to get hold of oneself, to gain control of oneself'; but of course its literal meaning is 'for the head to be remembered'.

In the ghazal world, boys mock and taunt madmen, and follow them around throwing stones at them. Other verses about such stone-throwing: {77,1}; {92,5}; {130,2}; {138,3}; {165,3}.

Majnun is the consummate mad lover. Who more than he would receive a shower of stones? Even from the future lover who speaks in this verse, he barely escapes, when at the last moment the boy recovers either his maturity or his prudence ( la;Rakpan can mean a state of 'childishness' as well as literal childhood).

Needless to say (at least, I hope it's needless), this is not an 'autobiographical' verse about the early years of the poet Ghalib himself, but a glimpse of the archetypal childhood of the archetypal lover whose first-person voice is the subjectivity of the ghazal world.

Compare Mir's elegantly ambiguous treatment of a very similar theme: M{1312,6}.