Ghazal 37, Verse 2


hamah naa-umiidii hamah bad-gumaanii
mai;N dil huu;N fareb-e vafaa-;xvurdagaa;N kaa

1) all/entirely hopelessness, all/entirely distrust/suspicion--
2) I am the heart of those who have swallowed/'eaten' the deceit/delusion of faithfulness


fareb : 'Deception, deceit, fraud, trick, duplicity, treachery, imposture, delusion, fallacy; allurement, beguilement, &c. ... fareb-;xvurdah , part. adj. Deceived, cheated, duped, gulled'. (Platts p.780)


The first line is entirely Persian, because in Urdu hamah is not used in this way. (37)

== Nazm page 37


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {37}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, from head to foot I've become a picture of hopelessness and distrust. Because I am the heart of those people who have already been deceived by the illusion of the faithfulness of ardor; that is, those lovers who believed the beloved to be faithful and endured various kinds of harm from her, and finally, after experiencing failure, knew hopelessness. (72)

Bekhud Mohani:

This verse is in the 'device of two languages' [;san((at ul-lisaanain]. The first line is in Persian, the second in Urdu. (88)


In order to prove this theme, how praiseworthy was his search for a simile, and how suitable to the situation. The entire concordance between the illustration and the thing illustrated-- that is Mirza's special ability. The power of expression of the first line, too, is a special thing in this verse. (105-06)



On this ghazal as a kind of unlabeled verse-sequence, see {37,1}. Like its predecessor, the present verse has a free-floating depiction of a mood as its first line-- one that is only interpretable in retrospect, after using the second line as a kind of substratum to learn what is being described.

Even then, how much do we really learn? Does the first line describe the speaker, the heart, the deceived ones, or their situation in general? And in what sense can one describe oneself as the heart of a number of other people, anyway? This is nothing if not a verse of mood. When it's put together with its predecessor, the effect is melancholy, bleak, and also mysterious.

Nazm observes, probably somewhat tartly, that the first line is in Persian, because hamah isn't used this way in Urdu. This sounds like one of his characteristic quibbles; Ghalib constantly uses Persian words in Urdu settings, by simply adopting them or coopting them. By contrast, Bekhud Mohani gives Ghalib credit for deliberately choosing to use the 'device of two languages' [;san((at ul-lisaanain]-- that is, to create what we would call 'macaronic' verse, with the first line Persian, and the second line Urdu.

A MACARONIC GHAZAL: On the evidence of the published two-verse ghazal, it's impossible to choose between these possibilities (an isolated Persian word versus deliberate and systematic macaronic-ness). But when we look at the whole ghazal, it becomes clear that Bekhud Mohani is right. For in each of the four remaining verses, the first line consists entirely of Persian words and constructions, without a single distinctively Urdu word or construction. This makes the opening-verse, {37,1}, the only verse in which the first line can be said to be officially in Urdu. And even in that case, it's extremely Persianized in its language; its Urdu-ness is anchored only by the kaa -- and that kaa itself is compulsory, since it's the refrain.

So here we have a remarkable early experiment by Ghalib: a basically macaronic ghazal, with first lines fully in Persian and second lines in Urdu. Which makes it all the more conspicuous that the refrain is kaa -- a grammatical form that belongs uniquely to Urdu and is thus guaranteed to be meaningless in Persian. Why didn't Ghalib make the ghazal perfectly macaronic, by finding an ambidextrous refrain-word that could be at home in both languages? There are hundreds of candidates among the nouns alone. Or else he could have chosen to abandon the refrain and provide only a rhyme, which would have given him even more leeway.

But on the other hand, he also chose a rhyme, urdagaa;N , that was conspicuously a Persian passive past participial form combined with a Persian plural ending. The resulting verses are guaranteed to have in their second lines at least one highly Persianized grammatical form (the rhyme word). And in fact, most of them have other conspicuously Persianized constructions as well. But since they all have not only the obligatory kaa , but also huu;N (or, in two cases, mai;N huu;N ), their Urdu-ness, however Persianized they may appear, can't be in doubt.

It's thus clear that the young poet was experimenting: he was playing with Persian, rather than slavishly Persianizing. And even then, when he came to publish his divan, he omitted all the verses from this unique ghazal except the necessarily non-macaronic opening-verse and the ambiguous second (since the single word hamah can easily be considered to have been coopted into Urdu). So perhaps for divan purposes he was choosing verses that were more widely accessible.

Another intriguing case that comes to mind: one single occurrence of kaa is all that prevents the national anthem of Pakistan from being in Persian. I wonder if we should consider it too to be a macaronic poem?