Ghazal 41, Verse 2

{41,2}*

jaataa huu;N daa;G-e ;hasrat-e hastii liye hu))e
huu;N sham((-e kushtah dar-;xvur-e ma;hfil nahii;N rahaa

1) I go, having taken on the wound/scar of longing/grief/regret of existence
2) I'm an extinguished/'killed' candle-- I didn't remain worthy of the gathering

Notes:

;hasrat : 'Grief, regret, intense grief or sorrow; --longing, desire'. (Platts p.477)

 

kushtah : 'Killed, slain'. (Platts p.836)

Nazm:

It is only a metaphor for existence. (38)

== Nazm page 38

Vajid:

Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {41}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, I leave the world bearing the wound/scar of the longing for existence; that is, I have given up my life under the compulsion of destiny. My heart didn't want to die. The second line contains a 'claim comprising a proof' [da((vaa muta.zammin-e daliil]. That is, I am an extinguished candle, I am no longer worthy of the gathering. The convention is that when a candle is extinguished, the wick keeps glimmering for a long time, and it's as if it's longing for existence. (76)

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, I myself feel sorrow at the death of my youth. Perhaps it is a 'killed candle', dying right in the flower of its youth. That is, when an extinguished candle is called a 'killed candle', then uncontrollably an image of death, and early death, has been created. It also creates an effect of complaint against the Lord-- that is, this candle did not go out voluntarily; rather, it has been put out. (94)

FWP:

SETS == IZAFAT
CANDLE: {39,1}
GATHERINGS: {6,3}

The 'killed' or extinguished candle bears in its heart the blackened remains of its wick, just as the dying lover bears in his heart the burnt-out (but still smoldering?) wound/scar of the vain longing for life. Both candle and lover have wept their hearts out-- in tears of wax and blood, respectively-- and both remain unsatisfied even as their lives are finished. Both have sacrificed everything they have: the candle has illumined the gathering with its own flaming tears and melting body, while the lover has 'turned his heart to blood' for the sake of the beloved. And what is their reward? A cold, lonely, burnt-out death.

But does the lover complain? He doesn't seem to. He simply observes, matter-of-factly, that he goes to death as inevitably as an extinguished candle is removed from its place. The candle is no longer worthy of the gathering, and the lover has nothing left to offer either. Taking his unquenched (and unquenchable) longing with him, he departs.

This verse is about as close to pathos as Ghalib ever gets-- and that's not very close. The verse is not so much pathetic as it is matter-of-fact and descriptive. There's not a hint of reproach, and no indication that anyone is to blame. In fact it's a remarkably detached observation

Moreover, thanks to its i.zaafat constructions, the first line is an intriguingly ambiguous one. In the case of the wound/scar of longing/grief/regret', we have an 'A of B'-- but is the A identical with B, or caused by B, or merely pertaining to B? Precisely the same possibilities arise for the 'longing/grief/regret of existence'. Thus we have an 'A of B of C'-- or is it an '(A-of-B) of C', or an 'A of (B-of-C)'? The permutations multiply themselves several times over, but they also blur together into a general effect of melancholy.

Note for grammar fans: This is another case of the skewed correlation between Urdu and English tenses (despite their seeming parallelism); for discussion, see {38,1}. In English, considering the present tenses in the verse, we'd say 'I haven't remained worthy'. Ghalib could easily have recast the present tenses into past forms; the fact that he chose not to, illustrates the skewedness that I'm talking about.