Ghazal 42, Verse 10x

{42,10x}*

rab:t-e yak-shiiraazah-e va;hshat hai;N ajzaa-e bahaar
sabzah begaanah .sabaa aavaarah gul naa-aashnaa

1) the signatures/parts of spring are the connection of a single stitched-binding of wildness/wilderness
2) the foliage, alien; the breeze, separated/wandering; the rose, unacquainted

Notes:

shiiraazah : 'The stitching of the back of a book'. (Platts p.740)

 

va;hshaat : 'A desert, solitude, dreary place; --loneliness, solitariness, dreariness; --sadness, grief, care; --wildness, fierceness, ferocity, savageness; barbarity, barbarism; --timidity, fear, fright, dread, terror, horror; --distraction, madness'. (Platts p.1183)

 

juz [plural ajzaa]: 'Part, portion; particle; component part, ingredient; part or section of a book (consisting of eight leaves)'. (Platts p.381)

 

sabzah : 'Verdure, herbage; bloom'. (Platts p.632)

 

begaanah : 'Unknown, a foreigner, stranger, alien'. (Steingass p.223)

 

aavaarah : 'Separated from one's family (= judaa ); without house and home; wandering, roving; astray; abandoned, lost; dissolute; --s.m. Wanderer; vagabond; profligate'. (Platts p.101)

 

aashnaa : 'Acquaintance; friend; associate; intimate friend, familiar; lover, sweetheart; paramour; mistress, concubine; --adj. Acquainted (with, - se ), knowing, known; attached (to), fond (of)'. (Platts p.57)

Asi:

The springtime is the connection of the stitched-binding of wildness. That is, because of springtime some parts of madness have become collected. Because the foliage is alien, the breeze is a wanderer, the rose is unacquainted. (68)

Zamin:

It has been learned that springtime is only a collection of the parts of madness.

An additional theme emerges from this verse: that when springtime itself has difficulty with the parts of wildness, in this season the fervor of our own wildness of madness is no cause for surprise.

This verse of Ghalib's is a poetic revelation. (66)

Gyan Chand:

The elements of which spring is composed-- among them, in reality, there's no strong relationship. Like the parts of wildness, they are scattered/disordered. The foliage is unknown to everyone. The breeze keeps wandering around far away from everyone. And the flower, unacquainted with everyone, remains swaying on a branch. It neither leaves its own place and goes to meet with anyone else, nor does anyone else come to meet with it. From this it's proved that it is unsociable-- or rather, unacquainted.

== Gyan Chand, p. 105

FWP:

SETS
SPRINGTIME: {13,2}
WRITING: {7,3}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

The imagery comes from the realm of book-binding. The parts or 'signatures' (folded page-sections that are stitched as a unit into the binding) of spring, are described as the 'connection' (or tightly bound mutual relationship) of a 'single stitched-binding'-- not of a book, but of va;hshat .

There's an extra idiomatic punch in the phrase yak-shiiraazah , which can also be read as something like 'a bindingful of'; on the idiomatic possibilities of yak expressions, see {11,1}.

And of course, the definition of spring as such a paradoxical pairing, as a 'connection' of 'wildness', is an enjoyable shock. How much mutual 'connection' can different forms of 'wildness' or 'wilderness' or 'savagery' (see the definition above) have, anyway?

When we turn to the second line, we find three examples of such unsociable 'wildness': the foliage is alien, the breeze is a wanderer, and the rose itself is a non-acquaintance. Apparently they don't know each other, and have no wish to do so-- or means to do so, even if they did wish it. They are all separated from each other, all scattered and dispersed-- that is to say, they're pareshaa;N , in the Persian sense of the word.

There's also a clever bit of wordplay, since sabzah-e begaanah , literally 'alien/strange greenery' (see the definitions above), is a standard expression for 'weeds'; for a straightforward example of this usage, see {81,8x}; and for an elegantly implied one, see {67,5x}.

Thus we have the elegant paradox of a 'connection' made up of things that are 'scattered'. Are these three examples among the 'signatures' that themselves constitute the 'connection'? We can't be sure, since the two lines don't make the identification explicit. But certainly these or similar 'signatures' literally 'are' the connection of the stitched-binding of wildness that is spring. And why not? Both halves of the paradox insist on maintaining themselves.

Spring has an identity, it is a volume, a whole, something that makes a coherent 'connection' among various disparate parts. But at the same time, it's like a book in which each of the normally identical 'signatures' is different from all the others. For each of its signatures is not only disparate, but also inherently isolated or antisocial or preoccupied with its own affairs. The energy of spring is a huge upsurge in the life-force of all its separate parts-- one that sends them off with renewed vigor, to be more powerfully themselves. Any 'connection' among such parts must be made at a more cosmic level; or perhaps only abstractly, in our minds.

For more examples of such book-binding imagery, see {10,12}.