Ghazal 43, Verse 2


mai vuh kyuu;N bahut piite bazm-e ;Gair me;N yaa rab
aaj hii hu))aa man:zuur un ko imti;haa;N apnaa

1) why does she drink much wine in the gathering of the Other, oh Lord?
2) only/emphatically today, her/my test/examination became agreeable to her


man:zuur : 'Seen, looked at; visible; admired; --chosen; approved of, admitted, accepted; sanctioned, granted; --agreeable; acceptable; admissible; --designed, intended'. (Platts p.1078)


imti;haa;N : 'Trial, test, proof, experiment; examination; inquiry; temptation'. (Platts p,81)


That is, if she had wanted to test herself by wine-drinking, if only she had drunk herself into unconsciousness in my company! The complaint to the Lord is that this idea had to come into her heart today, of drinking wine at somebody's place. The late author has so composed it that the meaning emerges: 'Why the hell is she drinking so much wine in the Other's gathering! This is just my ill-fortune-- if she would come to my house today, she would drink a great deal of wine.' (40)

== Nazm page 40


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {43}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

Another aspect of jealousy also emerges-- why did she decide to test herself while I was present? Through ill fortune, this sight was extremely heart-lacerating and upsetting to me. (80)

Bekhud Mohani:

Another aspect is this too-- that the beloved has drunk a great deal of wine in the gathering of the Other so that she would have a chance to act playfully, without formality. But the pride of passion, or unsuspiciousness, doesn't let these words fall from the lover's lips. And his spirit, for his own peace of mind or to maintain his own dignity, has come up with the excuse that the beloved only wants to test her wine-drinking capacity, nothing more than this. (99)


In place of 'drinks' there ought to be 'drank'. For example,

mai bahut-sii us ne pii bazm-e ;Gair me;N yaa rab

'Today she drank a lot of wine in the gathering of the Other, oh Lord!' (185)


TESTING: {4,4}
WINE: {49,1}

Not surprisingly in view of its refrain, this whole ghazal is full of cases in which apnaa is used to mean meraa apnaa . Such cases are pretty straightforward. But in the present verse, the only pronouns in the vicinity apply to the beloved, not the lover. So the obvious sense would become un kaa apnaa , 'her own'.

But I'm inclined to think that apnaa can also apply, secondarily, to the speaker/lover ( meraa apnaa ). The grammar is a bit murky, but not completely impossible. For cases in which apnaa forms are used without the presence of a stated subject see {15,12} and {30,2}. I'm aware that the parallels with this verse are not perfect, and I'm skating on slightly thinner grammatical ice than I'd like, but still I want to suggest that a secondary meaning would work well here and be very Ghalibian, very much the kind of thing that he so often likes to do.

I took advantage of a chance to ask S. R. Faruqi what he thought. He said (July 2000) that apnaa could indeed apply to the speaker/lover, but that he didn't think it made for a very interesting interpretation of the verse. I think that it turns the second line into such a classically Ghalibian double reading that it enhances the force of Bekhud Mohani's point. The lover is so determined not to see the beloved as favoring the Other that he will go to any lengths, however implausible, to provide and endorse alternative possibilities. (If she's doing it in order to test his faithfulness through an ordeal, then indeed it's all about him!)