Ghazal 44, Verse 5x

{44,5x}

fahm zanjiirii-e berab:tii-e dil hai yaa rab
kis zabaa;N me;N hai laqab ;xvaab-e pareshaa;N meraa

1) intellect is enchained by the disconnectedness of the heart, oh Lord
2) in which language is my nickname 'disturbed dream'?

Notes:

fahm : 'Understanding, conception, perception, apprehension, comprehension, intellect, intelligence, sense'. (Platts p.784)

 

zanjiirii : 'Chained, in chains; mad, insane; --a prisoner; --a maniac'. (Platts p.618)

 

rab:t : 'Binding, connecting, uniting; connexion, bond, relation, dependence; consistency, fixity; friendship, intercourse; familiarity, practice, habit, use'. (Platts p.586)

 

laqab : 'A title, an appellation of honour; a surname; a by-name, a nickname'. (Platts p.958)

 

;xvaab : 'Sleep; dream, vision'. (Platts p.494)

Zamin:

He says, Those people who consider me an aware and intelligent man, in view of my words and actions give me the nickname of 'disturbed dream'. They are entirely wrong: my intelligence and awareness are enchained by the disconnectedness of my heart, so whatever I might say or do is the heart's speech and action, not mine. Why is such a discordant nickname given to me? In which language is this nickname? If it's in Urdu, then it's meaningless; and if these words are from some other language and have some other meaning, then I don't know it.

The gist is that those people who complain about my disturbed thoughts and disturbed speech should also keep in mind my disturbed temperament! If they don't do so, then they are of very poor understanding. (84)

Gyan Chand:

Understanding, because of my disconnected imaginings, has become an enchained prisoner. That is, I think such disconnected things that my comprehension itself doesn't manage to understand them; it has ended up paralyzed and afflicted. People have given me the nickname 'disturbed dream', but in which language have they given it? 'To some extent 'disturbed dream' can be understood; my words absolutely can't be understood at all. I seem to be the 'disturbed dream' of some mysterious language.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 115

FWP:

SETS == A,B
BONDAGE: {1,5}
DREAMS: {3,3}
MADNESS: {14,3}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

To be 'enchained' by something that's just the opposite of a sequential, linked-together chain-- to be enchained by a radically broken chain, by 'disconnectedness'! It makes for a fascinatingly paradoxical first line. It sounds crazy, and it surely is, for in the ghazal world it's madmen who are chained up, and what could be more mad than such a condition? If this claim really describes the speaker's mental situation, then he's clearly mad; and if it doesn't describe it, then he's mad to make such a claim. His mind, he says, has been rendered helpless by his heart. Where can the second line possibly go from here?

As so often, the second line starts completely afresh, giving the verse an 'A,B' structure and requiring us to figure out for ourselves the relationship between the two lines. The speaker is asking a bewildered-sounding question about language. Here are some ways in which his question might be connected to the first line:

=The people around the speaker have given him a teasing nickname, the aptness of which is proved by his inability to understand it.

=The speaker in his madness fancies that he has a grand official title of honor, though somehow he can't understand the language it's in.

=The mind has one language, and the heart another: since in the speaker's case the two are at war, which of them has given him his all-too-appropriate epithet?

=The enchained mind has language, while the disconnected heart has only emotion: the result is a life that's like an incoherent dream, in which the dreamer is unable even to find or understand the words to express his condition.

And so on. We all know a lot of ways to frame ambiguous questions about language!

For a far more unforgettably elegant use of a 'disturbed dream', see {155,2}.