Ghazal 45, Verse 6x


((uzlat-guziin-e bazm hai;N vaamaa;Ndagaan-e diid
miinaa-e mai hai aabilah paa-e nigaah kaa

1) those withdrawal-choosing from the gathering are the sight-exhausted ones
2) the glass of wine is the blister on the foot of the gaze


((uzlat : 'Retiring; removal; retirement, withdrawal (of oneself), secession; self-seclusion'. (Platts p.761)


guzii;N : 'Choosing, selecting; electing; preferring; adopting (used as last member of compounds)'. (Platts p.910)


vaamaa;Ndah : 'Tired, fatigued; --remaining or loitering behind; --unfolded, open, exposed'. (Platts p.1177)


diid : 'Seeing, sight, vision; show, spectacle'. (Platts p.556)


The people in the gathering who became 'withdrawal-choosing' were 'sight-exhausted'-- that is, their sight is wounded because in the foot of their gaze blisters have formed from the glass of wine. That is, the blisters did not allow the gaze to go anywhere. (67)


In this verse, beyond affinity of words there's very little meaning! If the meaning would be pulled out, then it is that those people who are seated in a corner of the gathering are far from joining in; they avoid the beauty of the Cupbearer, or are even/also deprived of the sight of the 'daughter of the vine' [=wine]. Because the bottle [botal] of wine has become a blister on the foot of the gaze, and is an obstruction between them and the Cupbearer of the 'daughter of the vine'. (64)

Gyan Chand:

By diid is meant not the sight of the beloved, but rather the spectacle of the scene of the world. The people who take refuge in the privacy of the wine-gathering have become tired from the spectacle of the world. The wine-bottle [botal] has become a blister on the feet of their gaze. Blistered feet cannot travel. If the feet of the gaze too would be blistered, then one will remain excused from traveling. The people who make the wine-glass their pursuit remain blind to the outer scene.

That meaning of the verse applies if the subject would be declared to be those who are 'withdrawal-choosing' and the predicate to be 'sight-exhausted ones'. If the prose of the verse would be like this: vaama;Ndagaan-e diid ((uzlat-gaziin-e bazm hai;N , then the meaning of the verse will change to some extent and be like this:

The lovers, waiting for a sight of the beloved, remained standing for a long time by the side of the road. Finally they became tired and came in, with the thought of the gathering, and began to divert their hearts with wine. Finally it became a blister on the gaze of waiting.

The former meaning is more appropriate, for those who have fallen into the pursuit of wine no longer have any awareness of the world.

== Gyan Chand, p. 102


GAZE: {10,12}
WINE: {49,1}

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

Those 'exhausted with sight' (and notice also in the definition above 'lagging' and 'exposed', the secondary meanings of vaamaa;Ndah ) are the ones who choose to withdraw from the gathering. Perhaps it's their own eye-'sight' that has simply become tired from over-use; or perhaps the gathering offers 'sights' that dazzle and stupefy the sensitive beholder with their radiance. (The sight of the beloved can even vaporize the lover entirely, as in {78,5}.)

Gyan Chand, to my delight, specifically applies to the first line the principle that I call 'symmetry'; if the reading above is 'A is B', then he also notes the possibility of 'B is A'. In this latter case, he thinks that the sight-exhausted ones have been waiting interminably for the beloved, and finally withdraw not 'from' but 'to' the gathering (thanks to the flexibility of the i.zaafat ). But he also rightly suggests that this meaning is secondary. For in fact the image of the wine-glass as a blister seems best suited to convey the idea of fatigue incurred while drinking, not before drinking.

The glass of wine is like a blister because both offer a round surface and contain liquid. If it's white wine, it could resemble the clear serum that forms inside some blisters; if it's red wine, it could resemble the liquid in a blood-blister. Is this gross? Yes! No doubt we're not actually invited to consider drinking from a blister, but still the verse easily meets my criteria for 'grotesquerie'.

But the imagery of the verse also moves us very rapidly into sheer, unvisualizable abstraction: it equips the 'gaze' with a 'foot'. Surely this is even stranger than equipping the gaze's foot with a blister, because if a foot exists at all, it's easy to imagine that it might be blistered. But how are we to conceive of the 'foot' of a 'gaze'? There's no way to provide it with an 'objective correlative' in the real world.

But then, this verse is the experimental (?) work of a poet aged eighteen or so-- and after all, he decided not to include it in his published divan.