Ghazal 46, Verse 1

{46,1}

jaur se baaz aa))e par baaz aa))e;N kyaa
kahte hai;N ham tujh ko mu;Nh dikhlaa))e;N kyaa

1a) she left off tyranny-- but would she leave off?
1b) she left off tyranny, but-- as if she would leave off!

2a) she says, 'Would we (be able to) show our face to you?'
2b) she says, 'What-- would we show our face to you?!'

Notes:

jaur : 'Wrong-doing, injustice, oppression, violence, tyranny'. (Platts p.396)

 

baaz aanaa : 'To come or turn back (from), draw back (from); to leave off, desist, refrain, abstain (from); to give up, abandon, relinquish, renounce; to keep (from), avoid, shun'. (Platts p.121)

 

mu;Nh dikhaanaa : 'To show one's face (to), to appear before (one) with confidence and satisfaction (e.g. kyaa mu;Nh dikhaa))uu;Ngaa ? 'how can I show my face?')

Ghalib:

[1858, to Mihr:] I have sent out books by post to various places. Although I've heard that they have arrived, I haven't yet received any acknowledgements. Verse: {46,2}. Look, my friend, at what the opening-verse of this ghazal is: {46,1}. [He goes on to write out {46, verses 5, 3, 7}.]

==Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum vol. 2, pp. 716-17
==another trans.: Russell and Islam, p. 184
==another trans.: Daud Rahbar pp. 94-95

Nazm:

That is, now out of shame she doesn't show her face; this too is tyranny to me. (42)

== Nazm page 42

Vajid:

Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {46}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

She is so tyrannical-- how can she give up tyranny? That is, she will absolutely, absolutely never leave off her tyranny. (83)

Arshi:

Compare {205,1}. (188, 293)

FWP:

SETS == DIALOGUE; KYA; REPETITION

A classic example of the use of kyaa ; for more on its complexities see {15,10}. The first half of the first line tells us flatly that she gave up tyranny. But immediately that statement is called into question. In the second half of the line, we can't tell whether in fact she might really give up cruelty (1a); or whether it's absurd to think she would do so (1b). The paradoxical effect of both repetition and contradiction between the two halves of the line makes for excellent sound effects too: only a single nasal ending separates the perfect and subjunctive forms of the verb.

Then in the second line we learn that whether she says, or even thinks, that she's giving up tyranny, makes no difference anyway. For if she gives it up, she is then too shamefaced at the memory of her past cruelties to show her face to the speaker (2a). Or else it's equally possible that she has immediately changed her mind or gone back on her word (in another enjoyably relevant sense of baaz aanaa -- see the definition above), such that she's indignant at the very thought that she'd show her face to him (2b).

No matter what, he doesn't get to see her face-- and by mixing and matching, we have four permutations of the lover's reaction, all of them apt, all of them witty and enjoyable.

But such behavior on the beloved's part isn't surprising, after all: in {14,7} she tells the lover to spread his bedding at her door, then instantly reverses herself; and in {17,8} she first murders the lover, then at once repents and swears off murder.

The lover is frustrated, perhaps even miserable; but in this verse his wit hasn't left him, and there's a definite note of teasing and repartee as he points out the beloved's perverse behavior. He almost takes pride in it: her arrogance and capriciousness delight him. If she's perverse in her tyranny, he's equally perverse in his exasperated, amused, acceptance of it. If the beloved is cruel, after all, she's only doing her proper job in the ghazal world.

Note for grammar fans: In the second line, dikhlaa))e;N is just a variant form of dikhaa))e;N . It has the advantage of scanning with an initial long syllable instead of a short one.