Ghazal 50, Verse 3


likhtaa huu;N asad sozish-e dil se su;xan-e garm
taa rakh nah sake ko))ii mire ;harf par angusht

1) I write, Asad, from/through the burning/pain of the heart, 'hot'/enthusiastic poetry/speech
2) so that no one would be able to criticize/'put a finger on' my pen/writing/letter/word/reproach


sozish : 'Burning; inflammation; ardour, fervour; smart, pain; solicitude; vexation; chafing, fretting'. (Platts p.698)


;harf : 'Nib (of a writing-reed) obliquely cut; a crooked pen; writing obliquely; --a letter of the alphabet; (in Gram.) an indeclinable word, a particle; --a word (so used in lexicons, &c.); --blame, censure, reproach, stigma, animadversion'. (Platts p.476)


'Heat of poetry' has the meaning of 'excellence of poetry', and 'to put a finger on' has the meaning of 'to point out a flaw'. (47)

== Nazm page 47

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Oh Asad, I write such delicate and pure verses that in my poetry opponents can't even point out a flaw'. (90)


The verse has become lofty through wordplay. The literal interpretation is that because of the burning of the heart, my poetry is so hot that nobody can even put a finger on it. (148-49)


The objection can be made, that this closing-verse is ostentatious-- thinking of the regularity of the refrain, the author has been forced to replace [the common word for finger] uu;Nglii with [the Persianized] angusht, and to ignore the unpleasing effect that this creates on the idiom. (125)


This verse has been written only for the sake of the wordplay. It's nothing special. (403)



Another clever, suitable, amusing 'mushairah verse' like {50,1}; see {14,9} for more on the concept.

The wordplay is so clear and universal that it comes through very well even in translation. My burning heart is the raw material that permits me to write such 'hot' verses that nobody would be able, literally, 'to put a finger on' them. In Urdu idiom, 'to put a finger on' is to reproach or blame. In English we have 'to lay a finger on', meaning to touch with some (usually harmful) intention, and 'to point a finger at', meaning to reproach or blame.

This verse is also a kind of riff on the beautifully central word ;harf -- a term has a great number of meanings (see the definition above), of which the relevant ones include: (1) a crookedly cut pen-nib; (2) oblique writing; (3) letters; (4) words; and (5) blame, reproach. The fifth meaning is perhaps partly one of wordplay, to go with the idea of 'putting a finger on'; but it could also be that what the speaker is writing consists of blame or reproach.

His writings in general, and his verses in particular, are thus so 'hot' in temperature that no one can put a finger on them for fear of being burned; and so metaphorically hot and brilliant that no one can 'put a finger on' them by way of reproach or criticism. It makes a suitably witty and grandiloquent closing-verse.