Ghazal 53, Verse 1


aamad-e ;xa:t se hu))aa hai sard jo baazaar-e dost
duud-e sham((-e kushtah thaa shaayad ;xa:t-e ru;xsaar-e dost

1) when/since from the coming of the down, the bazaar of the friend/beloved has become 'cold'
2) it was the smoke of an extinguished candle, perhaps-- the down on the cheek of the friend/beloved



[1861, to Ala'i:] Listen, Sahib! It's a rule among lovers of youths [;husn-parast] that they see the youth [amrad] as three or four years younger. They know that he is a young man [javaan], but they consider him a boy [bachchah].

==Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum vol. 1, p. 368
==another trans.: Russell and Islam, p. 254


That is, because the down emerged, the buyers became few, and the bazaar of passion cooled off. So it's as if the down is the smoke of an extinguished candle, for both the arising of smoke, and the decline of the heat of the market and the radiance of beauty, accompany the [extinguishing of the] candle. (48)

== Nazm page 48

Bekhud Mohani:

Because of the emergence of the down, the beloved's admirers went their way, beauty and heart-deceivingness withdrew. Perhaps the down on the beloved's cheeks was the smoke of an extinguished candle. (117)


The solution to these two questions [of why the verse seems to denigrate the beloved's beauty, and why after such denigration the beloved is still called dost] is this: that this verse has been composed not to belittle the friend's beauty, but rather to humiliate petty lovers. This is not sarcasm directed at the beloved, but sarcasm directed at the petty lovers, in that they worship only outward beauty. Where the beard has begun to grow, and the candle of the cheeks has had its light dimmed, their ardor too has cooled. But the speaker is a true lover. He keeps the beloved always as a dost [friend/beloved], and considers him a dost . The Others made themselves scarce when the down began to grow, but for us, the dost is always a dost . A verse of Ghalib's from this same period is: {9,8x}.

== (1989: 65-66) [2006: 82-83]


CANDLE: {39,1}

This is one of only a very few of Ghalib's verses in which the beloved is unambiguously a youth; for more on this see {9,2}. Like {9,2}, this verse too makes use of the beloved's newly downy cheek for its possibilities of wordplay.

The beloved's cheek is brilliant and rosy, and dazzles his lovers as if it were a candle-flame-- until the first down appears on his cheek, after which his lovers begin to lose interest and fall away. By convention, in the ghazal world it is only the pre-pubertal youth, with his still somewhat androgynous beauty, who is considered attractive. Before puberty, his 'bazaar' is 'hot', and there's a lively 'market' for his charms.

Thus the dark growth of down on his cheek is like the ashes of the fire that once blazed there: it commemorates not a passion, but a commercial appeal, that has now grown cold. The idiom baazaar sard honaa , for the market to become 'cold', conveys the falling-off in demand for a product-- the market for the youth is no longer 'hot'. For a market to be 'hot' [baazaar garm honaa] is for it to be 'brisk or active', for something 'to have a good sale; to be in great demand... to be all the rage' (Platts p.122).

Faruqi's explanation is helpful here: the speaker himself is not commercially minded, he is still a faithful 'friend'.