Ghazal 54, Verse 1


gulshan me;N band-o-bast bah rang-e digar hai aaj
qumrii kaa :tauq ;halqah-e bairuun-e dar hai aaj

1) in the garden the arrangements are of a different mode/kind/color today
2) the ring-dove's neck-ring is the 'circle/gathering of the outside of the door' today


rang : 'Colour, colouring matter, pigment, paint, dye; colour, tint, hue, complexion; beauty, bloom; expression, countenance, appearance, aspect; fashion, style; character, nature; mood, mode, manner, method; kind, sort; state, condition;... --a place of public amusement or for dramatic exhibition, theatre, stage; dancing; singing; acting; sport, entertainment, amusement, merriment, pleasure, enjoyment'. (Platts p.601)


qumrii : 'A turtle-dove; a ring-dove'. (Platts p.795)


:tauq : 'A neck-ring; a collar (of gold, &c., for ornament; or of iron, &c., for punishment; or worn as a badge of servitude); a necklace; a yoke'. (Platts p. 754)


Someone who is not invited into the gathering, and is kept outside, they speak of metaphorically as 'the gathering outside the door'. The meaning is only that today in the garden there's an arrangement such that not even the turtledove can pass. And this theme-- that is, being barred from entering the garden and complaining about it-- is constantly used by the poets. (49)

== Nazm page 49


The 'circle outside the door'-- that is, a link in the chain outside the door. Our beloved is about to come for a stroll in the garden; for this reason, nobody is allowed to enter the garden. (52)

Bekhud Dihlavi:

'The circle outside the door' refers to the niche of the door. Mirza Sahib says, spring has come to the garden, so a different arrangement has been made. And that is that the circle outside the door-- that is, the niche of the door-- has become the turtledove's neck-ring. Today, anyone who comes for a stroll in the garden will be imprisoned by the garden like a turtledove. By convention, in the spring season there's the ebullience of madness. Nowadays, the garden's atmosphere and a stroll in the garden are madness-inducing. (94)

Bekhud Mohani:

Today in the garden the arrangement is of some other style entirely. The turtledove's neck-ring has become a circle outside the door-- that is, today not even he, who is born of the garden and for whom the garden exists, is allowed to set foot inside the garden....

Remark: If we look at it with the death of the sultanate in mind, then this verse is a picture of the destruction and helplessness of the Mughal dynasty, and a sketch of the grip of the East India Company, and Ghalib's foreseeing of the essence of events. (119-20)


Today, in the garden of the mystery of the world, God knows what secrets are being discussed between the Seeker and the Sought, such that for others the entry is barred. (129)



The commentators disagree unusually much about the idiomatic (?) meaning of ;halqah-e bairuun-e dar -- literally, the 'circle/gathering of the outside of the door'. Their divergent views show that the phrase was not well-known in the tradition; perhaps it was obscure even to Ghalib's contemporaries. For another example of a verse based on a now-obscure idiomatic expression, see {55,1}.

And perhaps Ghalib even meant the idiom to be obscure. For doesn't the mysteriousness of its meaning add to the effect? It links too many domains; it offers an embarrassment of interpretive riches; it remains unresolvable. Its (self-conscious) esotericism is reminiscent of {29,2}, in which polish-marks on a metal mirror are called 'a wounded parrot'. The complex and contradictory possibilities of the word 'neck-ring' [:tauq] (see definition above) are surely no accident. (For another example of how multivalently this word can be used, see {113,9}.)

Here's another example, from Mir, M{208,8}:

tirii ;xaamoshii se qumrii hu))aa shor-e junuu;N rusvaa
hilaa ;Tuk :tauq-e gardan ko bhii :zaalim baa;G me;N ;Gul kar

[through your silence, Ring-dove, was the turmoil of madness disgraced
just even/also sway your neck-ring, cruel one-- create a commotion in the garden!]

Surely something mystical and powerful is going on here, something that is, as we learn from the first line, far outside the ordinary. But what can it be? Or rather, how can we tell which of many possible exclusions or seclusions or imprisonments or intimacies is taking place?

And compare Mir's version of a 'difference in the garden' verse: M{1627,5}.