Ghazal 54, Verse 5x


taa .sub;h hai bah manzil-e maq.sad rasiidanii
duud-e chiraa;G-e ;xaanah ;Gubaar-e safar hai aaj

1) by dawn there is arrival at the desired/intended destination
2) the smoke of the lamp of the house/chamber, is the dust of travel, today


rasiidan : 'To arrive, attain; to be accomplished, perfected, finished; to ripen, mature, mellow'. (Steingass p.577)


By daybreak I must arrive at my desired destination. The smoke of the lamp of my home seems to me to be the dust of travel-- whether the desired destination is one that I have resolved to reach by daybreak, or whether it is death, such that by daybreak I will be finished off and will complete the journey of my life.

== Asi, p. 104


In this verse the traveler is the poet himself, and his destination is the final destination. The second line is allegorical [mi;saalii]-- that is, by daybreak the journey of our life is finished. The lamp smoke itself is saying that 'I am not smoke, I am the dust of the road'. That is, my own condition itself is telling me that by daybreak it will be finished.

== Zamin, p. 150

Gyan Chand:

The poet wanted to say manzil-e maq.suud ; but compelled by the meter, he versified manzil-e maq.sad . When someone travels fast on a dirt road, then dust keeps on rising. The rising smoke of the lamp has a similarity with the flying-up of the dust of the road-- thus it shows clearly that the lamp too is making some journey. It has to arrive at the desired destination by daybreak; it will keep moving along through the whole night. What is the desired destination? After the journey of life, it is death, which will show itself in the form of the lamp's being extinguished.

Asi has made the first line to be about mankind's journey of life; and Sandelvi, about the way a sick person passes the night. My view is that first of all one should take both lines to be about the lamp. After this, then one can take both lines with regard to human life. In this way the whole verse will become allegorical [tam;siilii].

== Gyan Chand, p. 182



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

For another verse about the smoke of the lamp, see {33,4}.

Gyan Chand is surely right that manzil-e maq.suud must have been what first occurred to the poet, because it is such a common 'petrified phrase' that in such a context it is just what would occur to anybody, from that day to this. (There is even a novel with that title.) But if Ghalib ended up with manzil-e maq.sad , both the grammar ('the destination that is the goal/purpose') and the meaning still work perfectly well. And there's no reason to believe he would have felt unhappy with it, or at all constrained. It's just different enough to evoke the petrified version of the phrase-- but then also to de-familiarize it, so that we're obliged to encounter the meaning afresh. And that's just the kind of thing Ghalib delights in doing in any case.

As Gyan Chand also notes, there's no reason to separate the two lines, since the whole verse can either be about an oil lamp (and its metaphorical 'journey' toward being blown out at daybreak), or else about the speaker's lifespan (and his metaphorical journey through the 'night' of life to the 'daybreak' of death). The refrain aaj doesn't fit very well, however, since the smoky oil lamp would only be lit at night.

Especially in this latter case, the usual metaphorical relationship of life as a day, and death as the night that ends it, is intriguingly inverted. A similar trick is played, more richly and powerfully, in {78,7}. And there's always Mir's M{7,2}.

It's also enjoyable to imagine the poet as sitting up all night to struggle with the process of composition, so that even within his own home or chamber [;xaanah], sitting at his table by the light of his smoky lamp, he is on the (mental, imaginative) road. In fact to him the lamp-smoke is like opium, as in {33,4}.