Ghazal 56, Verse 6


mire qada;h me;N hai .sahbaa-e aatish-e pinhaa;N
bah ruu-e sufrah kabaab-e dil-e samandar khe;Nch

1) in my glass is the wine of hidden fire
2) on the surface of the dining-cloth, lay out kabobs of the heart of the Salamander


sufrah : 'The receptacle for food; the thing (whatever it be) upon which one eats; a round leathern bag for holding food, so formed as to serve also for a table when spread out on the ground; a tablecloth, napkin'. (Platts p.662)


khe;Nchnaa : 'To draw, drag, pull; to attract, to draw in, suck in, absorb'. (Platts p.887)


That is, when the wine is of hidden fire, then the kabob too ought to be made from the Salamander's heart, for the heart too is an inner [baa;tinii] thing. Here, kabaab gives no pleasure. khe;Nch is a translation [from Persian]; in Urdu idiom one 'selects' [chun denaa] or 'spreads' [lagaa denaa] a dining-cloth. (51)

== Nazm page 51

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, in my glass the wine of passion is hidden, in which there's more heat than in a fireplace. As an affinity with this, the kabob too ought to be made of the heart of the Salamander (the Salamander is a creature that is born in a hearth and at once dies if it leaves the fire). (97)

Bekhud Mohani:

The meaning is that kabobs of the liver of the Salamander, which is born in hearths after the fire burns for a thousand years, are worthy of being our side-dish. From this it becomes clear of what rank this wine itself must be, to have such a side-dish with it. (123)


FOOD: {6,4}
WINE: {49,1}

Ghalib has occasional 'food verses', and in a resolutely abstract, non-physical genre like the ghazal they're often quite striking, not to say grotesque; for more on these, see {6,4}. The present verse is a charming little example, more or less what I would call a 'mushairah verse' (described in {14,9}). The commentators explain it well-- though Nazm quibbles, as usual.

In the speaker's glass is wine of hidden fire; this could be (relatively) literal, of course, or else metaphorical-- in his body is an intoxicated heart heart full of burning passion. Thanks to the i.zaafat , we also can't tell whether the wine 'of' hidden fire is wine that consists of hidden fire, wine that possesses (or is possessed by) hidden fire, or wine that is connected to hidden fire in some other, unspecified way.

In any case, the speaker claims to deserve a little snack with his wine of hidden fire, and a kabob or two 'of' the Salamander's heart-- with all the i.zaafat possibilities noted above-- is just what will hit the spot.