Ghazal 57, Verse 6


hai junuu;N ahl-e junuu;N ke liye aa;Gosh-e vidaa((
chaak hotaa hai garebaa;N se judaa mere ba((d

1) madness is, for the people of madness, an 'embrace of leave-taking'
2) 'tearing' is [habitually] separated from the collar, after me


vidaa(( : 'Adieu, farewell; parting; bidding farewell'. (Platts p.1183)


'Tearing' takes leave of the collar of the people of madness, as if Tearing is the 'embrace of leave-taking', for after me it will have departed from the people of madness. The place for hai was after vidaa(( , but because of the necessities of the verse he moved it [to the beginning of the line]. (52)

== Nazm page 52

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'tearing' has become separated from the collars of those madmen who constantly keep their collars torn open. That is, after my death 'tearing' won't come, even by accident, near any collar. The meaning is that after me, the age will be devoid of accomplished ones; no such lover as I will be born again. (98)

Bekhud Mohani:

After us, madness is becoming separated from the people of madness, and 'tearing' is becoming separated from the collar. That is, it was we alone who, in the turmoil of madness, seized our garment and turned the 'tearing of the collar' and 'the tearing of the garment-hem' [chaak-e daaman] into the same act. Now nobody will be able to do this feat. (125)


MADNESS: {14,3}

ABOUT THE 'EMBRACE OF LEAVE-TAKING': Ghalib is fond of this paradoxical gesture, the aa;Gosh-e vidaa(( or 'embrace of leave-taking'. The embracer is said to 'open' an embrace: After the opening of his or her arms, the embracer seeks to enfold and tightly 'enclose' the embraced one. But even after the most desperately tight, prolonged, enclosed embrace, there's always the terrible moment of re-opening or 'loosening' the embrace to release the embraced one. Sometimes a verse actually uses aa;Gosh-kushaa , 'embrace-opening', thus also making specifically available the sense of kushaa as 'loosening' (Platts p.835). Then the small first gesture of the opening of the embracer's arms to release the embraced one from close contact is carried forward through the embraced one's departure on a long, far, uncertain journey. The sequence of opening, enclosing, opening, releasing, losing is one that Ghalib envisions as happening throughout the cosmos: for examples see {1,6x}; {2,3x}; {74,1}*; {185,1}; {187,2}; {213,2}; {224,2x}; {226,8x}; {230,4} // {276x,3}; {328x,2}; {365x,2}.

The first line tells us that for madmen, madness 'is' an 'embrace of leave-taking', a farewell hug. An embrace normally requires two parties. One party might perhaps be the mad lover himself, but who, or what, would be the other? We might take the embraced party to be a semi-personified 'Leave-taking'; such an embrace sounds very odd, but it could be seen as a proof of madness. Alternatively, the evocation of an 'embrace' that involved only one party, or none at all, might similarly be a proof of madness.

A third possibility: the two embracing parties could be the (semi-personified?) 'tearing' and the 'collar' from the second line. The tearing of the collar, chaak-e garebaa;N , is one of the mad lover's characteristic activities. Of course it's not exactly a 'collar' that he tears, but the vertical slit at the throat of his kurta that opens so the garment can be pulled on over the head; for more on this activity, see {17,9}. If 'tearing' is separated from the collar, this might mean simply that no madman will ever tear his collar again. But if a semi-personified Tearing is separated from the collar, it might mean that Tearing is intolerably kept apart from access to its single defining activity, its reason for existing-- one more example of the dire state of passion after the speaker's death.

As so often, we can't tell what relationship exists between the two 'A,B' lines. Do they describe the same situation? Two similar situations? Two contrasted situations? Is one a primary statement or a cause, and the other a corollary or an effect? Because both are so abstract and multivalent, there are a dozen different ways to put them together. And because the 'embrace of leave-taking' is so hauntingly invoked, we're left to 'fill in' for ourselves what it might mean.

For more on dead-lover-speaks verses, see {57,1}.