Ghazal 58, Verse 9

{58,9}

nah puuchh be-;xvudii-e ((aish-e maqdam-e sailaab
kih naachte hai;N pa;Re sar bah sar dar-o-diivaar

1) don't ask about the self-lessness of the enjoyment of the coming of the flood
2) for/since they dance, fallen, end to end-- doors and walls

Notes:

Nazm:

That is, from the desolation of my house I get such pleasure that when walls and doors begin to fall in the flood, I consider it a dance and become beside myself [be;xvud]. (54)

 

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, at the time when the flood comes, don't ask me about the self-lessness of passion. It's as if doors and walls enter a [mystical] state. And they become absorbed in dancing. (101)

Bekhud Mohani:

The house of the body was waiting with such ardor for its destruction that now, when death is about to come, its walls and doors are dancing. (128-29)

Josh:

To construe the doors and walls collapsing in the flood as a dance, is such excellence of expression that there's not enough space to do justice to it. 'House' refers to the lover's heart. (137)

FWP:

SETS == INEXPRESSIBILITY
BEKHUDI: {21,6}
SOUND EFFECTS: {26,7}

In this ghazal, doors and walls have often been treated as agents. In {58,3}, they went out ahead to welcome the beloved; in {58,6} they fell at the lover's feet in fear of a flood of tears; in {58,7} they sacrificed themselves for the beloved's doors and walls; and now they dance in heedless rapture to welcome the flood. In every case, as is proper in the ghazal world, their behavior has been deduced from physical 'objective correlatives' (doors and walls casting shadows, collapsing in floods, bobbing up and down in flood waters).

In {58,6} and the present verse, the doors and walls react to a destructive flood (of tears) in (at least on one level) opposite ways. Such ambivalence is not surprising; we see it even more clearly in {15,10}, which also presents a variety of reactions to maqdam-e sailaab , the 'coming of the flood'. For the doors and walls, the coming of the flood is the approach of dissolution and death.

In this verse we see the doors and walls bobbing up and down in the roiling flood waters, dancing with the 'self-less'-- i.e., 'devoid of self', hyphenated to differentiate it from the English 'selfless' meaning 'unselfish'-- ecstasy of the mystical lover about to escape from this transitory world into the realm of the eternal. And of course, their emotions may be their own; or they may be ascribed only by the lover who watches them, so that they're really his emotions.

The wordplay with sar bah sar -- 'totally, from end to end', but literally meaning 'head to head'-- is also a pleasure, since dancers moving in unison often place their heads close together. The excellent rhythm and sound effects of pa;Re sar bah sar dar-o-diivaar also well evokes the feel of dancing-- or of bobbing up and down. (Are the doors and walls waving, or drowning? Both, of course.)