Ghazal 60, Verse 10


kyaa bad-gumaa;N hai mujh se kih aa))iine me;N mire
:tuu:tii kaa ((aks samjhe hai zangaar dekh kar

1) how suspicious she is of me! --that in my mirror
2) having seen verdigris, she considers it [to be] the reflection of a parrot


samjhe hai is an archaic form of samajhtaa hai (GRAMMAR)


That is, the suspicion is that the parrot too might feel ardor. Later he says: {202,5}. (59)

[In his commentary on {60,4}, Nazm criticizes this verse as well as that one for being 'loose' in structure.]

== Nazm page 59


Between the parrot and the mirror there is the same relationship as between the rose and the nightingale. Between verdigris and the parrot is a similitude, because of their greenness. If we remove the metaphors, the meaning turns out to be that the sadness of my heart is due to the effects of hopelessness and deprivation, but that suspicious one considers this sadness and lowness of spirits to be caused by the love of another entering into my heart. (59)

Bekhud Dihlavi:

One of the beloved's qualities is excellence of speech and expression. The quality of excellence of expression is in a parrot also; thus a parrot's sweetness of voice is famous. The beloved is even somewhat more jealous than the lover. Mirza Sahib says, she is so jealous of me that even when I look in a mirror, my beloved amuses herself by considering the greenness of verdigris to be the sweet-voicedness of a parrot. Gradually my love for her will vanish, thus in her suspiciousness she is jealousness of the verdigris on the mirror. (106)

Bekhud Mohani:

Poets always call the parrot a lover of the mirror. Although the truth is that when they want the parrot to talk, they put a mirror in front of it. The parrot takes its reflection to be another parrot, and begins to talk....

From this verse it doesn't follow that the parrot too feels ardor for her [as Nazm says]. Its words, its style, tell us that the poet has made use of metaphors. Then, how permissible is it to call the verse [mere] wordplay? In addition to this, love and suspicion keep company. And the beloveds' suspicion and jealousy are not the kind of thing that requires proof. It's been observed that when in the beloved's presence the lover pays more attention to a show or a nightingale or parrot, etc., then this action displeases her. (135)


The beloved considers that there is no constancy in his love; he loves even a parrot. There's no pleasure in the theme of this verse. Moreover, two things are never seen: first, for the lover to use a mirror, which is peculiar to the beautiful ones; second, there's no connection between passion and love, and the keeping of a parrot. It seems that in his ardor to bring in the rhyme zangaar, only this theme occurred to Mirza, and he put it in; he paid no attention to the lack of connection. (142)


Compare {202,5}. (203, 301)


MIRROR: {8,3}

This is another of Ghalib's many 'mirror' verses. But only a couple of these are concerned with the verdigris on the mirror; for more on this see {47,1}. For other parrot-and-mirror verses, see {29,2}.

The obscurity of the present verse can be seen in the trouble it has given to the commentators. The parrot loves the mirror. The verdigris on the metal mirror is greenish like a parrot. Nazm thinks this means that the parrot too loves the beloved. Josh thinks this means the beloved suspects the lover of loving a parrot. Hasrat thinks this means the mirror is the lover's desolate heart. All of them except Hasrat thinks it means that the beloved is jealous of the lover's looking in a mirror.

Both Nazm and Arshi suggest comparison with {202,5}, in which the lover wishes he were not so fond of the song of the garden birds, because the beloved is so suspicious [bad-gumaa;N]. That does seem to point in a plausible direction: whatever the beloved is suspicious about in the present verse, it does seem to be something extravagant and absurd. If we also adopt Hasrat's suggestion that the 'mirror' is the lover's heart (on the heart as mirror see {128,1}), then we've perhaps done the best we can. But still, the connection with the (metal) mirror, the verdigris, and the parrot seems weak and forced. This is what Josh is complaining about.

Of course, it's what the lover is complaining about too-- how far-fetched and improbable are the alleged grounds for the beloved's jealousy. But still, that's somewhat like saying a dull story is really a cleverly contrived story about dullness; it's special pleading, and a poet like Ghalib needs no such help. He can compose a clumsy verse once in a while, and we can recognize it as such.

There also could be some missing source of 'connection' that we don't (any longer?) know. Perhaps some secondary or tertiary meaning of zangaar , :tuu:tii , ((aks ? Ghalib is the kind of poet whom you can never be sure you are finished interpreting.

On samajhnaa as 'to consider', see {90,3}.

Note for grammar fans: The use of masculine singular verbs and omission of the subjects means that the verse could also be read as vocative (addressed to an intimate tuu ).