Ghazal 61, Verse 8

{61,8}*

nah la;R naa.si;h se ;Gaalib kyaa hu))aa gar us ne shiddat kii
hamaaraa bhii to aa;xir zor chaltaa hai garebaa;N par

1) don't quarrel/fight with the Advisor, Ghalib-- if he would use force/severity, so what?
2) even/also our power, after all, operates on the collar

Notes:

shiddat : 'Hardness, firmness; strength, power, force; vehemence, violence, intenseness, stress, pressure, severity, rigour'. (Platts p.723)

Nazm:

Won't I feel comforted by tearing my collar? What a fine verse he has composed. (62)

== Nazm page 62

Bekhud Dihlavi:

No better picture of helplessness and oppression than this can be drawn in words. He says, oh Ghalib, why do you complain of the Advisor's harsh language and pitilessness, and why do you quarrel with him? Hold your peace, be patient. In contrast to him, we too have power over the collar. When we become very much hopeless and oppressed, then in that state of sorrow and grief we tear our collar. The Advisor's tongue moves, he reads us a lecture. Our hands move, we, oppressed, tear our collar. He's composed a peerless closing-verse. (108-09)

Bekhud Mohani:

Oh Ghalib, why do we tangle with the Advisor? If he scolded us, and treated us harshly, then there's no cause for complaint. After all, we too get angry at our collar. Anger always carries people away. The Advisor has done nothing new. Such things happen in the world. (140)

FWP:

SETS
CHAK-E GAREBAN: {17,9}

The commentators agree on one obvious meaning: don't mind if the Advisor scolds and abuses you, or generally treats you harshly, Ghalib, because you can always take it out on your collar-- you can always tear open your collar, in the classic style of mad lovers in the ghazal world. That will remind you that even you, or you too [bhii], have the power to use force and harshness on something. (Or, as Bekhud Mohani suggests, since you are rough with your collar, you have no right to complain of the Advisor is rough with you.)

But even more wittily, what if the Advisor's use of force or violence [shiddat] consisted in grabbing the perverse madman by the collar and holding him when he sought to leave-- or even holding him by the collar and shaking him, to compel his attention? The scene is easy to imagine, and the lover's later self-consolation then becomes even more ruefully humorous: 'After all, he's not the only one with the power to grab my collar-- I too can grab my collar and treat it roughly if I want!' This thought also gives a richer meaning to 'don't fight with the Advisor'-- in addition to meaning 'don't fight with him, be calm', it can mean 'don't fight with him, fight with the collar instead'.

Of course we're then left to wonder how much of a consolation it is, when you've been beaten up, if you reflect that you can also beat yourself up. If you're a mad lover, though, it may be all the consolation you need. Or at least, all the consolation you're destined to get.