Ghazal 62, Verse 2

{62,2}

yaa rab vuh nah samjhe hai;N nah samjhe;Nge mirii baat
de aur dil un ko jo nah de mujh ko zabaa;N aur

1) oh Lord, 'they' have not understood, nor will 'they' understand, my speech/idea
2) give 'them' another heart, if you wouldn't give me a different/additional tongue/language

Notes:

baat : 'Speech, language, word, saying, conversation, talk, gossip, report, discourse, news, tale, story, account; thing, affair, matter, business, concern, fact, case, circumstance, occurrence, object, particular, article, proposal, aim, cause, question, subject'. (Platts p.117)

 

aur : 'And, also, for the rest, besides; again, moreover; but, yet, still; over, else; ...another, other, different; more, additional'. (Platts p.104)

Hali:

This verse outwardly seems to be about the beloved, but concealed within it is also a reference to those people who used to call Mirza's poetry meaningless or difficult to understand.
==Urdu text: p. 144 in Hali, Yadgar-e Ghalib

Nazm:

That is, I can't talk openly about the question of union, and she in her simple-heartedness can't understand the meaning without its being expressed very clearly. (62)

== Nazm page 62

Bekhud Mohani:

Compare {1,4}. (4)

FWP:

SETS == AUR; REPETITION == TRANSLATABLES

Ah, but the big question: who is, or are, the 'they' [vuh], the 'them' [un]? The pronoun is plural, and the verbs mark it as masculine. But plural pronouns and verbs are routinely used in Urdu to show respect, and as we know, the beloved in the ghazal is always construed as grammatically masculine, even if treated as a woman. The 'they' could therefore be: a group of men and/or women; an honored man; or an honored woman (since masculine verbs tend to accompany pluralization).

Hali notes the two main choices: the 'they' could be the ignorant poetry-consuming public of Ghalib's time, or the (honorifically labeled) beloved. The former are suitable candidates because, as Hali also notes, Ghalib's verse was so often criticized as 'difficult' or even 'meaningless'. The latter is a suitable candidate because, needless to say, she's the one hardest to reach-- and the one the lover most wants to reach. This verse neatly brings together the poet's literary concerns and the lover-persona's romantic longings.

In either case, the problem seems to be insensitivity, indifference, or hostility, not mere stupidity or literary ineptitude. For Ghalib prays that 'they' will be given not a new head or mind, but a new 'heart'. How would a new 'heart' enable them to understand his poetry better? The emphasis on a new 'heart' weakens the case for considering this verse a complaint against philistinism in the public.

The request is that either God should change 'them', or he should change the poet himself, providing a new 'tongue', instead of, or in addition to, the old one. Without such intervention, the situation is clearly hopeless. The poet can't change his own baat -- words, ideas, expression-- or his own language [zabaan]. If a humble poet framed this verse, we might expect that he was asking God to improve his defective powers of communication. But this is Ghalib, after all-- he knows that his baat and zabaan are already almost too lofty for 'them' to understand, and any change would represent an intolerable deterioration. So it's a kind of stalemate, such that only God can step in and resolve it.

The first line has two occurrences of nah , and samjhe / samjhe;N , which sets us up for an even more thoughtfully rhythmic second line full of fine sound effects and word-repetitions. The second line offers two each of de , ko , and aur , and the elegantly rhymed placement of ko jo, right in the semantic middle of the line. It's the kind of verse that's particularly fun to say out loud. And all the repetitions help convey a sense of exasperation-- oh Lord, so many times I've said it, and 'they' still don't understand!

For another view of the poet's alienation from those around him, see {113,7}.