Ghazal 68, Verse 8x


hujuum-e fikr se dil mi;sl-e mauj larzaa;N hai
kih shiishah naazuk-o-.sahbaa hai aab-giinah-gudaaz

1) from the assault/swarm of thought/anxiety the heart, like a wave, is trembling/quivering
2) {so that / since / while} the wineglass is fragile/brittle and the wine is bottle-melting


hujuum : 'Assault, attack; effort; impetuosity; --crowd, throng, concourse, mob; a swarm'. (Platts p.1221)


fikr : 'Thought, consideration, reflection; deliberation, opinion, notion, idea, imagination, conceit; counsel, advice; care, concern, solicitude, anxiety, grief, sorrow'. (Platts p.783)


aab-giinaah : 'Lit. 'Possessed of lustre or clearness'; mirror, looking-glass; drinking-glass; bottle; --wine; diamond'. (Platts p.2)


gudaaz : 'Melted, dissolved; ... --(in comp.) melting, dissolving; consuming; exterminating; --melter; refiner'. (Platts p.899)


From the assault of thoughts/anxieties the heart, like a wave, trembles-- because the heart is like a glass that is filled with the wine of love, which is so sharp and hot that it melts even the glass. For this reason the assault of thoughts and anxieties is taking place, and the heart is trembling like a wave. (126)


The meaning is that that my thought of poetry is so 'hot' that the heart, which is like a delicate glass, keeps fearing that it will melt. Because of the wordplay of melting, for the trembling he has adopted the simile of a wave. (187)

Gyan Chand:

It's a famous verse. He has given for 'delicacy of thought' the simile of wineglass-melting wine; and for the heart, a fragile glass. For trembling he has given the similitude of the trembling of a wave of wine. Having seen so many lofty and delicate thoughts, the heart is shivering: how will the strength be found to bear them all, how will they be expressed?

== Gyan Chand, p. 214


[See his comments on Mir's M{1037,7}.]


WINE: {49,1}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

The first line tells us something about the heart (besieged by 'thought/anxiety' of some unspecified kind, it trembles like a wave), and the second line tells us something about a wineglass (it is fragile, and the wine has the power to melt it away). What is the connection between these two lines? Do they refer to the same situation? If they do, are they parallel descriptions, or is one the cause, and the other the effect (and if so, which way around)? Or do they refer to two different situations (and if so, are these to be likened, or contrasted, to each other)?

Usually, lines in this kind of 'A,B' structure are left quite without any connectors; in the present verse, however, enjoyable use is made of the multivalence of kih . For if it's taken to mean 'so that', then the first line is the cause, and the second line the effect (because the heart is trembling like a wave with anxiety, the state of this 'wine' is dangerous to the 'wineglass' of the body). Or if it's taken to mean 'since', the causal relationship is reversed: since the (metaphorical) 'wine' is dangerous to the 'wineglass', anxiety (over this danger, among other things) causes the heart to tremble). Or if it's taken to mean 'while', then the two situations-- the trembling of the heart and the vulnerability of the wineglass-- are simultaneous and parallel, and it's up to us to decide how to compare and/or contrast them.

If we juxtapose the lines carefully, however, the imagery doesn't really mesh in the most satisfying way. The heart is trembling like a 'wave', and that seems to be its only point of connection with the idea that its anxiety endangers the lover's frail body the way 'bottle-melting' wine endangers the fragile wineglass. It's possible for the heart to turn entirely to blood (as for example in {230,2}), but the verse doesn't give us any reason to suppose that that's the case here. And if the heart is not a liquid but just a brilliantly red quivering object, its resemblance to a trembling wave of wine is not very compelling. If the verse invited us to think of the heart as the source of brilliantly red trembling waves of surging blood, that would be excellent; but it doesn't: it's the heart itself that's explicitly 'like a wave'.