Ghazal 71, Verse 3


laaf-e tamkii;N fareb-e saadah-dilii
ham hai;N aur raaz'haa-e siinah-gudaaz

1) a boast of dignity, a trick/deceit/beguilement of simple-heartedness
2) we are-- and breast-melting secrets/mysteries


laaf : 'Self-praise; boasting, bragging, boast, brag'. (Platts p.945)


tamkiin : 'Gravity, dignity, majesty, grandeur, greatness, authority, power'. (Platts p.337)


fareb : 'Deception, deceit, fraud, trick, duplicity, treachery, imposture, delusion, fallacy; allurement, beguilement, &c.' (Platts p.780)


fareb : 'Deception, fraud, duplicity, trick, deceit, treachery, imposture, fallacy; anything by which one is beguiled; a talisman; amorous playfulness, blandishment'. (Steingass p.926)


Oh boast of simple-heartedness, you're famous for being a trickster/deceiver of dignity. But take heed, in my heart are secrets that are breast-melting-- that is, that it would reveal them, that the burden of them would fall from my heart. In short, there is a complaint to simple-heartedness about its 'self-control' and 'dignity', and it's clear that the claim of simple-heartedness is secret-revelation and the glory of dignity and pomp is the concealment of secrets. (71)

== Nazm page 71

Bekhud Mohani:

If we claim to be restless in passion and to control our love, then the reason is that we have been fallen for the trick/deceit of our ignorance and inexperience. Otherwise, the devastating thing is that the secret of passion melts the heart. That is, repent of the idea that this secret can ever be hidden. (154)


[An even more radical kind of ambiguity than that charted by William Empson in Seven Types of Ambiguity is available to the classical ghazal.] In the verse under discussion, in the first line this situation is at an extreme limit. At least these readings of it are possible:

1) laaf, tamkii;N , fareb , saadah-dilii -- boast, dignity, trickery, simple-heartedness
2) laaf-e tamkii;N fareb , saadah-dilii -- dignity-tricking boast, simple-heartedness
3) laaf-e tamkii;N , fareb-e saadah-dilii -- reading (1a) above
4) laaf, tamkii;N fareb saadah-dilii -- boast, dignity-tricking simple-heartedness
5) laaf, tamkii;N fareb-e saadah-dilii -- boast, dignity-tricking of simple-heartedness
6) laaf-e tamkii;N fareb-e saadah-dilii! -- boast of dignity, trickery of simple-heartedness!
7) laaf tamkii;N , fareb saadah-dilii -- boast [is] dignity, trickery [is] simple-heartedness
8) laaf tamkii;N fareb , saadah-dilii -- dignity-tricking boast, simple-heartedness

But the remarkable thing is that despite so many possible readings, the connection of both lines is not clear at first glance. Every reading demands thought and attention, although seemingly there's no difficulty in the verse....

1) Proud claims, dignity and self-control, trickery, simple-heartedness-- all these things are present, but in our heart there's no place for them. Our heart is a treasury of breast-melting secrets. [See {13,7}, which may be roughly contemporary.]

2) Our simple-heartedness is really a false claim that deceives our dignity and self-control. Otherwise, our heart lies here full of breast-melting secrets-- where is the scope in it for simple-heartedness?

3) We had made the claim of endurance and self-control and dignity, but in reality this is our simple-heartedness, because of which we are ensnared in the deceit/illusion of self-control. The truth is that our heart is melting from breast-melting secrets.

4) Our claim is that we maintain a simple-heartedness that that gives the deceit/illusion of intelligence and self-control; that is, because of our simple-heartedness people are deceived into thinking that we are very enduring and self-controlled. The reality is that our heart lies here full of breast-melting secrets.

5) Our proud vaunting is really deceiving our simple-heartedness about our dignity and self-control. Otherwise, the reality is that-- we are, and breast-melting secrets.

6) Oh dignity-deceiving claim of simple-heartedness, the truth is that our heart lies here full of breast-melting secrets. How can we be 'simple-hearted'? This is only a merely verbal claim.

7) Our self-control and dignity is only a false claim. Our simple-heartedness is only a trick. In both ways we are a liar. The truth is that-- we are, and breast-melting secrets.

8) Oh simple-heartedness, you are a claim that creates a deceit/illusion of dignity. But we have neither simple-heartedness nor dignity. We lie here full of breast-melting secrets.

== (1989: 86-88) [2006: 108-10]



ABOUT fareb : It's a term of bewitching complexity; needless to say, Ghalib makes excellent use of it. It's morally and esthetically ambiguous (see the definitions above): it can refer to a deliberate deceit, like the 'trick' of a con artist; or a more general kind of 'beguilement' or seduction in which the seduced is at least somewhat complicit with the seducer; as such, it could almost refer to a net of magic, or the involuntary (?) enchantment created by beauty and charm, 'airs and graces'. Some other choice examples: {3,8x}; {14,3}; {68,6x}; {80,1}; {130,5x}; {141,7}; {196,4}; {201,4}; {130,5x}.

This verse must be second only to {32,1} in its sheer multivalence of possible readings; it too is of the 'meaning generator' kind. For more on this, see {32,1}. It's useful to compare this verse to the previous one, {71,2}, also analyzed by Faruqi, to see the different kinds of 'ambiguity' the verses provide.

I've retained both i.zaafat markers, following Arshi as is my rule. But both are metrically optional, so that Faruqi's dispensing with either or both is entirely legitimate. Even if we retain both i.zaafat markers, the ambiguity of the construction is here maximally productive. Is a laaf-e tamkii;N a boast made 'by' dignity, or a boast 'of' having dignity, or a boast that itself 'is' dignity? Similarly, is a fareb-e saadah-dilii a trick played 'by' simple-heartedness, or a trick played 'on' simple-heartedness, or or a trick that 'is' simple-heartedness, or an illusion 'of' simple-heartedness? For more on the i.zaafat construction, see {16,1}.

The verse also belongs to the 'I am, and' group; for more on this, see {5,6}.

Its first line is reminiscent of the 'list' structure used in {4,4}, though this one is more multivalent. Both take deft advantage of the many kinds of possible interplay between innocence and cleverness.