Ghazal 71, Verse 5


vuh bhii din ho kih us sitam-gar se
naaz khe;Nchuu;N bajaa-e ;hasrat-e naaz

1) may even/also that day come/exist when, from that tyrant
2) I would experience/endure coquetry, instead of the longing for coquetry


naaz : 'Blandishment, coquetry, playfulness, amorous playfulness, feigned disdain; dalliance, toying; fondling, coaxing, soothing or endearing expression; --pride, conceit, consequential airs, whims; --softness, delicacy; elegance, gracefulness'. (Platts p.1114)


khe;Nchnaa : 'To draw, drag, pull; to attract, to draw in, suck in, absorb ... ; to draw out, to stretch; to extract; ... --to drag out, to endure, suffer, bear'. (Platts p.887)


;hasrat : 'Grief, regret, intense grief or sorrow; --longing, desire'. (Platts p.477)


In this sentence, 'I would experience coquetry from that tyrant' [us sitamgar se naaz khe;Nchuu;N], se doesn't seem good. The relationship of se is with longing [;hasrat]. That is, the way that I am experiencing the longing for coquetry from that tyrant, may that day too come when in the same way I will experience coquetry. (72)

== Nazm page 72

Bekhud Mohani:

May God bring to pass that day, when I will support/endure [u;Thaanaa] her coquetry in the same way that I am now supporting/enduring the sorrow of the longing for coquetry. (154)


'To 'draw'/experience coquetry' [naaz kashiidan] is an idiom of Persian. According to my understanding, it ought to be like this:

vuh bhii din ho kih us sitamgar ke
naaz u;Thaa))uu;N bajaa-e ;hasrat-e naaz



In this one Ghalib is trying out a clever juxtaposition in which naaz khe;Nchnaa , to 'draw'/experience coquetry, shares its verb, to unexpected effect, with ;hasrat khe;Nchnaa , to 'draw'/experience longing. The effect is similar to 'She told me to take great care and a cup of tea.' For another verse in which the poet plays like this with khe;Nchnaa , see {119,5}.

However, the commentators take the verse to task for undue awkwardness and Persianization. As Bekhud Mohani's paraphrase makes clear, the normal Urdu verb for that situation would be u;Thaanaa , 'to support/endure' (literally, 'to lift up', where the Persian metaphor is 'to draw/pull'). Shadan is even endearingly ready to suggest how Ghalib should have rephrased his verse. Nazm also disapproves of using naaz khe;Nchnaa with the postposition se .

Whether or not we accept the technical objections, the poet's intentions are clear enough, and the simplicity of the verse gives it a starkness that helps to convey unvarnished longing and desire. The little word bhii also expands in the mind-- vuh bhii din ho , may even/also that day come to pass, emphasizes how mired the speaker is in this day, the present, when his situation is so incomparably much worse.

And of course, what does he long for from the 'tyrant'? He longs for 'that day' to bring him-- not union, not even real intimacy, but merely coquetry, with all its suggestions of superficiality and frivolity. His desire is touchingly modest-- and even that desire is nowhere near achievement, and perhaps may never be.