Ghazal 72, Verse 5


dahan-e sher me;N jaa bai;Thiye lekin ai dil
nah kha;Re huujiye ;xuubaan-e dil-aazaar ke paas

1) please go and sit in the mouth of a tiger but, oh Heart,
2) please don't stand near heart-tormenting lovely ones!


huujiye is the irregular polite future imperative for honaa (GRAMMAR)


aazaar : 'Sickness, disorder, disease, infirmity; trouble, affliction; injury, outrage'. (Platts p.45)


'To sit' and 'to stand' have the pleasure of opposition. (75)

== Nazm page 75

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, oh heart, to become a morsel for a tiger's mouth is much better than to fix your heart on some heart-tormenting beloved. (121)


If it were like this, it would be better: [a reworking of the verse using intimate tuu imperatives].... Use of the honorific form of address for the heart doesn't appeal. (236)



Who says Ghalib can't be simple, when he wants to be simple? Here's a verse that anybody would be hard put not to understand at once.

As Nazm observes, the opposition between the sitting and the standing is a source of pleasure in itself. But we should consider it a little more deeply, for the opposition is carefully developed. The heart is invited to 'sit'-- comfortably, informally, at ease-- right 'in' the tiger's mouth. But by contrast, it is urged not even to 'stand'-- humbly, fearfully, formally-- anywhere even 'near' the cruel beloveds.

Shadan's rewritings of Ghalib are usually notable, but this one is not very interesting, since it's only a change of verb-forms and a little padding. Shadan doesn't like the idea of a polite address, rather than an intimate one, to the heart. But surely the formality of the polite imperatives gives a sense of cautious handling, elaborate care. At all costs the heart mustn't be offended-- the lover is too afraid of what it might do! Advice can be given only diffidently, with a great show of courtesy and respect.

Note for grammar fans: huujiye is an irregular polite form of honaa ; for the irregular familiar form huujo , see {190,6}. It's like kiijiye from karnaa , only more understandable since the root ends in a vowel (and indeed kiijiye is nowadays often replaced by kariye ). Why then do we never hear huujiye ? Because instead there's ho jaanaa , once just a compound form of honaa but now virtually an independent verb that means 'to become'. So in modern speech now we'd hear ho jaa))iye (and similarly, ho jaa))o instead of huujo ). The same constant compounding applies to sonaa , and for the same reason (that is, the clumsy-sounding vowel ending of the root; nowadays it's always so jaanaa instead.