Ghazal 75, Verse 4

{75,4}

;Gam us ko ;hasrat-e parvaanah kaa hai ay shu((le
tire larazne se :zaahir hai naa-tavaanii-e sham((a

1) it feels grief at the longing/sorrow of the Moth, oh Flame--
2) from your trembling is manifest/apparent, the weakness of the candle

Notes:

;hasrat : 'Grief, regret, intense grief or sorrow; --longing, desire'. (Platts p.177)

 

naa-tavaanii : 'Inability; impotence, weakness; ailment'. (Platts p.1110)

Nazm:

That is, the grief of the Moth has made it [=the flame] weak; this is the reason for the flame's flickering. Here, to address the Flame is not devoid of unpleasingness [be-lu:tfii]. (77)

== Nazm page 77

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The meaning is that when the flame moves because of the breeze, Mirza Sahib's 'delicacy of thought' has declared it to be due to weakness. Addressing the Flame has created in the verse an extraordinary pleasure. (123)

Bekhud Mohani:

He addresses the Flame: from your flickering the sacret was revealed, that the candle has become weak. And this weakness is out of grief that its lover (the Moth) has been burnt up. The flame flickers from the breeze, but the poetic cause [shaa((iraanah taujiih] is this....

Janab [Nazm] Tabataba'i has declared the address to the Flame to be unpleasing. But he has not written any reason. In my opinion, to address a lifeless thing like a living one is a thing of great pleasure. (159)

FWP:

SETS == MUSHAIRAH
CANDLE: {39,1}

This would be an excellent verse for performance in a mushairah. If we heard the first line alone, we'd have no idea who the us was who felt the grief, or why a 'Flame' was being addressed. Only the second line makes the first intelligible, and even then the crucial word, 'weakness', is deferred as long as possible in that line, so that revelation comes all at once, with a real burst of pleasure.

This verse also makes clear how seriously the other commentators take the pronouncements of Nazm. Often they simply adopt his views, but when he says something unduly critical they tend to react strongly. His declaring the vocative to the Flame unpleasing causes Bekhud Dihlavi to pointedly say the opposite, and Bekhud Mohani to disagree with him in so many words. That's one reason (though not the only one of course) that I give such prominence to Nazm in this project.

Although the commentators don't use the term 'elegance in assigning a cause', that's certainly what the two Bekhuds are describing. We might wrongly have thought it was the breeze, but now we know the real reason why the candle flame flickers. Its weakness has not physical causes, but emotional ones-- it's trembling with sorrow and sympathy over the (vain) longings of the Moth.

Which of course is a bit unorthodox. We know that the candle is the Moth's beloved, and that the moth will sooner or later die a fiery, ecstatic death in the flame. Since when does the beloved go all 'weak' with sympathy, to the point of trembling, over the sufferings of the lover? This is almost un-ghazal-like behavior; the beloved's proper, necessary role is to be cold, fickle, unavailable. Perhaps that's why Ghalib describes such a show of sympathy as 'weakness'; the tone might almost be a bit scornful. But after all, if the beloved is sufficiently fickle, once in a while she can inadvertently happen to be kind; candles are made of wax, so perhaps they can't quite manage to have hearts of stone.