Ghazal 75, Verse 5


tire ;xayaal se ruu;h ihtizaaz kartii hai
bah jalvah-rezii-e baad-o-bah par-fishaanii-e sham((a

1) from the thought of you, the spirit quivers/exults

2a) [I swear] by the glory-scattering of the breeze, and by the wing-fluttering of the candle
2b) with [the quality of] the glory-scattering of the breeze, and the wing-fluttering of the candle


ihtizaaz : 'Being shaken, agitated (tree by the wind); falling with glittering light (star); exultation, joy'. (Steingass p.123)


bah : 'With, for, from, in, or by him, or it'. (Steingass p.209)


In the second line, bah in both places is for an oath.... And if the bah were removed, then this pleasure would not remain. And if we take bah with the meaning of a simile, the same meaning as formerly is created. (77)

== Nazm page 77


In 'with the splendor-scattering' and 'with the wing-fluttering' is the 'with' of similitude [baa-e tashbiihii]. That is, the way a candle flame moves from the splendor-scattering of the breeze, in the same way at the thought of you the spirit quivers [with joy]. (70)

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, from the thought of you, the lover's spirit attains a movement of joy, the way movement is created in the candle flame by the breeze. (123)


ihtizaaz = When a bird puts his head in water, then {shudders / shakes itself} in order to spread the water over its whole body. The liveliness that spreads through the body, and the movement that is created, when in a state of joy. (239)


ihtizaaz means 'dance'. (161)


CANDLE: {39,1}
JALVAH: {7,4}

BAH verses: {56,4}; {67,4x}; {75,3}; {75,5}**; {77,4}; {84,4x}; {92,5}; {109,1}*; {109,3x}*; {109,4x}; {221,1}* // {405x,4}

As Nazm explains, the second line consists of a pair of oaths affirming the content of the first line (2a): X is true-- I swear by Y, I swear by Z. In this case, 'X' affirms the 'quiver/exultation', and Y and Z, in addition to being oaths, describe a cause and an effect of such a quiver. As Nazm goes on to point out, Y and Z can also be read assimiles (2b), which are less piquant but no less appropriate to the occasion. This enjoyable duality Ghalib owes to the handy multivalence of the Persian bah , 'with' (see the definition above). Nazm's comments also show the limits of his poetics. He perfectly sees the multivalence of the second line, but he doesn't value it; its unexpectedness and wit are wasted on him.

Some of the commentators seek to explain the uncommon Persian word ihtizaaz , which doesn't appear in Platts, or anywhere else in the divan; it surely deserves 'fresh word' credit. It seems to be a sort of quivering/shuddering expressive of almost uncontrollable joy. Thus it's perfect for the verse-- it's presented in the first line, then illustrated in the second line. What could illustrate that quiver of rapture? What if not the 'splendor-scattering of the breeze', and the 'wing-fluttering of the candle'? They even sound lovely in English; but of course, not the way they do in Urdu.

The whole verse rests on implication-- nothing in the verse links the two phrases in the second line except our prior knowledge of what breezes do to candle flames. Here the breeze and the candle are presented in parallel constructions: the breeze 'quivers' as it darts here and there in its playfulness and glory, the candle 'quivers' (in response? or independently?) as it flutters its wings.

C. M. Naim suggests (Apr. 2014) that the descriptions might be said to be reversed: that 'glory-scattering' is more appropriately an activity of the candle, while 'wing-fluttering' seems appropriate to the breeze. (I'm not sure that I agree.)

And the speaker's heart 'quivers' at the thought of the beloved-- like the (active?) breeze, and also like the (passive?) candle. Of course, it's very possible that the breeze will blow out the candle, but in this verse that's not an issue at all-- the sense of joy is too overwhelming. The first line is so simple and straightforward, then the second line blossoms into such sheer beauty of language and thought. Who could read this verse and not want to recite it aloud?

On the usage of 'the thought of you' versus 'your thought', see {41,6}.