Ghazal 75, Verse 7


jale hai dekh ke baaliin-e yaar par mujh ko
nah kyuu;N ho dil pah mire daa;G-e bad-gumaanii-e sham((a

1) it {feels jealousy/envy / 'burns'}, having seen me at the beloved's pillow
2) why wouldn't there be on my heart the wound/scar of the suspicion of the candle?


jale hai is an archaic form of jaltaa hai (GRAMMAR)


jalnaa : 'To burn; to be burnt; to be on fire; to be kindled, be lighted; to be scorched, be singed; to be inflamed, to be consumed; to be touched, moved, or affected (with pity, &c.); to feel pain, sorrow, anguish, &c.; to burn or be consumed with love, or jealousy, or envy, &c.; to take amiss, be offended, be indignant; to get into a passion, be enraged, to rage'. (Platts p.387)


bad-gumaanii : 'Suspicion, mistrust, distrust; disaffection'. (Platts p.139)


On the part of the candle there's suspicion, from seeing me at the beloved's pillow. It is struck by envy, and keeps on {feeling jealousy / burning}-- that is, in that place it considers itself special. (77)

== Nazm page 77

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, it seems that the candle too is the beloved's lover, and considers me its Rival. Because having seen me near the beloved, it keeps burning with envy and jealousy. I have this suspicion about the candle. (123)

Bekhud Mohani:

The candle {feels jealous / burns}. The lover considers, 'I am in the beloved's private chamber, the candle is {feeling jealous / burning} for this reason. Thus why wouldn't I be suspicious of the candle? That is, the candle is my Rival. When passion reaches a level of perfection, then a man begins to take offense at his own shadow. (160)


In the art of rhetoric [fan-e badii((], the name of this is the verbal device of 'elegance in assigning a cause'.


CANDLE: {39,1}

Some commentators read the verse as (1) I am suspicious and jealous of the candle; others read it as (2) the candle is suspicious and jealous of me. Whereas in fact, the verse has been carefully framed with an i.zaafat to permit both readings. On reading (1), we take the first line as an accurate observation about the feelings of the candle; on reading (2), we take the first line as a wildly jealous personification of an ordinary candle.

In either case, the ambiguity of the i.zaafat in line two works perfectly. On reading (1), we take 'suspicion of the candle' [badgumaanii-e sham((a] to mean my suspicion of the candle; on reading (2), we take it to mean the candle's suspicion of me. Both readings are absolutely natural-sounding and possible. And in the process, the back-and-forthness of the readings also amusingly illustrates the reactive, obsessive, other-directed nature of jealousy. The lover and the candle, eyeing each other darkly (so to speak) in the beloved's chamber, feeling injured by each other's presence-- it's a captivating scene to imagine.

The perfect convenience of the verb jalnaa , which means both 'to burn' and 'to feel jealous', can't of course be fully captured in English. We can 'burn with envy', but that's not as versatile.

Shadan's claim that this verse represents 'elegance in assigning a cause' looks dubious to me, because the lover isn't explaining why all candles burn in general. He's only concerned with the behavior of one particular candle in one particular situation-- and even then, we're encouraged to consider him a possibly unreliable observer.

This is one of the very few ghazals in the divan that doesn't have a closing-verse. And since in this case Ghalib chose to include in his published divan every verse he had originally composed, it seems that that it never did have one.