Ghazal 77, Verse 9x


us ((amal me;N ((aish kii la;z;zat nahii;N miltii asad
zor nisbat mai se rakhtaa hai na.saaraa kaa namak

1) in that act the relish/taste of luxury/enjoyment is not available, Asad
2) powerfully, it maintains a relationship with wine-- the 'salt' of the Christians


zor : 'Strength, power, vigour, virtue; force, strong effort, exertion, strain; stress; weight; violence; coercion; —adv. Vigorously, powerfully; violently, forcibly; extremely, very'. (Platts p.619)


nisbat : 'Referring (to, - se ); deriving (from); —reference, respect, regard (to); attribute; relation, connexion; affinity; analogy; comparison; —ratio; proportion; ... —a relation, or connexion; —a conundrum'. (Platts p.1137)


na.saaraa : 'Arabic: ... —(pl. of na.sraan ), Nazarenes, Christians'. (Platts p.1142)


Now the scribe/copyist has become a chronically shameless debauchee [that is, the text has been miscopied]. [Zamin's text has a.zaaraa .] Now the verse is to be rejected [matruuk].

== Zamin, p. 209

Gyan Chand:

By 'in this action' wine-drinking is meant, but it's not clear what is meant by na.saaraa kaa namak . I met with Malik Ram Sahib and Qazi Abd ul-Vudud Sahib, and inquired about the meaning of this construction. They too did not know. Arshi Sahib wrote down the meaning of this verse and sent it to me:

(1) 'By na.saaraa kaa namak is meant the pension that Ghalib always used to receive. It was very small, so that it was impossible for Ghalib to arrange for wine-drinking to his heart's content. Thus it was as if the 'Christians' salt' that he ate, instead of increasing the relish of luxury/enjoyment, acted the way salt acts if put in wine-- that is, the intoxication of the wine is ended and it turns to vinegar.'

This is quite a fine commentary, but it has the small problem/flaw that this verse is from the Nuskhah-e Bhopal-- that is, before 1821. At that time, Ghalib did not receive a pension directly from the English. He had various sources of income, so it's very doubtful whether at that time he would make a complaint about eating the salt of the English.

Another meaning can be this:

(2) By na.saaraa kaa namak is meant the 'salt' of the beauty of lovely Christians. Later in Calcutta, Ghalib cast a very desirous eye on the beauty of 'Mems' [=' mem-.saa;hib ', western women], as is seen in his Persian masnavis. Certainly in Delhi too he will have seen some English beauties. The problem/flaw is that in their fairness, where is the 'saltiness'/savor [malaa;hat]? In any case, in the act of wine-drinking I don't obtain relish/taste unless some salty snack [namkiin nuql] would be with it. The 'salty snack' of Christian beauties has a deep relationship with wine. If this 'salt' would be available to be given along with wine-drinking, then the relish/taste of luxury/enjoyment would be obtained.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 237-238


WINE: {49,1}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; for its unusual interest, and also for the sake of completeness, I have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

In general, Gyan Chand is the one indispensable commentator on the unpublished verses, and here we can see why. When he is baffled, he consults well-known scholars in the field; he treats the resulting ('natural poetry') thoughts politely but not uncritically. Then he provides his own best interpretation, and for that too he presents its problem/flaw [qabaa;hat] along with the points in its favor. This is one of all too few examples of the best kind of commentarial process in action, and I cherish it-- and Gyan Chand-- accordingly. The verse is not exactly clear, and I certainly can't come up with a better interpretation than his.

Nowhere in the published divan does Ghalib mention 'Christians', and for that reason alone this verse is worth our attention. The appeal of a tawny or 'salty' beauty versus that of a fair ('creamy') complexion is explored at length, with many examples, by Faruqi in M{1815,2}.