Ghazal 80, Verse 4


;xvush-;haal us ;hariif-e siyah-mast kaa kih jo
rakhtaa ho mi;sl-e saayah-e gul sar bah paa-e gul

1) happy [is] the state of that black-drunk comrade/Rival-- who
2) would [habitually] put, like the shadow of the rose, [his] head on the foot of the rose


;hariif : 'A fellow worker (in one's craft or ordinary occupation), an associate, a partner, a mate;-- a rival, opponent, adversary, antagonist; an enemy'. (Platts p.477)


That is, that fortunate 'black-drunk' one who would put his head on the feet of the beloved and present his longing. What can be said about his state? For the beloved the simile of a rose has been used, and for the lover the simile of the shadow of the stem of the rose. (81)

== Nazm page 81

Bekhud Mohani:

That 'black-drunk' rakish one [rind] is fortunate, who would put his head on the beloved's feet and present his longing.

[Or:] What can be said of that drunkard who is so sunk in intoxication that he considers the rose to be the beloved, and would fall at its feet and place his head there! (168)


That is, how fortunate is that individual who in the intoxication of drunkenness would fall at the beloved's feet and bend toward her the way the rose's shadow bends toward the rose's feet. By ;hariif is meant 'Rival' [raqiib]. (166)



This is the first of three verses in this ghazal-- the others are {80,8} and {80,9}-- that repeat gul in the second line. The word and idea of the 'rose' is one of the most (if not the single most) highly charged concepts in the ghazal universe. To repeat it, in a way that both contrasts and compares the two uses, is an extraordinarily effective device. All three verses are lyrical and resonant, with sound effects as well as an extra sense of rhythm (though the rhythm is conspicuously different in each of the three cases). They all feel like verses of mood.

The rose's shadow is dark, and the intoxicated Rival is 'black-drunk', an idiomatic expression for extreme drunkenness. To take refuge in the 'shadow' or 'shade' of some powerful person also idiomatically means to receive his shelter or protection in general-- which works well with the the submission and humility shown by the drunkard.

The rose's shadow touches only its base, but cannot be detached from it; the intoxicated one, even in his drunkenness, presumes no further than to touch the rose/beloved's feet-- but to those feet he is as tightly bonded as is the rose's shadow to the rose-stem. (One of the traditional forms of extreme supplication is to humbly fall at someone's feet and then refuse to rise-- or even to release the victim's ankles-- until one's request is granted.) And of course, if the intoxicated one appears at the beloved's feet as a supplicant, what more would be the object of his plea than to be allowed always to remain at the beloved's feet?

The verse is in Ghalib's favorite inshaa))iyah mode, and its exclamatory force is of envy, admiration, even almost a form of approval not usually accorded to the Rival (who in this case may also be a comrade or fellow-lover). For the intoxicated one is acting as a true lover should; in fact he's obviously acting the way the lover himself longs to act. The verse thus measures the lover's abjection and wretchedness-- he is obliged to watch some more fortunate lover fall at the beloved's feet, expressing the abjection and wretchedness that he himself longs to display. He would give anything to be in this lover's place. Yet the lover, watching the spectacle, is moved beyond the mere particulars of his own predicament, to a kind of empathy with the other's plight-- and even with the other's happiness.