Ghazal 84, Verse 6x


vuh be-dimaa;G-e minnat-e iqbaal huu;N kih mai;N
va;hshat bah daa;G-e saayah-e baal-e humaa karuu;N

1) I am so disaffected with an entreaty/favor/obligation of good-fortune that I
2) would feel sadness/wildness/fierceness/fear/madness about the scar/wound/stigma/blemish of the shadow of the Huma's wing


be-dimaa;G : 'Ill-tempered, irritable, impatient, easily provoked'. (Platts p.202)


minnat : 'Kindness or service done (to); favour, obligation; —grace, courtesy; —entreaty, humble and earnest supplication; —grateful thanks, praise'. (Platts pp.1071-72)


iqbaal : 'Prosperity, good fortune, auspices, felicity; prestige'. (Platts p.63)


va;hshat : 'Loneliness, solitariness, dreariness; —sadness, grief, care; —wildness, fierceness, ferocity, savageness; barbarity, barbarism; —timidity, fear, fright, dread, terror, horror; —distraction, madness'. (Platts p.1183)


daa;G : 'A mark burnt in, a brand, cautery; mark, spot, speck; stain; stigma; blemish; iron-mould; freckle; pock; scar, cicatrix; wound, sore; grief, sorrow; misfortune, calamity; loss, injury, damage'. (Platts p.501)

Gyan Chand:

I am greatly disaffected. I cannot agree to be under obligation to worldly good fortune. If the Huma's wing would want to extend its shadow over me (which is the auspicious announcement of kingship), then this shadow will seem to me to be a scar/stain/blemish, and I will want to show va;hshat toward it and flee from it. Grandeur and good fortune, and even kingship, absolutely don't please me. (259)



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices.

The structure of this verse is markedly parallel to that of the next two verses, {84,7x} and {84,8x}. There's not a strong enough unity to make them into a verse-set. Still, they give an impression of sharing a common mood or feeling.

This is a classic example of what I call Ghalib's 'independence' verses; for more on these, see {9,1}. The speaker is so radically unwilling to abase or humiliate himself before others, or to borrow or beg for anything from others, that he wouldn't even want the kingship-bestowing shadow of the Huma's wing to pass over him-- for then he'd be indebted to the kindness or favor of the Huma, which would be unendurable.

Although the main thrust of the verse is clear enough, and truly enjoyable in its hyperbole, the verse also offers a piquant note of complexity through the beautifully chosen va;hshat . For although it's clear that I would react badly to the shadow of the Huma's wing, how exactly would I react? The exceptional range of va;hshat (see the definition above) leaves the question still very wide open.

Moreover, what exactly would I be reacting against? The very idea of the Huma's patronizing presumptuousness? Or something about the daa;G itself? Am I so sensitive that the effect of the shadow would be to create a visible 'scar' on my body? Or would I react to the moral 'stigma' or 'blemish' of the humiliation of dependence? Or would the 'wound' be just a more general blow to my pride, and thus a source of sorrow to my heart? As so often, such nuances are left for the reader to decide.