Ghazal 90, Verse 2

{90,2}

;Garrah-e auj-e binaa-e ((aalam-e imkaa;N nah ho
is bulandii ke na.siibo;N me;N hai pastii ek din

1a) don't be proud of the height of the foundation of the realm of possibility
1b) let there not be pride at the height of the foundation of the realm of possibility

2) in the fortunes of this loftiness/pride is lowness/humiliation, one day

Notes:

;Garrah : 'Deceived; haughty, proud; cross; --s.m. Pride, vanity'. (Platts p.770)

 

auj : 'Highest point, top, summit, vertex; zenith; height, altitude, ascendancy'. (Platts p.103)

 

binaa : 'Building, structure, edifice; foundation, basis, base; ground, footing, motive; root, source, origin; beginning, commencement'. (Platts p.168)

 

imkaa;N : 'Possibility, practicability; power; contingent existence (in contrast to vujuub or necessary existence)'. (Platts p.82)

 

bulandii : 'Height, elevation, loftiness, eminence, exaltation; pride; loudness; high land'. (Platts p.165)

 

na.siib : 'Part, portion; chance, lot; luck, good fortune; —destiny (in Urdu this word is generally constructed as a plural)'. (Platts p.1142)

 

pastii : 'Lowness, inferiority; humility; baseness'. (Platts p. 262)

Nazm:

In this verse, the beauty of the refrain is that by 'one day' Doomsday is meant. (89)

== Nazm page 89

Hasrat:

Don't be proud of the lofty fortunes of the foundation of the realm of possibilities, because one day the realm of possibilities-- that is, the world-- will assuredly attain oblivion. (80)

Bekhud Dihlavi:

Don't be infatuated to such an extent by the progress of this world! In the destiny of this height, lowness is written. That is, one day Doomsday will come. (140)

FWP:

SETS == WORDPLAY
GRANDIOSITY: {5,3}

For the first line, there are two possible readings. They are grammatically different-- since (1a) takes ho as a familiar (or intimate) imperative, while (1b) takes it as an abstract future subjunctive-- and so perhaps offer slightly different approaches to the verse. But they aren't really different enough to be of great significance.

The grandiose elaboration of the first line, with its four i.zaafat constructions, seems meant to overawe. The line is full of exotic words and lofty concepts. Outstanding among them is binaa , which means 'building' in a sense, but far more commonly the base or foundation for a building. So we envision the 'summit', or highest point, of the 'foundation', the lowest point of an edifice. This edifice is apparently truly lofty, because the second line confirms that it's a bulandii , a 'height'. An edifice of which even the foundation is at a lofty height could well intoxicate one with pride.

But alas, the edifice is only that of the ((aalam-e imkaa;N , the 'realm (or 'world', or 'state') of possibility' or 'realm of contingency'. How quickly possibilities leap in the imagination from lofty origins to even loftier summits! This realm exists lavishly in our minds, and even exists to some extent in this contingent, doomed world of ours. It's hard for us not to be at least wistfully and hopefully proud of it.

But the second line, unlike the first, is punchy, concise, and colloquial. This 'height', however real is seems (or perhaps actually is) right now, is doomed-- it is fated to experience 'lowness', one day. And that's the end of the story. But it's also the end of two stories in one. For the predicted downfall can equally apply to the 'height' of the grandiose human intellectual world (a loftiness that is destined to be brought low one day), and/or to the 'pride' of people who plume themselves on it (an arrogance that is destined to be humiliated one day).

For an elegant, evocative use of a dasht-e imkaa;N , see {4,8x}.