Ghazal 91, Verse 14x


gul ;Gunchagii me;N ;Garqah-e daryaa-e rang hai
ay aagahii fareb-e tamaashaa kahaa;N nahii;N

1) the rose, in budding/blooming, is immersed/drowned in an ocean of style/'color'
2) oh Awareness-- where is there not the deceit/beguilement of spectacle?!


;Gunchagii : 'The being collected together (like a bud); budding, blooming'. (Platts p.773)


;Gunchagii : 'Budding, blooming'. (Steingass p.896)


;Garq (of which ;Garqah is a variant): 'Drowned, immersed, sunk, overwhelmed; absorbed, engrossed, deep (in)'. (Platts p.770)


fareb : 'Deception, deceit, fraud, trick, duplicity, treachery, imposture, delusion, fallacy; allurement, beguilement, &c.'. (Platts p.780)


rang : 'Colour, colouring matter, pigment, paint, dye; colour, tint, hue, complexion; beauty, bloom; expression, countenance, appearance, aspect; fashion, style; character, nature; mood, mode, manner, method; kind, sort; state, condition'. (Platts p.601)


A flower, in the state of buddingness, is drowned in an ocean of color. Oh Awareness, in what place is there not the deceit/beguilement of spectacle? In every place is just this same situation.

== Asi, p. 165


That is, the rose, even/also in the state of being a bud, remains drowned in an ocean of color. Thus as yet its eyes have not opened, and it is confined within a dark chamber; but the deceit/beguilement of spectacle-- that is, the ocean of color-- is present even here. One meaning of rang is that of fareb .

== Zamin, p. 237

Gyan Chand:

For the verse two meanings are possible: the first is that as long as the flower is a bud, then it is drowned in color/mood-- that is, it is very radiant. But it has a lust/desire for the gaze of the world, and it opens its eye and becomes scattered, as if it had been deceived by the lust/desire for sight. It wanted to obtain awareness, but instead it obtained non-radiance and sorrow. He has addressed 'Awareness' because the lust/desire for sight has deceived Awareness.

(2) The flower, in the state of the bud, is very beautiful. It deceives or tricks the viewers into thinking that when it opens into a flower, its radiance and color will be doubled, and it will become a paradise for the eyes. But this expectation is not fufilled: after the flower blooms, it gradually becomes non-radiant and colorless. He is addressing his own understanding, and making it aware of this deceit.

== Gyan Chand, p. 264


TAMASHA: {8,1}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}. This verse is from a different, unpublished, formally identical ghazal, {338x}, and is included for comparison. On the presentation of verses from unpublished ghazals like this one along with formally identical divan ghazals, see {145,5x}.

Here's a brilliant verse based spectacularly (yes, like a spectacle) on what I call, for want of a better word, 'stress-shifting'. The two 'A,B' lines are semantically independent; the second line is inshaa))iyah and takes the form of a question that, thanks to the powers of kahaa;N , is either genuine ('Do you know of any such place?') or rhetorical ('As if there could be any such place!').

But how exactly does the first line inspire, or evoke, the second line? As so often, we're left to figure out entirely for ourselves what element(s) in the first line give rise to the second line, and why. Here are some of the possibilities:

=The rose, during the time when it's still just a bud, is deceived into foolishly happy anticipation by its rash and heedless immersion/absorption in its own style/'color'.

=The rose, through the very act of budding/blooming, is deceived into bringing about its own imminent destruction.

=The rose-bud is lured deep into the deceptive ocean of style/'color' and 'drowned' there (since it quickly blossoms into a rose, and then dies).

=Anticipation (like that felt by a rose when it's still just a bud) deceives one into entertaining falsely 'rosy' visions of the future.

=The budding/blooming rose is immersed in displaying style/'color'-- it thus, wittingly or not, deceives the beholder into placing trust in the all-too-transient glories of this world.

=In this world the attraction of color/mood/style is itself a deceit, and though it may allure the rose to its doom, 'Awareness' should not be fooled.

=What we take to be a budding/blooming rose, in all its radiant glory, doesn't really exist at all-- it's just a trick, a momentary illusion of the kind that this deceptive world constantly uses to ensnare us.

=Our own 'awareness' is just as vulnerable to deceit as is a naively dreaming rose-bud.

These ambiguities are enhanced by the double meaning of ;Gunchagii as either 'budding' or 'blooming'; this ambiguity exists in Persian too (see the definitions above). Whether we are to imagine a small, tight, latent 'bud' (for which 'color' may be a beguiling dream), or else a bud that is now 'blooming' into a full-blown rose (which is drowning in 'color'), obviously opens different ranges of interpretation.

Above all, what exactly is the 'deceit/beguilement of spectacle'? Thanks to the multivalence of the i.zaafat , it might be: (1) a deceit that is itself a spectacle; (2) a deceit perpetrated by a spectacle; (3) a deceit that makes one wrongly think that there is a spectacle. And is the bud and/or the rose a victim of this deceit, or a perpetrator? (Or perhaps both?) Moreover, given the range of meaning of fareb (see the definition above), what's at issue may not be a deliberate 'deceit, trick, fraud' at all, but merely a 'beguilement, allurement' that is innocent or even accidental.

In short, Ghalib does it again; here's a simple-looking verse that can be read in an unresolvable number of ways. Doesn't the verse itself constitute a 'deceit/beguilement of spectacle'? I think he really should have included this one in the divan.