Ghazal 92, Verse 7


;Gaalib apnaa yih ((aqiidah hai bah qaul-e naasi;x
aap be-bahrah hai jo mu((taqid-e miir nahii;N

1) Ghalib, this is my creed/belief, in the dictum/saying of Nasikh
2) [he] himself is {destitute / cut off}, who is not a {believer in / follower of} Mir


((aqiidah : 'A belief, faith, firm persuasion; a creed; an article of belief; a doctrine; a religious tenet'. (Platts p.763)


be-bahrah : 'Having no share, part, or lot (in), without portion or profit; destitute, unfortunate'. (Platts p.202)


mu((taqid : 'Believing; firmly persuaded, confident, certain, or sure (of); follower (of a creed or sect); an adherent, a faithful friend or servant'. (Platts p.1047)


miir : 'Chief, leader, master, head... ; a title by which the Saiyids (or descendants of the family of Muhammad) are called'. (Platts p.1105)


In one gathering, he was praising Mir Taqi. Shaikh Ibrahim Zauq too was present; he gave priority to Sauda over Mir. Mirza said, 'I used to consider you a winner [miirii], but now I've realized that you're a madman [saudaa))ii].

miirii : 'One who surpasses or outstrips another (in any business, or game, &c.); a winner (at play); —(among schoolboys) he that first comes to the master to say his lesson'. (Platts p.1105)

saudaa))ii : 'Melancholic, atrabilarious; insane, mad;—an atrabilarian, a hypochondriac; a madman'. (Platts p.696)

==Urdu text: p. 97 in Hali, Yadgar-e Ghalib


Ghalib and Mir, both these elders, are from Akbarabad [=Agra]-- that is, at an age when they had already learned the language, they came to the royal capital [of Delhi]. [Evidence for this is provided from various sources.] Now if you call Ghalib a Dihlavi, then it's necessary to call Mir a Lakhnavi. But the language of these two Ustads is saying that neither is the former a Dihlavi, nor is the latter a Dihlavi.

And the state of the language can be learned from a single word; there is no need for further examination. In the late Mir's idiom, in all his divans, here and there is the word or with the meaning of :taraf , although this word was never in the language of Delhi. The late Mirza Ghalib says, ek dil tis pah yih naa-ummiidvaarii -- haay haay. In a letter he writes, paarsalo;N kaa chha;Tvii;N saatvii;N din pahuu;Nchnaa ;xayaal kar rahaa huu;N . In one place he writes, palang par se khisal pa;Raa khaanaa khaa liyaa . Although among his contemporaries these words [tis, chha;Tvii;N, khisal] were on nobody's tongue in Delhi or Lucknow. It is fair to say that both these elders are a source of pride to the language of Akbarabad. [Merely] because two or three words are unfamiliar, their language cannot be called into question.

In short, connoisseurship in his art, and love of his homeland, both required that Ghalib should join with Nasikh in the creed that the person is {destitute / cut off} who is not a {believer in / follower of} Mir. In the same way, Atish too has supported him: [example]. Mirza Rafi' Sauda, who is his contemporary-- he too supports the Ustad-ship of Mir: [example]. Among contemporaries it's rare that one should admire another, but Mir himself admired Sauda. He says: [two examples].

It's famous that Sauda is the Ustad in the ode, and Mir in the ghazal, and the former's ghazals are weak, and the latter's odes. This notion is not at all supported by investigation. Sauda's ghazals are absolutely not weak, although he composed fewer ghazals than Mir, and many odes. And to call Mir's odes weak is mistaken, because Mir didn't even want to compose odes-- he composed only two or three odes, and those too were short.... Beyond doubt, the style that Mir achieved in the ghazal has not been granted to anybody else.

Another point that here is not without literary advantage is that all the early and later poets have admired Mir and Sauda, and still do admire them. And merely because of their lofty themes, and by reason of the informality of their language, their image is seated within everyone's hearts, and no one doubts their Ustad-ship.

[But] those matters that will now be established about their Ustad-ship, have violated the pages of [the handbooks of prosody and rhetoric] ((aruu.z-e saifii and ;Giya;s ul-lu;Gaat . Both these elders [Mir and Sauda] have neither cared about errors in idiom, nor bothered about rules of grammar. Azad wrote down some such verses, but for the most part his gaze didn't fall on them. Those errors are these: (1) [examples of unidiomatic usages]; (2) causing ((ain and h to [metrically] shorten: [examples]; (3) often there is vulgarity/obscenity [hazal] in the ghazal: [examples]; (4) they held wrong ideas about Urdu grammar: [examples]; (5) Mir Sahib is a meaning-making [ma((nii-band] poet and a theme-composing [ma.zmuun-go] Ustad, but when he inclines toward verbal affinities [tanaasub-e laf:zii] and .zil((a , then he rivals [the lesser poets] Amanat Lakhnavi and Shah Nasir Dihlavi: [examples]; (6) flaws in the refrain: [examples]; (7) wrong ideas about rhyme: [examples]; (8) constructions from which some shallow [rakiik] aspect would emerge; a poet ought certainly to avoid them as well. Mir says: daryaa thaa magar aag kaa daryaa-e ;Gam-e ((ishq / sab aabilah hai;N merii daruunii me;N .sadaf se. That is, there are blisters like pearls. (92-95)

== Nazm page 92; Nazm page 93; Nazm page 94; Nazm page 95


Ghalib and Mir were both Akbarabadis. They spent their language-learning time in Agra (Akbarabad). Then Mir came to Delhi. After that, he arrived in Lucknow, and passed his whole life there. To the point that he is even buried in Lucknow. (262)


In the nas;xah-e ;hamiidiyah [manuscript] the first line of this verse is also like this: re;xte kaa vuh :zuhuurii hai bah qaul-e naasi;x [he is the Zuhuri of Rekhtah, in the words of Nasikh].

In this ground one more [unpublished] verse too has been composed by Ghalib:

miir ke shi((r kaa a;hvaal kahuu;N kyaa ;Gaalib
jis kaa diivaan kam az-gulshan-e kashmiir nahii;N

[what can I say about the state of Mir's verse, Ghalib!
whose divan is not less than a garden of Kashmir]. (306)



In Ghalib's original ten-verse ghazal there were two closing-verses: the seventh verse (the present one) and the final, tenth verse (here presented as {92,8x}). This of course proved convenient when he decided to publish only the first seven verses. But I wonder how this arrangement happened to come about. For a ghazal to have a closing-verse in the penultimate position is uncommon but not so surprising; a closing-verse embedded in the midst of the ghazal, however, is genuinely rare.

Most of the other commentators don't have much to say about this verse except the usual prose paraphrase, but Nazm launches into a sweeping four-page discussion. His central point is duly repeated by his faithful follower, Shadan. As Shadan notes, the basic starting point of Nazm's critique is to show, with a barely concealed snideness, that neither Mir nor Ghalib was a 'real' Delhi person who spoke the 'real' language of Delhi-- so that it's not surprising that Ghalib praised Mir, since they were both provincials from the same home place [va:tan], Agra.

Nazm then goes on to explicate his own views about the virtues and flaws of Mir's (and Sauda's) ghazals. Since his discussion has a literary and historical interest of its own, I've translated almost all of his main points, omitting mostly the many examples. Nazm's views inspire me with many thoughts and observations, but I'll save them for another context, since his commentary doesn't have much to do with the verse itself.

This verse makes clear the depth of the admiration professed (and probably really felt) by Ghalib for Mir. The most conspicuous feature of the verse is in fact the use of two words from the religious domain, both from the same root: ((aqiidah in the first line, and mu((taqid in the second. This not only sets up a verbal and phonetic resonance, but also emphasizes the degree to which the verse is presenting itself as a kind of quasi-religious statement of faith. Another such admiring verse is of course the other closing-verse of this ghazal, the unpublished {92,8x}.

However, compare {36,11}, for a far more tendentious and ambivalent 'tribute' to Mir. (And remember, a ghazal in any case is not a literary treatise.)

The original verse by Nasikh has this first line: shub'hah naasi;x nahii;N kuchh miir kii ustaadii me;N [there's no doubt at all, Nasikh, about Mir's Ustad-ship], followed by the same second line that Ghalib has borrowed for the present verse. Source: rashiid ;hasan ;xaa;N, inti;xaab-e naasi;x (Delhi: Maktaba Jamia Ltd., 1972), p. 173.