Ghazal 96, Verse 6


banaa kar faqiiro;N kaa ham bhes ;Gaalib
tamaashaa-e ahl-e karam dekhte hai;N

1) we, having put on the guise/aspect of the Faqirs, Ghalib
2) look at the spectacle of the 'people of generosity'


bhes : 'Appearance, look, aspect; resemblance, likeness, semblance; dress, guise, garb; colour, complexion; figure, form, shape; air, manner: feigned appearance, assumed likeness, counterfeit dress, disguise, personation, mask'. (Platts p.200)


karam : 'Generosity, liberality; nobleness, excellence; goodness, kindness, benignity; beneficence; bounty; grace, favour, clemency, courtesy, graciousness'. (Platts p.826)


The meaning is that I don't have need of generosity, but I'm mad about the style of generosity, so in order to see it I've put on the guise of the Faqirs. (98)

== Nazm page 98

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Oh Ghalib, we put on the guise of Faqirs and test the virtue of the conduct of the people of generosity. We're not (God forbid!) in need of asking for things.' (147)

Bekhud Mohani:

We're not a Faqir. We're not in need. But we're mad about the style of generosity. For this reason, we've put on the guise of Faqirs. (193)


The meaning is that 'It's not our purpose to become a Faqir and ask for alms. We've adopted the guise in order to see who is generous, and how generous, and in whom there is no genuine feeling of generosity'. tamaashaa means 'stroll' [sair]. (188)


TAMASHA: {8,1}

There could be several possible advantages in assuming the dress and guise of a Faqir, or religious mendicant.

One advantage: that the speaker is able to see the pious charity dispensed by the 'people of generosity', which pleases him as a show of their virtue. (And he wouldn't get to see it otherwise, since truly virtuous people do their good deeds privately rather than publicly.) He can admire their kindness and beneficence.

A second advantage: that he can enjoy the 'spectacle', the tamaashaa , created by the people of generosity-- especially the more ostentatious and worldly ones. Do they gather a great crowd of Faqirs around them? Do they make self-congratulatory speeches? Do they present their gifts one by one, with a great flourish? He can watch, and inwardly laugh.

A third advantage: that he is able to use it as a test, so that he can act as a kind of charity investigator. Who is truly generous, and who simply makes a show of it, and who doesn't give at all? Only now will he really know. For an explicit reference to such an investigation of 'hypocrisy', see {57,10x}.

A fourth advantage: that he is actually poor-- as in {26,5} or {10,7}-- but is too proud to admit it. By providing other reasons for assuming the role of a Faqir, he manages to obtain some alms, while also protecting his pride.

And of course, these advantages aren't mutually exclusive; many or even all of them might exist together.

But then, the really amusing twist-- to what extent is the pious charity of the 'people of generosity' to be metaphorically converted into the way the powerful, well-endowed beloved treats her poor, needy lovers, as they crowd around her and beg for her attention? Can the lover urge her to be virtuously 'generous' in distributing her favors, just as she should be generous in distributing religious alms? Of course he can-- and quite shamelessly, he does.

Consider for example {24,3}, in which he explicitly asks for 'religious alms' of beauty: zakaat-e ;husn de , he begs the beloved. And there's the witty {162,9}, in which he suggestively urges the beloved 'do good-- it will be good for you', and identifies this as 'the call of the Darvesh'. None of this conflation feels theologically problematical, of course, because the mischief level is so high, and it's all so clearly tongue-in-cheek. And the final escape-hatch is always ready-- the beloved can always be God.