Ghazal 99, Verse 5

{99,5}*

lo vuh bhii kahte hai;N kih yih be-nang-o-naam hai
yih jaantaa agar to lu;Taataa nah ghar ko mai;N

1) look-- even/also she says, This one is shameless/disgraced
2) if I had known this, I wouldn't have caused the house to be looted!

Notes:

be-nang : 'Shameless'. (Platts p.204)

 

be-naam : 'Without name, character, or reputation; inglorious'. (Platts p.204)

Nazm:

That is, the one for whose happiness I destroyed myself-- look at the spectacle, that she herself is displeased with my destroyed condition! (103)

== Nazm page 103

Bekhud Mohani:

If someone else said it, then fine. She too says, this is a disgraced wretch. If I had known it, then I wouldn't have caused my house to be looted. That is, the person for whose happiness I reduced myself to nothingness-- she too considers me vile! By 'look' [lo] the expression of amazement is intended. (201)

Shadan:

'Look' [lo] is for the expression of surprise and regret. (273)

FWP:

SETS == BHI; DIALOGUE; SUBJECT?
HOME: {14,9}
SHAME/HONOR: {3,5}

As the commentators point out, to be condemned by everybody else is no more than the lover's normal experience. But to be condemned by her too, or even by her! The little word bhii can also have an effect simply of emphasis or reinforcement; it is one that Ghalib used very cleverly; for more on this, see {36,9}.

What she actually says is that 'this [one]' is a shameless, disgraced wretch. The use of yih instead of the more common vuh gives extra immediacy; it points directly at the wretch himself, who is present and listening. And it sets the lover up to begin the next line with the same word, almost throwing it back in her face-- if he had known this, he wouldn't have reduced himself, for love of her, to the very state for which she now condemns him.

For her he has reduced his house to ruin; the 'house' can be meant literally, as in {10,7}, or of course metaphorically as the physical house, the body, which is wrecked when the heart is broken, as in {5,2}. Or, since the verb is lu;Taanaa , 'to cause to loot', it's possible that he might have actually invited in the beloved herself to do the looting; which makes it all the more unjust when she then sneers at him for his wretched, disgraced, and 'looted' condition.

Thus far, everybody would agree. But of course, the verse doesn't tell us where the quotation from the beloved actually ends. What if her quoted speech continues, and includes the second line as well? Then her effrontery becomes truly magnificent-- if she had known what an unworthy wretch the lover was, she'd never have deigned to honor him by causing his house to be looted, his heart to be broken, etc. etc. And coming from her, how wickedly enjoyable such an exclamation would be!