Ghazal 101, Verse 7

{101,7}

sabad-e gul ke tale band kare hai gul-chiin
muzhdah ay mur;G kih gulzaar me;N .saiyaad nahii;N

1) the Flower-picker binds/imprisons beneath the rose-basket--
2) good news, oh Bird! that in the garden there is no Hunter

Notes:

sabad : 'A basket'. (Steingass p.647)

 

kare hai is an archaic form of kartaa hai (GRAMMAR)

Nazm:

Poets have acquired a habit of using only the rose and Nightingale and candle and Moth, etc., as themes for composing verses. And in imitation of them, the author has composed this verse. Otherwise, to the extent that you reflect carefully, there's nothing to be gotten out of it. (107)

[See also his reference to this verse when discussing {199,3}.]

== Nazm page 107

Bekhud Dihlavi:

sabad-e gul is the basket in which the flower-picker picks flowers and collects them. He says, the Flower-picker has tied you underneath the rose-basket. Oh captured Bird, congratulations! -- for there's no Hunter in the garden. If that cruel one were there, then the Bird of the garden would not have attained such nearness to the rose. (158)

Bekhud Mohani:

[Nazm's objection is directed not just against Ghalib, but against all the ancient poets, and it's unjust.] He didn't reflect about why this habit came to be. When the poet was declared to be the 'interpreter of the world' [tarjumaan-e ((aalam], then authority was bestowed on him to compose about everything-- his own autobiography, and happenings in the world as well. When metaphor, implication, supposition [majaaz], simile, etc. were declared to be his treasury, then why shouldn't he use them? Mirza himself has already given an answer to this long ago. Consider this verse-set of Mirza's: {59,7}. (209)

FWP:

SETS == MUSHAIRAH
BONDAGE: {1,5}

The first line certainly looks to be describing a disaster. Someone (unspecified) has been grabbed and tied up or imprisoned by a Flower-picker beneath a rose-basket. Is the someone a flower? a bird? And what's the significance of the whole dire event? In proper mushairah performance style, we would have to wait to find out.

Then when we finally heard the second line, we'd learn several things. First, that the imprisoned creature is a Bird, and that both lines seem to be addressed directly to him by a sympathetic bystander. Then we'd learn that the first line is not (contrary to what we had supposed) a lament. Instead, it's the beginning of an attempt at consolation.

For the emphasis in the first line turns out, in retrospect, to be meant to fall not on the painful fact of captivity (and the probability of being sold in the bazaar to some bird-fancier), but on the good fortune of being destined for capture by the Flower-picker, who sells flowers in the bazaar, and who probably would grab the bird as a casual piece of good fortune. For the Flower-picker casually ties his captives into the basket full of his already-gathered roses. Thus the Bird will be able to be bound to the side of the Rose, the beloved of the garden. The Bird should consider himself fortunate that it wasn't the Hunter in the garden that day, who might indeed have slaughtered him (though this hardly seems to deserve mention), but above all would never have confined him in such a spectacularly desirable place.

The power of implication-- one of the ghazal poet's great tools, as Bekhud Mohani points out-- then helps us notice that the possibilities the speaker (who is surely the lover) presents to the Bird don't seem to include retaining his freedom. It seems that whoever appeared in the garden, Flower-picker or Hunter, would inevitably have captured him, and it's just his good fortune that it was to be the former. This tells us a lot about the grimness of the lover's own sense of fatality. We also realize that the lover actually calls his observation to the Bird a piece of 'good news' [muzhdah]. You feel like exclaiming, 'That's the good news?!' (Or else maybe 'that's the good news?!)

Using only the most indirect, subterranean means, the verse has conveyed the lover's deep, irrevocable wretchedness. He speaks to the captured Bird as to a friend and equal. And he offers what surely means to be consolation. And who knows? Maybe the Bird is the Nightingale, the great lover of the Rose-- maybe the Bird even shares his point of view. Maybe the Bird would agree that to be tightly bound to the Beloved's side is an astonishing stroke of good fortune-- one that makes the loss of freedom hardly worth mentioning by comparison.