Ghazal 105, Verse 3x


naa-gavaaraa hai hame;N i;hsaan-e .saa;hib-daulataa;N
hai zar-e gul bhii na:zar me;N jauhar-e faulaad yaa;N

1) distasteful to us, the beneficence/favor of wealth-possessors
2) even/also the 'gold of the rose' is the polish-lines of steel, in our view, here


naa-gavaaraa : 'Undigested; indigestible; unwhole some, unpalatable, unpleasant; unacceptable; — irksome; — unarranged'. (Platts p.1111)


i;hsaan : 'Doing that which is good; beneficence, benefaction, benevolent action, benefit, favour, kindness, good offices, obligation conferred'. (Platts p.29)


zar-e gul : 'The yellow stamina of a rose'. (Platts p.616)


jauhar : 'A gem, jewel; a pearl; essence, matter, substance, constituent, material part (opp. to accident), absolute or essential property; skill, knowledge, accomplishment, art; excellence, worth, merit, virtue; secret nature; defects, vices; --the diversified wavy marks, streaks, or grain of a well-tempered sword;' (Platts p.399)


He says that not to speak of gold, to take the beneficence of wealth-possessors is so unacceptable that even/also from the 'gold of the rose' we flee the way one would flee from the jauhar of steel-- that is, tempered steel, a means of wounding. In reality the 'gold of the rose' has no wealth but is only for its verbal similitude; its nearness too is unpleasing.

== Zamin, p. 239

Gyan Chand:

To take the beneficence of people of wealth is unacceptable to us. Gold, even if it would be in a flower, in my eyes is nothing more than a metal. The 'gold of the rose' is the pollen [ziirah] of the flower. It has a similitude with the polish-lines of steel, which sometimes are in the form of spots and sometimes in the form of lines.

== Gyan Chand, p. 266


JAUHAR: {5,4}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

The stamen is the part of the flower that produces pollen; in roses, the stamen and pollen are often gold in color, so that the pollen would resemble gold-dust. And gold dust in turn could perhaps be thought to resemble the temper-lines on steel-- as, for example, the polish-lines on a tempered sword (see {88,6x} for a close look).

Of course, the resemblances between pollen and gold-dust, and gold-dust and temper-lines, are not very close. But if we take the metaphor a bit more abstractly, it becomes chilling: when rich people give you gold, it's really like reminding you that they also potentially hold a sword over your head. It's soft power very subtly (and thus all the more menacingly) evoking hard power.

This verse belongs to a group that I call 'independence' verses; for discussion and examples, see {9,1}.