Ghazal 109, Verse 6x


mu((aaf-e behudah-go))ii hai;N;haan-e ((aziiz
dil-e bah dast-e nigaare nah-daadah rakhte hai;N

1) they are excused for babbling nonsense, the esteemed Advisors
2) they have/'keep' a heart that has not been given into the hand of a beautiful one


mu((aaf : 'Forgiven, pardoned, absolved, excused, condoned, remitted; spared; dispensed with'. (Platts p.1046)


behudah is a short form of behuudah , for the meter.


behuudah-go))ii : 'Idle talk, talking nonsense, absurdity, frivolity; obscene talk, scurrility'. (Platts p.213)


nigaare is nigaar with a Persian indefinite article attached to it.


daadah : 'Given, bestowed, imparted'. (Platts p.500)


We excuse/pardon the bitter-voicedness of our esteemed Advisors. What can we do? The poor wretches are excused, they are helpless. They never attached their heart to any beloved-- so if they say such things, what can we do?

== Asi, p. 171


That is, if the Advisors had given their heart to some beloved, then why would they have given such nonsensical advice to someone else? But since they have no experience of this, and their hearts are unacquainted with the deliciousness of passion, their babbling of nonsense deserves to be excused.

== Zamin, p. 251

Gyan Chand:

The esteemed Advisors babble nonsense. They are worthy of being excused, because they have a kind of heart that hasn't been given to any beautiful one. The one who wouldn't be acquainted with passion-- he can't even understand us at all.

== Gyan Chand, p. 274


SPEAKING: {14,4}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

The worthy, 'esteemed' Advisors do talk the most dreadful nonsense-- perhaps even with overtones of vulgarity or scurrilousness. But they have to be excused, for after all, they have no way of knowing what they're talking about. They have hearts that have never been given away, never been surrendered into the custody of a beautiful one.

In particular, they don't just 'have' such hearts-- they actively 'keep' them. For in this verse alone, the refrain of the ghazal has been most fully energized. Not even in the rhyme-word, as is usual in mushairah verses, but only in the refrain itself, comes the real 'punch-word'. Only then do we feel the full contrast: the Advisors don't just happen by coincidence to have not-given-away hearts-- they actively hold on to them, they refuse to give them away-- they 'keep' them. How enjoyably this verb emphasizes their folly, their selfishness, their worldliness and greed! No wonder their vulgar, foolish babble is guaranteed to be of no use whatsoever.

Note for grammar fans: Ghalib here attaches a Persian indefinite-article enclitic to an Urdu noun, turning nigaar into nigaare . He very rarely does this. (Though he also does it with bute , in {109,5x}.) Perhaps it could be said to contribute to the verse by emphasizing the Advisors' reluctance to give their hearts ever, under any circumstances, to 'any' beautiful one at all. (Or perhaps it just conveniently lengthens that syllable.)

The second line of the previous verse, {109,5x}, has a structure quite similar to that of the second line in this verse. It's tempting to think that we see the poet's mind appreciating the earlier verse and generating a sequel. It's also a sort of semantic sequel, reproaching the Advisors instead of the Ascetics, but on similar grounds of showing arrogance rather than self-surrender.