Ghazal 111, Verse 9


mai;N chaman me;N kyaa gayaa goyaa dabistaa;N khul gayaa
bulbule;N sun kar mire naale ;Gazal-;xvaa;N ho ga))ii;N

1) I hardly went into the garden!-- [rather], so to speak, a school opened
2) the Nightingales, having heard my laments, became ghazal-{reciting/reciters}


dabistaan : 'A school'. (Platts p.506)


;xvaa;N : 'Reading, reciting, singing, chanting; —reader, reciter; chanter, &c. (used in comp.)'. (Platts p.495)


That is, the Nightingales began to recite ghazals in the way that [pupils] recite lessons in a school. It's the Nightingale's habit, when he hears a fine voice, to imitate it. (119)

== Nazm page 119

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, when I went into the garden, the Nightingales began reciting ghazals the way pupils in a school recite lessons. (168)

Bekhud Mohani:

The moment I went into the garden, the Nightingales began to recite, the way the moment the Ustad arrives, the pupils begin to recite their lessons. By 'garden' the gathering of poets can be intended; and by Nightingales, the poets; that is, the mushairah doesn't begin until I arrive. (221)


If we juxtapose the word dabistaa;N to the word 'ghazal-reciters', then the thought occurs that in reality dabistaa;N is short for adabistaa;N .... that is, it is that place where poetry and literature [adab] are discussed. My lamenting was so beautiful and melodious that thanks to its effect, or in imitation of it, or through envy of it, the Nightingales were compelled to become ghazal-reciters. Here the word ;Gazal-;xvaa;N has special importance. Because the Nightingale sings laments, or melodies, anyway. Now when he heard my rhythmic [mauzuu;N] lament, he felt that in reply to it ordinary tune-singing is not enough; rather, 'ghazal-recitation' is required. In one place [in an unpublished verse] Ghalib gave to laments that arise from the heart, preference over metrical compositions and music [Raza p.247]:

mauzuunii-e do-((aalam qurbaan-e saaz-e yak dard
mi.sraa((-e naalah-e nai saktah hazaar jaa hai

[the metricalness of two worlds sacrifices itself for the melody of one grief
the lines of the lament of the flute have a pause in a thousand places]

In the verse under discussion, he is giving preference to his own lament not only over the Nightingale's lament, but over his ghazal-recitation as well....

Indeed, Nasikh too, in his own special style, has composed an enjoyable verse on this theme:

((andaliibe;N kahtii hai;N sun kar .sariir-e kalk-e fikr
to;Re;N minqaaro;N ko ab us daa;G kii minqaar par

[the Nightingales say, having heard the scratching of the reed-pen of thought,
now we would rend our beaks at the pen-point of that scar/wound] (1989: 173-74) [2006: 194-96]

[See also his comments on Mir's M{602,1}.]



As we head into the first line, what an enjoyable little shock it is to run up against the striking juxtaposition kyaa gayaa goyaa; just to round things out, the line ends with another gayaa . (In Urdu script, kyaa and gayaa not only sound fairly similar but also look almost alike.) The possibilities of goyaa , which literally means 'speaking, speaker', and thus metaphorically means, 'as if, so to speak', are beautifully exploited; for more on this, see {5,1}. The verse thus offers us speaking [goyaa], hearing [sun kar], and reciting [;xvaa;N]. What more does poetry require?

So powerful is the speaker that he has barely entered the garden when things start to happen; indeed, grammatically, he doesn't enter it at all: 'As if I went into the garden!-- on the contrary, it was something quite different that took place'. Instead of his entering the garden, it was as if [goyaa] a metaphorical dabistaa;N opened. And as in any school or literary gathering, the presence of a master or Ustad immediately evokes a reaction.

In this case, as Faruqi observes, the speaker doesn't even provide the finished product, but only offers some raw material: it's his laments themselves that inspire or instruct or goad-- we can't determine the exact mechanism-- the Nightingales into producing ghazals. Our inability to tell exactly what's going on between the teacher and the pupils is also lovely in its way. Isn't that what learning is like in the real world? Inspiring and instructing and goading-- who can really tease them apart?

Compare {123,5}, another verse in which a bird becomes a professional rival in poetry.