Ghazal 112, Verse 7


;Dar naalah'haa-e zaar se mere ;xudaa ko maan
aa;xir navaa-e mur;G-e giriftaar bhii nahii;N

1) fear my wailing/groaning laments! respect the Lord!

2a) after all, they aren't even/also the voice/melody/riches of a captive Bird
2b) after all, there's not even/also any voice/melody/riches for a captured Bird


naalah : 'Complaint, plaint, lamentation, moan, groan; weeping'. (Platts p.1117)


zaar : 'Groan, plaint, lamentation, wailing'. (Platts p.614)


navaa : 'Voice, sound; modulation; song; air;... riches, opulence, wealth, plenty; subsistence; --prosperity; goodness or splendour of circumstance'. (Platts p. 1157)


giriftaar : 'Taken, seized, arrested, captured; involved (in), entangled; liable; stricken, smitten (with love, &c.), captivated; — one who is taken, &c.; a captive, a prisoner'. (Platts p.904)


That is, after all, this lament is a lament-- it's hardly the mourning of birds, that it would have no effect! (121)

== Nazm page 121

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, respect the Lord, and don't cause pain to my heart. Fear my laments; my complaint is not the voice of a captured bird, which will prove to be without effect. The Lord will certainly make it effective. (171)

Bekhud Mohani:

Oh cruel one, respect the Lord! Fear the laments that emerge from my heart. My laments are not those of a captured bird. That is, they will not remain without effect. Don't become ensnared in difficulties. (226)


BONDAGE: {1,5}

The commentators' almost unanimous view suffers from the same problem that Faruqi complained about in {112,5}: it's 'devoid of pleasure'. In addition, it basically ignores the powerful little word bhii . The cure for such limited interpretations is not far to seek: pay closer attention to every word, every nuance, every grammatical possibility of the verse; and ask yourself why Ghalib would have expected a hearer to say vaah vaah .

Here, the central axis of the verse is surely the contrast between a groaning, wailing, suffering cry [naalah-e zaar]; and a beautiful, melodious, fortunate voice [navaa]. In the first line, the beloved is enjoined to fear (the moral power of) her tormented lover's lament, and to 'respect the Lord' by fearing divine punishment and treating her lover less harshly. In addition to threatening her with God's justice in the first line, the lover goes on in the second line to take a new tack: he seeks to cajole the beloved and beg her compassion. And here, in true Ghalibian style, we have two rueful, all-too-appropriate readings to choose from.

In (2a), there's an implicit mujhe : 'After all, you ought to pity me, because I'm more wretched even than a captive bird. I have only groans and wails and vain cries for justice, while a captive bird has a melodious voice [navaa], and may sing very sweetly and even be loved for its song. A captive bird may enjoy a luxurious life in its cage, while I live in constant torment. And a captive bird may have the supreme joy of being near you, perhaps of being fed dainty tidbits by your own fingers, while you deny me everything and cast me into the outer darkness of separation.'

By contrast (2b), paints a very different picture of the (newly?) captured bird. 'After all, you ought to pity me and treat me kindly. You ought to show compassion for my misery, just as you would for that of a captured bird. You can't expect me to sing sweetly, just as a newly captured bird has no 'song' to express his misery and suffering. You should pity me for my inarticulate wretchedness. A captured bird has no riches or prosperity or good fortune [navaa] either; nor, God knows, do I. Just as it would be cruel and unworthy of you to torment a helpless, bewildered, newly captured bird, for all the same reasons you should sympathize with me.'