Ghazal 119, Verse 4


paidaa hu))ii hai kahte hai;N har dard kii davaa
yuu;N ho to chaarah-e ;Gam-e ulfat hii kyuu;N nah ho

1) there has been born/created, they say, a cure/medicine for every pain/affliction

2a) if this would be so, then why wouldn't there be a remedy emphatically for the grief of love?
2b) if this would be so, then why would there be no remedy only for the grief of love?



yuu;N ho -- that is, if what people say is true, then why wouldn't there be a cure for the disease of passion? But there's no cure for our passion. So how would I believe that a cure has been created for every pain? (127)

== Nazm page 127

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'It's a saying that a cure has been created for every pain in the world. If this would be true, then why wouldn't our passion become well?' (180)

Bekhud Mohani:

We're disgusted with our passion. But the famous saying came to mind, that the Lord has created a cure for every pain. From this, we hoped that a cure for our disease of passion must certainly have been created; we ought not to despair. (239-40)



The first line is vague and abstract, forcing us to wait for the second line before we can even begin to interpret it. (When 'they say' this, are 'they' to be considered right, or wrong?) Under mushairah performance conditions, we will have to wait a bit for the answer.

Then when we finally hear it, we realize that Ghalib has cleverly arranged for the second line to express both hope and hopelessness, both wistful belief and radical cynicism. The two cleverly managed meanings of hii ('emphatically' or 'only') are the key to the line's multivalence.

Thus reading (2a) rests on 'emphatically, especially', and suggests that one might argue through to a hopeful conclusion (as Bekhud Mohani does). 'Hey, if there's a cure for everything else, why shouldn't there be one for my disease, the grief of passion? I should go and track it down! Then I can escape from this suffering.'

By contrast, reading (2b)-- Nazm's preferred one-- rests on 'only, alone', and suggests a negation of all hope. 'There may be a medicine for everything else, but why then is the grief of passion alone left devoid of any cure? It's so unfair!'

While Bekhud Dihlavi, in what amounts to a third reading, takes the question as a genuine expression of uncertainty-- 'Would there be a cure for passion, or would there not be? It's something that needs further consideration.'

Maybe there would be an ambivalent 'cure' of some kind, that both did and didn't work-- see {4,2} for a perfect description of the form it might take.

On kyuu;N nah ho , see {119,1}.