Ghazal 121, Verse 2


dii saadagii se jaan pa;Ruu;N kohkan ke paa;Nv
haihaat kyuu;N nah ;Tuu;T gaye piir-zan ke paa;Nv

1) he gave his life out of simplicity-- I would 'fall at the feet' of Kohkan [in affection]!
2) alas! --why weren't the old woman's 'legs worn out in vain'?


haihaat : 'Far is it from the truth! away! begone! --alas! alack-a-day!' (Platts p.1246)


paa;Nv to;Rnaa (transitive of paa;Nv ;Tuu;Tnaa ): 'To wear out one's legs in vain; to be marched or trotted about in vain; to be tired; to desist from visiting (a person); to run vainly after (a person)'. (Platts p.221)


At someone's difficulty, in an ardor of love they say, 'alas! I would fall at his/her feet!' [hai hai mai;N us ke paa;Nv pa;Ruu;N], and this is a very idiomatic phrase. And it's a well-known thing that people fall at someone's feet when pleading. In this verse Mirza used the word haihaat as a .zil((a , but what choice did he have? The line was one syllable short. (130)

== Nazm page 130

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The meaning of the verse is that Farhad, out of stupidity, came within the power of a trickster [((ayyaar] who had assumed the guise of an old woman, and gave his life. (183)

Bekhud Mohani:

Farhad, out of great simplicity, gave his life only because the procuress told a lie, that Shirin was dead. At this I feel great love. If only the old woman had 'worn out her legs in vain'! (245)


Khusrau had promised Farhad that if he would dig a channel and bring it to his palace, then Shirin would be handed over to him. Farhad dug the channel and brought it to the palace. Khusrau became very worried-- now what could be done? He had set a condition that was impossible to fulfill! Finally, seeing Khusrau's anxiety, one of his companions thought of a scheme. Assuming the guise of an old woman, he went to Farhad and, on seeing him, began to weep and wail. Farhad said, 'Ma'm, why do you weep?' At this question she wept even more, and after much questioning said, 'I am Shirin's nursemaid. I brought her up. Today she suddenly died-- and here you are, completely immersed in the thought of her!' On hearing this, Farhad became mad, and with the very same axe he was using to cut through the mountain, he struck his head, and collapsed. (316)



Formally speaking, this is a second opening-verse to the ghazal. It is thus a kind of showing off, since the poet voluntarily does for a second time the more difficult task (of using the rhyming elements at the end of both lines) that he's only expected to do once.

And appropriately to the occasion, this is a self-consciously 'clever' verse, one based on two different idioms involving feet. The one in the first line suggests protective love, sorrow, and compassion, as Nazm explains; the one in the second line is equally apposite (see the definition above). As usual with Ghalib, both also make interpretive sense if read with their literal meanings.

For further discussion of Farhad, see {1,2}.