Ghazal 121, Verse 9x


bechaarah kitnii duur se aayaa hai shai;x-jii
ka((be me;N kyuu;N dabaa))e;N nah ham barhaman ke paa;Nv

1) the poor thing, from how far away he has come, Shaikh-ji!
2) in the Ka'bah, why would we not press the Brahmin's feet?


dabaanaa : 'To press down, bow down, compress, depress'. (Platts p.505)


ISLAMIC: {10,2}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; because I thought it was interesting, and also for the sake of completeness, I have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

On foot-pressing, see {193,5}.

In the first line, apparently the speaker and the Shaikh find themselves together when they notice a new arrival, dusty and footsore, who has just made a long journey. But where are they, and how does the speaker know how extraordinarily long his journey was, and why does the speaker seem to invite the Shaikh to share his compassion? Under mushairah performance conditions, we'd of course be made to wait a minute or two in suspense before we were permitted to hear the second line.

Then we learn that the speaker and the Shaikh are in the Ka'bah, so presumably they and the new arrival are all pilgrims. Pilgrimages demand a lot of foot travel, after all, and to show compassion for a weary and footsore pilgrim is only proper and humane. Not until the last possible moment does the 'punch-word' make it all clear-- the new arrival is a Brahmin!

The speaker seems to feel that the Shaikh owes (extra?) compassion to his fellow religious professional. The first line might be spoken reproachfully, after the Shaikh had made some unfriendly remark about the newcomer; or it might be a spontaneous expression of sympathy and even admiration.

Compare the other 'Shaikh and Brahmin' verses, discussed in {204,7}.