Ghazal 123, Verse 8


tum vuh naazuk kih ;xamoshii ko fi;Gaa;N kahte ho
ham vuh ((aajiz kih ta;Gaaful bhii sitam hai ham ko

1) you-- so sensitive/touchy that you call silence a sigh
2) we-- so weak that even/also neglect/heedlessness is tyranny to us


naazuk : 'Delicate, tender, fragile; fine; light; brittle; nice; neat; elegant; genteel; subtle; --facetious; gracious; keen; sensitive, touchy, testy'. (Platts p.1114)


((aajiz : 'Lacking strength or power, or ability, powerless, impotent, unable (to do), unequal (to); weak, feeble, helpless; brought low, overcome; lowly, humble; exhausted; dejected; in despair, hopeless; baffled, frustrated'. (Platts p.756)


That is, I am so strengthless that when you ceased to practice tyranny, and practiced neglect, I considered it too to be tyranny. And you are so delicate that if I stop my tongue from uttering complaints, and remain silent, then you consider that too to be a complaint. (132)

== Nazm page 132

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'You are so delicate that after my renunciation of sighs, you call even my silence a sigh. And we are so feeble that when you gave up tyranny and adopted neglect, then that too did the work of tyranny toward me.' (186)

Bekhud Mohani:

You are so delicate that if we remain silent at your cruelties, then you become angry at this and sit with a sulky expression, and through your attitude complain about us. And we are so helpless that even your neglect is, for us, cruelty. (249)



Like so many of the 'you and I' verses, this one operates through mood and implication. The whole background and set of arguments that give rise to the two simple, parallel lines can only be inferred from our knowledge of the ghazal world (and of course the real world, and the kind of quarrels that lovers have). The commentators have a plausible background to offer, and I don't disagree with it.

But the real charm of the verse is in its tone, and in its open-endedness. It calls attention to the similarities between the delicacy (or sensitiveness, or touchiness) of the beloved and the weakness of the lover-- and also to the radical differences in their positions. Her 'delicacy' takes the form of being hyper-critical; his weakness takes the form of being hyper-vulnerable. After all, in their own way they're perfectly matched. The balance between similarity (both are sensitive) and difference (she attacks, he suffers) must return to a sort of mutuality: she's the ideal type of the beloved, he the ideal type of the lover.