Ghazal 125, Verse 6

{125,6}

jise na.siib ho roz-e siyaah meraa saa
vuh sha;x.s din nah kahe raat ko to kyuu;Nkar ho

1) the one to whom would be destined a black day like mine
2) if that person wouldn't call night 'day', then how/why would [it] occur/be?

Notes:

Hali:

What must the blackness of that day be like, compared to which even night seems to be day?

==Urdu text: Yadgar-e Ghalib, p. 154

Nazm:

kyuu;Nkar ho -- that is, kyuu;Nkar bane . The meaning is, who will call it day? Because such a black day simply can't be called 'day'. (134)

== Nazm page 134

Bekhud Mohani:

The one in whose destiny has been a day as black as mine-- to him night too will look like day. That is, my black day (day of trouble) is so dark that in comparison to it night seems to be day. (253)

FWP:

SETS
NIGHT/DAY: {1,2}

On the ambiguities of kyuu;Nkar , see {125,1}.

The commentators point to the sleight-of-hand play of opposites. Anyone vouchsafed a day as black as mine would surely call the night 'day' by comparison-- if he would not do so, then 'how would it be'? Which gives us two possibilities: first, the obvious one of 'How would it be possible that he would not do so?' The answer to this rhetorical question naturally is, 'Of course he would do so! How could he help but do so?!'

But there's also the second, more open-ended reading: 'How would it come about that he would not do so?' What might cause him to refrain from confusing his black 'day' with 'night'? Well, maybe his nights are even blacker and more unimaginably terrible than his days; thus he would still have a basis for comparison, and would not be led into confusion. Or perhaps he might lose the concept of 'day' altogether, and thus have nothing to contrast his 'night' with (as in 'been down so long it looks like up to me'). Or perhaps in the inconceivable bleakness of his life even words and concepts might have deserted him. There may be other possibilities, of course. Ghalib leaves us to imagine them, and he's locked us into a box in which none of the choices are anything other than bleak.