Ghazal 125, Verse 8


;Gala:t nah thaa hame;N ;xa:t par gumaa;N tasallii kaa
nah maane diidah-e diidaar-jo to kyuu;Nkar ho

1) it wasn't erroneous, our doubt/notion of comfort/satisfaction from the letter
2) if the 'vision'-seeking gaze would not {agree / be persuaded / go along}, then how would [it] occur/be?


gumaan : 'Doubt, distrust, suspicion; surmise, conjecture;... notion, supposition'. (Platts p.914)


tasallii : 'Consolation, comfort, solace; assurance; contentment, satisfaction'. (Platts p.324)


diidaar : 'Sight, vision (= diid ); look, appearance; face, countenance, cheek; interview'. (Platts p.556)


That is, we considered it a cause for comfort that a letter came from her. But if the vision-seeking gaze would not agree, then how would it be a comfort? (135)

== Nazm page 135

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Our suspicion was not erroneous that from her letter comfort would come to our heart.... But here, through ill-fortune the vision-seeking gaze dug in its heels even more than the restless heart. That wretch simply wouldn't in any way be diverted by her letter, and went on insisting that it would see the vision of her for itself. Now, if there would be comfort, then how would it be?' (189)

Bekhud Mohani:

Our opinion was not erroneous that when the letter came, then the heart would be comforted. But the eyes are compelled by ardor-- the gaze doesn't agree. That is, the heart was comforted, but the eyes are restless in this way. In one other place he has said the mirror-image of this verse: {152,6}. (253)


Compare {152,6}. (249)


GAZE: {10,12}
WRITING: {7,3}

On diidaar-jo instead of diidaar-juu , see {125,1}. On the ambiguities of kyuu;Nkar , see {125,1}.

What a brilliant choice the word gumaa;N is for the purposes of the verse! It either can have a markedly negative slant ('doubt, suspicion, distrust'), or can remain entirely neutral ('surmise, notion, conjecture'); see the definition above. Needless to say, the second line picks up on either possibility without missing a beat. Here are two readings:

=The lover was not wrong to think/surmise that the letter would be a comfort-- in fact, it was a comforting letter. But his 'vision'-seeking gaze-- which insisted on a sight, an appearance, even a meeting with the beloved-- would not agree to be comforted by any mere letter, so how could it really be a comfort (such as it rightfully should have been)? How could the heart be content, even if comforted by written words, while the eyes remained unsatisfied? (For a verse in which the eyes are satisfied but the heart is not, see {152,6}.)

=The lover was not wrong to have doubt/suspicion/distrust about whether the letter would be a comfort. For in fact, it turned out not to be a comfort. His 'vision'-seeking gaze refused to be persuaded of its comfortingness, and held out for a sight, an appearance, an interview. So how would or could the letter be a comfort?

And then, to what does the implied 'it' in the last clause refer-- the 'notion' of the letter's comfortingness, the 'doubt' about the letter's comfortingness, or the letter's 'comfortingness' itself?

Then in addition, maan'naa can be not only transitive (to agree to something specific) but also intransitive (to go along, to be tractable and cooperative). As usual with Ghalib, either sense works wonderfully well here. And of course diidah-e diidaar-juu makes for enjoyable visual, aural, and semantic effects.