Ghazal 126, Verse 1

{126,1}*

kisii ko de ke dil ko))ii navaa-sanj-e fi;Gaa;N kyuu;N ho
nah ho jab dil hii siine me;N to phir mu;Nh me;N zabaa;N kyuu;N ho

1) having given the heart to someone, why would anyone be a {song-singer / wealth-measurer} of lamentation?
2) if/when there would not be only/emphatically a heart in the breast, why then would there be a tongue in the mouth?

Notes:

navaa : 'Voice, sound; modulation; song; air;... riches, opulence, wealth, plenty; subsistence; --prosperity; goodness or splendour of circumstances; --a splendid situation; --a happy life'. (Platts p.1157

 

sanj : 'Weigher, measurer; examiner (used as last member of compounds, e.g. na;Gmah-sanj or taraanah-sanj [for] a measurer of sounds, i.e. a musician'. (Platts p.681)

 

fi;Gaan : 'Cry of pain or distress, wailing, groaning, lamentation, complaint; clamour'. (Platts p.782)

Ghalib:

[writing in July 1854, at the end of a letter he records all verses, in order]
==Khaliq Anjum, vol. 3, pp. 1148-49

Ghalib:

[writing in 1858:] First of all the question is asked of you: in a number of letters, I've found you continuously complaining of grief and sorrow. Enough! If your heart has been lost to some pitiless one, then what scope is there for complaint? Rather, such grief is to be wished for one's friends as well, and to be considered worthy of increase. In the words of Ghalib (God's mercy be upon him!), this verse [bait]: {126,1}.

Bravo, bravo-- the 'glory of the opening-verse' [;husn-e ma:tla((]: {126,8}. Alas, that I'm not able to remember more verses of this ghazal!

==Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum, vol. 2, pp. 713-14
==another trans.: Russell and Islam, pp. 183-84
==another trans: Daud Rahbar, pp. 89-90

Nazm:

That is, having become a lover of somebody, what's the point of complaining about it? (135)

== Nazm page 135

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, having become a lover of somebody, to keep complaining and lamenting about it is contrary to the honor [shaan] of passion. The lover ought to remain silent. As if the concealment of passion is the honor of passion. When the heart wouldn't be in the breast, and it would be given to someone else, then it's necessary that the tongue too would not be in the mouth. One ought to cut it too out and fling it away, or it's proper to nail it down. What a fine opening-verse he has composed! (190)

Bekhud Mohani:

After becoming a lover, why weep over the cruelty of the beloved? That is, the glory of passion is that the lip should not be acquainted with complaints about the beloved. (254)

Arshi:

[Further discussion of the dating of this ghazal, based on letter references.] (252)

FWP:

SETS
MUSIC: {10,3}

The commentators offer the obvious prose sense and are content to stop there. Of course, the second line provides a nice, wry, punchy image that gives them something to enjoy. Indeed, if you don't even have a heart, why should you have a tongue? Why not just accept your destiny and resignedly fall silent, or even make it a point of honor to keep your lips grimly sealed, as Bekhud Dihlavi declares to be incumbent on the lover? Or, as he also suggests, why not cut out your tongue and fling it away?

Yet surely there's more to the verse. After all, Ghalib doesn't say 'why lament?' He says, 'why be a navaa-sanj-e fi;Gaa;N ?'-- which is considerably more complex. The obvious meaning of navaa-sanj is a 'singer' (literally, 'song-measurer'). Someone who is a 'singer' or 'musician' of cries and groans is surely someone who turns them into an art form. This gives us a delicious vision of the Rival, the false lover, who orchestrates his laments for effect, and always keeps at least one eye on the audience. For him and his ilk, the speaker's implied message is clear: you are not true lovers, your performance is not fooling anybody-- just shut up.

But there remains the secondary meaning of navaa as wealth, prosperity, even happiness. Beyond the piquant wordplay of 'a happiness-measurer of suffering', what would it mean to be a 'wealth-measurer of lamentation'? Surely even the true lover might be tempted to indulge in this secret pleasure: cherishing his sorrows, enjoying the heat of his sighs, relishing the constant flow of laments, considering his lamentation to be his real 'wealth'. For him, the speaker's message is equally stern: give up these games; noise is inferior, the truer pledge of passion is silence. The one who loses his heart should lose his tongue as well; the higher disciplines and deeper sufferings of passion occur without words, and even without sounds. And as Ghalib suggests in his letter, even one's (wordless) feelings should be only those of heartfelt gratitude.

I've had a go at translating (1991) this one.