Ghazal 126, Verse 2


vuh apnii ;xuu nah chho;Re;Nge ham apnii va.z((a kyuu;N chho;Re;N
subuk-sar ban ke kyaa puuchhe;N kih ham se sar-giraa;N kyuu;N ho

1) she will not abandon her temperament; why would we abandon our style?
2) would we/she become low/base/'light-headed' and ask, 'why are you arrogant/'heavy-headed' with us'?!


sar-giraan : 'Proud, arrogant, insolent'. (Platts p.648)


subuk-sar : 'Light-headed; unsteady, undignified, without power or dignity, contemptible, mean, base; helpless; hasty'. (Platts p.633)


This verse [na:zm] has attained such a structure [bandish] that even in prose such an appropriate [barjastah] utterance is not possible. (135)

== Nazm page 135

Bekhud Dihlavi:

This is the supreme limit of literary achievement. He says, she won't leave off her habit of being irritated. Why would we abandon our style of self-respect? Would we lower ourselves [;haqiir ban kar] to ask, 'Why are you angry with us?' (190)

Bekhud Mohani:

What beautiful phrases he has put in the verse! And its appropriateness is of such an order-- what can be said about it! Her habit is to constantly remain angry; she won't leave off this habit. Then why would I abandon my style of self-respect, and ask the way fools do, 'Why are you angry with us?'. That is, if it were the annoyance of a single day, then one might persuade her. (255)



The commentators have got half of it-- but how much greater is the relish when the other half is added! The grammar in the first line carefully creates two masculine plural subjects: the beloved, who gets the plural of respect; and the lover, who refers to himself, here as so often, in the first person plural. Then the second line carefully omits all subjects, and offers only a (presumably) masculine, plural subjunctive verb [puuchhe;N]. The speaker of the quoted phrase in the second line refers to him/her self as 'we', and to the addressee as 'you' in the familiar. Thus either party in the first line could speak the words in the second line to the other.

Either party could speak the words-- but of course, neither party ever will. The commentators all assume that the beloved's temperament is wrathful, and that sar-giraa;N means something like 'angry'. Yet the beloved's temperament is completely undefined in the first line, except that it's something she won't abandon; and the meaning of sar-giraa;N is more like 'proud' or 'arrogant' than like 'wrathful'. Which of course means that her 'temperament' inclines her to arrogance, and the lover's 'style' is also, obviously, something that keeps him from groveling or abasing himself, as the first line clearly implies. For more on the nuances of va.z((adaarii , see {115,7}.

So neither of the two will unbend toward the other. They can't, nor should they-- for to do so would be to become low, vile, mean, foolish. The lover cannot grovel, he cannot beg, he cannot ask a possibly foolish or vain question. Nor, of course, can she-- and for essentially the same reasons. The lover and beloved, equal in their personal pride and their commitment to style and consistency, deserve each other-- and thus are condemned never to reach out to each other. With excellent wordplay, they are both determined to remain 'heavy-headed' rather than 'light-headed', and so there they are, stuck with themselves and each other.

For another, similarly wry verse about clashing-- or ironically meshing-- temperaments between lover and beloved, see {115,7}.