Ghazal 129, Verse 7x


kahtaa thaa kal vuh ma;hram-e raaz apne se kih aah
dard-e judaa))ii-e asadull;aah ;xaa;N nah puuchh

1) yesterday that confidant/insider of the secret/mystery used to say to himself, 'Ah,
2) the pain of separation of Asadullah Khan-- don't ask!'


ma;hram : 'A spouse, consort; anyone to whom the ;haram or women's apartments are open (as a father, or a son, &c.); — a confidant, an intimate friend'. (Platts p.1008)


Yesterday my beloved was saying to the Messenger with extreme pain, 'In separation from Asadullah Khan, the extent to which I feel concern and anxiety-- don't even ask!'. (206)


That lover is fortunate, the pain of separation from whom would be felt by the beloved; lovers (poets) are commonly unfortunate in this regard. But this belief is contrary to reality. Indeed, certainly someone is unfortunate, someone else is fortunate. This verse tells us that Ghalib, in his poetry, doesn't want to follow the beaten path [lakiir ke faqiir ban'naa], contrary to reality [;haqiiqat ke ;xilaaf]. (309)

Gyan Chand:

The verse is clear. He has 'parroted' words about himself [apne mu;Nh miyaa;N mi;T;Thuu bane hai;N].

== Gyan Chand, p. 318



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

This is a verse of what I call 'stress-shifting'. Depending on which part of the first line we choose to emphasize, the second line takes on variety of different nuances. The confidant or insider's private speech can be variously emphasized:

=The speaker 'used to say' it, 'yesterday'-- why does he not say it today? Is it because Asad has now left this world, and is thus beyond all pain?

=The speaker is 'that confidant'-- is it something to which no outsider would be privy, if Asad had not confided in him?

=The speaker knows the 'secret/mystery'-- is Asad's anguish something far more (mystically) significant than that of any ordinary lover?

=The speaker said this 'to himself'-- because Asad is now dead? because no one else is available to hear it? willing to hear it? worthy to hear it?

=The speaker said it with an aah , a sigh-- of regret at the loss of Asad? of compassion for Asad's pain? of general melancholy at the human condition?

=The speaker told himself 'don't ask'-- was that because Asad's pain was indescribable in words? because its intensity would stun any sympathizer with grief? because Asad was unable or unwilling to talk about it?

And then, of course, about Asad's pain of separation itself we learn absolutely nothing-- except that one shouldn't ask about it.