Ghazal 130, Verse 7x


anguur sa((ii-e be-sar-o-paa))ii se sabz hai
;Gaalib bah dosh-e dil ;xum-e mastaa;N u;Thaa))iye

1) the grape, through the effort of 'head-and-footlessness', is flourishing/unripe/'green'
2) Ghalib, on the shoulder of the heart lift up the wine-cask of the intoxicated ones


sabz : 'Green, verdant; fresh; flourishing; raw, unripe'. (Platts p.632)


;xum : 'A large vessel or jar; an alembic, a still'. (Platts p.493)


He has called the wine-cask the 'cask of the intoxicated ones' because the cask is the means of conveying wine in the service of the intoxicated ones. That is, it is service to the Lord's creatures, and service to the Lord's creatures is pleasing to the Lord and is a cause of flourishingness. The grape too acts as a cask and conveys wine to the rakish ones; thus it flourishes. Thus if you lift up the wine-cask on your shoulder and serve the intoxicated ones, your effort, like that of the grape-vine, will be flourishing and effective. But the word be-sar-o-paa))ii has no relationship at all to the theme that I have expressed.

== Zamin, p. 317

Gyan Chand:

sa((ii-e be-sar-o-paa))ii = to make no effort. The grape has no head and feet-- how can it make an attempt? Without any struggle or stress, it remains green. We too would make our heart an imitator of this. The heart too has no head and feet. We would take up the cask of wine on our heart-- that is, we would lie around in intoxication. We would do nothing, and pass our life happily.

== Gyan Chand, p. 331


WINE: {49,1}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Both Zamin and Gyan Chand recognize the centrality of be-sar-o-paa))ii : Zamin acknowledges that he can't fit it in, while Gyan Chand defines it somewhat implausibly. 'Head-and-footless' generally means 'helpless', as in {23,1}. So 'head-and-footlessness' should mean something like 'helplessness', and a sa((ii-e be-sar-o-paa))ii should be an attempt 'of' head-and-footlessness. Thanks to the flexibility of the i.zaafat , this could be an attempt made 'by', or made 'for', or 'consisting of', head-and-footlessness.

Neither commentator (As i omits the verse entirely) is alert to the multivalent possibilities of sabz (see the definition above), which can mean either 'fresh, flourishing' (think of the 'green' grape-vine), or 'raw, unripe' (think of still-'green' grapes).

As Gyan Chand common-sensically points out, grapes have no 'heads' or 'feet'. Correspondingly, in the second line, a heart has no 'shoulder'. How could Ghalib not have enjoyed playing with all these possibilities of effort-making versus helplessness, flourishingness versus unripeness, and the use of body parts that don't exist? This is just the kind of verse that Ghalib, at his best, was uniquely able to pull off. But in the present case, things don't quite jell. Instead of having several vivid, compelling, contradictory possibilities to choose among, we end up with only obscure, unsatisfying possibilities that are mushy and squishy-- like over-ripe grapes. Still, I do like the gnomic quality of the verse. Even in its incoherence it has something of that Ghalibian allure: it feels as though there might well be something wonderful there, if only we could dig a little deeper and GET it.