Ghazal 131, Verse 5


mai se ;Gara.z nashaa:t hai kis ruu-siyaah ko
ik guunah be-;xvudii mujhe din raat chaahiye

1) from wine, joy/pleasure is the object/intention of which disgraced/'black-faced' one?!
2) I need a single/particular/unique/excellent style/'color' of selfless-ness, night and day


;Gara.z : 'An object of aim or pursuit, or of desire, or of want; aim, end, object, design, view, purpose, intention; business; meaning; a want, need, necessity, occasion; interest, concern; interestedness, interested motive'. (Platts p.770)


nashaa:t : 'Liveliness, sprightliness, cheerfulness, gladness, glee, joy, pleasure, exultation, triumph'. (Platts p.1139)


guunah : 'Colour; kind, sort, species; form, figure, fashion; mode, manner'. (Platts p.927)


chaahiye : 'Is necessary, is needful or requisite, is proper or right'. (Platts p.420)


That is, he keeps causing forgetfulness of grief through unconsciousness and selfless-ness. (140)

== Nazm page 140

Bekhud Dihlavi:

By drinking wine, my intention is not that I would obtain joy and delight, but rather I drink wine so that I would forget grief and sorrow. Night and day, I need some small selfless-ness. (196)

Bekhud Mohani:

This is a verse of such broad meaning that it's not easy to comment on it. Besides joy, all the other things that necessitate drinking wine may be there-- all are present in it. Because the author has left the burden of understanding them on the mind of the hearer. Many different aspects can be seen in this verse.... The meaning of ik guunah emerges as, I need one kind of selfless-ness. That is, there's nothing special about wine. I need selfless-ness, however it might be obtained....

The phrase din raat is a doomsday/wonder! That is, the whole day my heart is full of troubling thoughts, and if at night I sleep, then frightful scenes occur in dreams. In short, asleep or awake, I find no peace. From chaahiye a doomsday/wonder of power has been created in the verse. That is, it's not that I have an ardor for selfless-ness-- rather, it's become my new necessity. Or say, rather, that it's a type of medicine. (262-63)


Compare {33,2}. (128)


BEKHUDI: {21,6}
NIGHT/DAY: {1,2}
WINE: {49,1}

The color imagery offers some elegant wordplay: guunah means literally 'color', and ruu-siyaah means 'black-faced'. And of course, there are the two highly color-coded words, (black) 'night' and (white) 'day'. There are also the overtones of the ruby (or blood) color of wine, and we can hardly avoid thinking of the idiomatic expression siyaah-mast , 'black-drunk', for someone who's very drunk indeed-- drunk enough to become 'self-less', perhaps. (For examples of siyaah-mast , used with imagery of (dark) shadows, see {49,2} and {80,4}.) As always, I use 'selfless-ness' to remind the reader that this is not the English word 'selflessness', meaning 'extreme unselfishness'; rather, it's about serious (Sufistic) loss of self, or obliviousness to self.

The speaker's rhetorical question sounds contemptuous, fierce, almost desperate-- people who naively (and culpably) seek joy through wine are, by implication, 'disgraced ones' or 'wretches'. Why such harshness? The speaker implies that he himself would never be so vulgar as to use wine to seek mere joy or pleasure-- where he is, joy doesn't even exist, and relief from pain is the overriding necessity. Or perhaps he thinks that such pleasure-seekers are frivolously misusing a great and serious medicine, and turning it into a mere toy; such cheap behavior is a 'disgrace'.

Whatever our view of the speaker himself, his words are chillingly bleak. Bekhud Mohani has pointed out some of their possible implications. A milder, more compassionate version of this theme can be seen in {86,3}-- where those who seek joy in wine are not 'disgraced', but are simply naive remnants of an earlier, more hopeful generation.