Ghazal 131, Verse 7


hai rang-e laalah-o-gul-o-nasrii;N judaa judaa
har rang me;N bahaar kaa i;sbaat chaahiye

1) the color of tulip and rose and eglantine is each one separate
2) in every mood/aspect/'color', a demonstration/proof of spring is needed


rang : 'Colour, tint, hue, complexion;...appearance, aspect; fashion, style; character, nature; mood, mode, manner, method'. (Platts p.601)


i;sbaat : 'Establishing, confirming; confirmation, corroboration, verification, proof, demonstration; ascertainment; certain knowledge'. (Platts p.22)


[See his comments for the whole verse-set: {131,6}.]

== Nazm page 140; Nazm page 141; Nazm page 142

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, the colors of tulip and rose and eglantine are separate. That is, the tulip can be of many colors, but in each of its variously colored flowers is a wound/scar [see {33,1}]. The rose too is of many colors. The eglantine is most often white. The gist is that the variation in colors and shapes is not the point. In every color it's necessary for a proof of spring to exist. By 'spring' is here meant the thought of an expression of the essence of the Court of the Most High. The verse is mystical, and is a fine one. (196)

Bekhud Mohani:

[See his comments for the whole verse-set: {131,6}.]



This is the second verse of a four-verse verse-set; for discussion see {131,6}.

The crucial word is obviously rang here, and how cleverly it's deployed! The first line opens with hai rang , and we occupy ourselves with comparing flower-colors and emphasizing the individuality and differentness of each. The second line opens with the similar-seeming har rang me;N , and we expect to continue our discussion of colors and flowers. Maybe 'in every color' is a different kind of beauty, or a necessary contribution to the visual symphony of the garden, or a fresh pang to the heart of the desolate lover?

But not at all-- there's almost an iihaam in fact, for the second line develops the abstract possibilities of rang , to the exclusion of its 'color' meaning. The abstract meanings (see the definition above for a sampling of the word's very wide range) are invoked both by the word i;sbaat , drawn from the domain of logic and reasoning; and by the verb chaahiye , which suggests that something 'is needed', and thus might or might not be present. Once the verse starts arguing that a 'proof' of something is 'needed', it's outside the domain of color and into that of the philosophical discussion of 'aspect, character, nature, mood, mode', etc. How effortlessly the protean rang makes the transition! But only in retrospect, of course, after we've read (or heard) the whole second line, and then returned to reinterpret it. (The first time through, we're bound to be fooled, because Ghalib has set it up for us that way, beyond our power to avoid.)

If we decide to read the two lines as describing the same situation-- since as so often, we have to make our own decision about their relationship-- we then will go back and reread the first line, turning each flower into a complex moral agent with not just its own color but its own 'aspect, character, nature, mood, mode', etc.-- and therefore its own obligation to provide a 'proof' of spring. Alternatively, we can decide that the two lines are separate, with the first one a mere illustration of the second: just as each flower has a color of its own, so every mood and mode and form of activity needs to provide its own 'proof' of spring.

An obligation is thus being placed by the speaker on almost everything in the world. By what authority does he speak? By whom are all these proofs of spring 'needed'? Is he demanding them with confident power and authority, speaking perhaps on behalf of God? Or is he simply expressing a personal hope or desire, or even a wistful longing? And what would it take to constitute a 'proof' of spring, anyway? Just a vivid (if short-lived) burst of color, like that of a flower, or something else more imbued with conscious activity and choice, or even with mystical insight? Needless to say, Ghalib induces us to raise these questions, and then leaves us with no answers at all.