Ghazal 132, Verse 6


mai-e ((ishrat kii ;xvaahish saaqii-e garduu;N se kyaa kiije
liye bai;Thaa hai ik do chaar jaam-e vaazh-guu;N vuh bhii

1) how would the wine of sociability/mirth be requested from the Cupbearer of the sky/sphere?!
2) even/also he has already taken one or two or four inverted/inauspicious cups


((ishrat : 'Social or familiar intercourse, pleasant and familiar conversation, society; pleasure, enjoyment, mirth'. (Platts p.761)


kiije is an archaic form of the passive kiyaa jaa))e (GRAMMAR)


garduun : 'A wheel; the heavens, the firmament, the celestial globe or sphere; chance, fortune (and her revolving wheel)'. (Platts p.903)


do chaar : 'A few (= do tiin )'. (Platts p.529)


vaazh-guu;N : 'Inverted, reversed, turned upside down, topsy-turvy; —contrary, opposite; preposterous; —unfortunate, unlucky'. (Platts p.1174)


One two four-- and it came to 'seven heavens' [saat aasmaan]. (143)

== Nazm page 143

Bekhud Dihlavi:

What hope would there be for the request to the Cupbearer of the sky for the wine of sociability? He too has already taken one or two or four overturned cups. Putting together one and two and four, there are seven heavens, and overturned cups are always empty. The meaning is, where in the cups of the sky is the wine of sociability, that we should long for it? (199)

Bekhud Mohani:

It's vain to long for sociability from the Cupbearer of the sky. That poor wretch himself is sitting there with some cups overturned-- what will he give to anybody? (264)


WINE: {49,1}

What a lovely combination of wordplay and meaning-play! The first line is abstract and almost uninterpretable-- and even the second holds its double punches in reserve until the last possible moment. Why should we not ask the Cupbearer of the celestial sphere, and/or the dome of the sky, for the wine of sociability, mirth, good company?

=Because he's already drunk it all, and overturned his cups afterwards to show that he's had enough.

=Because he has no wine-- all he's ever had is overturned cups, in the form of the heavenly spheres.

=Because we want a cup of the auspicious wine of mirth and good company, and all he's ever had is 'unfortunate, unlucky' cups-- for as we in the ghazal world know, disasters usually 'descend' on us humans from the sky (as in {14,8}).

=Because he's already drunk so many cups of wine that he's intoxicated, and is thus unable or unwilling to listen to our appeals.

Then there's the enjoyable number play. Ek do means 'one or two', just as in English. And do chaar means 'two or three', or perhaps 'three or four'. So that when the speaker conflates the two idiomatic expressions into ek do chaar , he not only evokes both expressions, but also conjures up the wonderful fuzziness of intoxication-- 'well, I've had two or three drinks, or maybe it was four; or wait, it could have been five'. Plainly, they've all begun to blur together. (For the supreme example of such number-play, see {20,10}.)

And as the commentators point out, if you add up one plus two plus four you get seven, the number of the 'seven heavens' [saat aasmaan], the concentric spheres of Greek cosmology. Each of which would of course look, from earth, like an inverted bowl or cup. Inverted in satisfaction by a happily intoxicated drinker who can't hold another drop? Inverted in despair to show the lack of wine? Inverted in dismay at the 'unfortunate, unlucky' nature of the wine? As so often, the choice is ours.