Ghazal 136, Verse 4


u;Nhe;N man:zuur apne za;xmiyo;N kaa dekh aanaa thaa
u;The the sair-e gul ko dekhnaa sho;xii bahaane kii

1) she wanted to take a look at the state of her wounded ones, and [then] come [back]
2) she got up for a stroll/view through the roses-- look at the mischievousness of the excuse!


After kaa , the colloquially omitted word is ;haal .


sair : 'Moving about, strolling, stroll, ramble, walk, taking the air, airing, perambulation, excursion, tour, travels; recreation, amusement; scene, view, spectacle'. (Platts p.711)


sho;xii : 'Playfulness, fun, mischief; pertness, sauciness; coquetry, wantonness; forwardness, boldness, insolence, &c.' (Platts p.736)


That is, she got up with the excuse of going for a stroll in the garden; and her purpose was to take a look at her wounded ones and then return. The mischievousness in this excuse turned out to be that she considers looking at the wounded ones to be a stroll in the garden. (146)

== Nazm page 146

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, she wanted to take a quick look at her wounded ones. She could not do it openly before the Others. She said, I'll just go and take a stroll in the garden, I'll see the spectacle of the roses and tulips. With these excuse, she indeed saw her wounded ones. But a stroll among the roses and tulips, and looking at the wounded ones, were shown to be equivalent in her opinion. And this was the mischievousness of the excuse. (202)

Bekhud Mohani:

The aspect of flowers is like that of wounded ones. The rose, especially, looks absolutely drenched in blood.... The beloved is so pitiless that she considers a stroll among the wounded to be a stroll in the garden.

[Or:] The roses too are wounded by the sword of her coquetry. (268)


Compare {8,3}. (255)


[Compared to {8,3}] in the present verse the language is more informal and the style more suitable. But the more important difference is that in the present verse the excuse of 'to take a look at the wounded ones' reflects not only the beloved's lack of compassion, but also her softness of heart: she wants to learn the state of her wounded ones. That is, the beloved is at once devoid of compassion, and sympathetic as well.

The second difference is that as with {8,3}, in the present verse too the beloved has been shown as free and mistress of her own will. She doesn't need to be incited by anybody to do anything. But still she makes an excuse, in order to go and look at her wounded ones: 'We are going for a stroll among the roses'. It seems that this excuse too is mischievousness, because the knowers know what the true reason is for the stroll among the roses. To deliberately make an excuse expresses the beloved's carelessness: she doesn't even make an excuse that would be somewhat plausible. Thus this mischievousness is an excuse for the expression of coquetry and sidelong glances: 'All right, so people know why we are going for a stroll among the roses; but still we'll make the excuse, in order to show that we're very innocent and harmless, although in truth we're a great murderer. No one will believe it, we too don't believe it, but it becomes a game.'

The third point is that in {8,3} there's also the idea that the people who will see the beloved en route will be wounded as well; the word bismil is a generalized category. But in 'her wounded ones' there's no generalization; here only those wounded ones are intended who have already been wounded beforehand.

== [2006: 281-82]



As Bekhud Mohani suggests, it's not quite clear what the beloved actually did. There would seem to be three possibilities. It's their overlapping and blurring that makes the verse amusing.

(1) She pretended she was going to walk in the garden, but actually she didn't: she took a quick look at her wounded lovers instead.

(2) She announced that she was going to walk in the garden, and then did so, in order to enjoy the sight of the wounded roses, which all suffered in their love for her.

(3) She announced that she was going to walk in the garden, and as she walked in the garden she contrived to let her wounded lovers get a glimpse of her, so she could take a quick look at them also.

As everybody in the ghazal world knows, the wounded lovers are dripping with blood from their wounded hearts and bloody tears, so that they look as red as roses; and they writhe in anguish, the way roses sway and bend in the breeze; and they soon droop and die, as roses in full bloom are soon doomed to die.

There's also the wordplay with dekhnaa -- she wants to 'look at' her lovers, and the addressee is enjoined to 'look at' her mischievousness. (Two can play the 'gazing' game.) In addition, to add to the wordplay, sair also means 'scene, view, spectacle' (see the definition above).

As Arshi points out, and as Faruqi elaborates, {8,3}, with its 'bloody writhing of the wounded', is an ideal verse for comparison,