Ghazal 141, Verse 2


kis ko sunaa))uu;N ;hasrat-e i:zhaar kaa gilah
dil fard-e jam((-o-;xarj-e zabaa;Nhaa-e laal hai

1) to whom might/would I recite the complaint of the longing/grief for/of expression?
2) the heart is the account-sheet of the collection and expenditure of inflamed/precious/mute tongues


;hasrat : 'Grief, regret, intense grief or sorrow; —longing, desire'. (Platts p.477)


fard : 'A single thing or article; a unit;... a half, one of a pair or couple;... a draft (of an account); a register, record, statement, account-sheet; a list, roll, catalogue'. (Platts p.778)


;xarj : 'What goes out or is expended (of a man's property, &c.), outgoings, &c.; see ;xarch , the com. form'. (Platts p.488)


laal : 'Red-hot; inflamed; enraged'. (Platts p.946)


laal : 'Beloved, darling, dear, precious; --dumb'. (Platts p.946)


That is, the longing for expression is complaining of the tongue's {not being a speaker / not, so to speak, existing} [goyaa nah hone se]. Before whom would I recite that complaint? And by 'the ledger of collection and expenditure' is meant the account-book of complaint. That is, when the expression of ardor was not able to take place through the tongue, then the complaints about the tongue fill up the heart. The author has called the tongue a collection in this respect: that on many occasions the tongue showed deficiency in expressing ardor; and it's possible that the tongues of companions might be intended. (151)

== Nazm page 151

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, the longing for expression has a complaint about the tongue's {not being a speaker / not, to to speak, existing} [goyaa nah hone kii]. Before whom might I go, and bewail its sorrow? And my heart is an account book, in which the income and expenditure of mute tongues is recorded. The meaning is that the longing for expression has a complaint against those people who, like the dumb, have a tongue in their mouth. That is, they don't ask me about the state of my difficulties, despite the fact that from my face the longing for expression is plainly visible. (208)

Bekhud Mohani:

In plain words, the interpretation of the verse is that the longing for expression of thoughts that there must be in the hearts of all the mute people in the world-- that much longing is in my one heart, and it's clear how convoluted that must be for me. In place of kis ko sunaa))uu;N he could have versified kyuu;Nkar sunaa))uu;N too, but now two aspects emerge in it. One is that what expression was there-- that is, when I don't even have the power of speech at all, then to whom might I express anything? The second is that, who can hear? (276-77)



What a rich, complex, semantically juicy verse! Each line is convoluted in itself, and when the two are put together the result is almost five-dimensional.

The first line does everything it can to make the prospect of expression remote. To whom (is anybody suitable there? is anybody there at all?) might/would the speaker recite (in the subjunctive, so that the probability of its happening is no more than fifty-fifty) the complaint of (made about, or made by?) the longing/grief (two different things) for/of (two different relationships) expression? The inshaa))iyah mode is enhanced by a multivalence as conspicuous as it can possibly be. Since the complaint may well be of the (probably vain) 'longing for expression', quite possibly the speaker couldn't recite it at all, even under ideal conditions, so that the whole question becomes rhetorical.

In particular, what exactly is the i.zaafat doing in the complaint (or grief) 'of' the longing for expression? Is it a complaint made by the speaker 'about' the longing for expression? If so, it could take various forms: 'The longing for expression pesters me night and day, and I wish it would go away!'; or 'I long to express myself, but somehow I can't manage to find the words!'; or 'Something is wrong with my tongue!'. Or it could be a complaint made by the speaker about the 'grief' of expression: 'Expressing my misery is intolerably painful!'. Alternatively, the complaint could be made (or the grief felt) 'by' the (semi-personified) longing for expression itself, in which case the speaker would simply be striving (probably vainly) to report it.

As in so many verses, we're not told how to connect the two lines, so we have to figure it out for ourselves. Depending on which element of the first line we choose to emphasize (is it about finding a listener? about the possibility of recitation at all? about the content of the recitation? about the longing for recitation? about the grief over recitation?), the second line can assume various relationships to the first. Is the second line a paraphrase of the first, with both describing the same situation? Or is the second line a cause of the first, with the overflowing fullness of the blocked-up, wordless heart giving rise to the longing for expression? Or is the first line a cause of the second, with the longing for expression causing the heart to feel like a dammed-up torrent?

The second line is also elegantly complicated in its own right. The word fard , which means 'account-sheet' (thus resonating with the mercantile imagery of 'income' and 'expenditure'), also means 'single'; and with beautiful wordplay it's joined by an i.zaafat to a word meaning a 'gathering' or 'collection'. (In ghazal terminology, an 'individual' is a single verse presented independently.)

But in classic mushairah style, the best has been saved for last. The 'tongues' are pluralized, so that it's not clear how many, or whose, tongues may be meant. This prepares us for the wonderful description of them as zabaa;Nhaa-e laal , in which all three of the quite different meanings of laal are beautifully apposite. Needless to say, the commentators all opt for the most obvious meaning, 'mute' (Platts's 'dumb'), which is certainly quite appropriate. But then, would the tongues not also be hot or inflamed, because of their passionate yearning to speak, and/or the pain of doing so? Are they not also precious or dear, because the power of speech is so utterly desirable and necessary? Or might they even be precious as representing a 'collection' of memories of the beloved's speech, and even of the lover's 'expenditure' of replies as well-- though of course no amount of conversation with the beloved is enough, and the 'longing for expression' always remains unsatisfied.