Ghazal 141, Verse 4


hai hai;xudaa nah ;xvaastah vuh aur dushmanii
ai shauq-e munfa((il yih tujhe kyaa ;xayaal hai

1) alas-- may the Lord forbid! she-- and enmity!
2) oh disturbed/afflicted/abashed ardor-- what thought is this of yours?!


munfa((il : 'Done, performed; made; --suffering or receiving the effect (of an act), affected (by); disturbed, afflicted; --abashed, ashamed'. (Platts p.1079)


The quality munfa((il for shauq is not good. The meaning is: 'Oh ardor, you who are repenting that we considered an enemy to be a friend and created a connection [rab:t] with her-- this thought of yours was wrong'. (151)

== Nazm page 151

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Oh ardor of love, in that you are munfa((il with the thought that this mischievous one showed, or will show, enmity toward you-- alas, God forbid, why did you begin to do that? This idea of yours is absolutely wrong.' (209)

Bekhud Mohani:

When the lover expressed his ardor, the beloved showed such disdain that the lover repented of his ardor, but then hope and renewed expectation fill him with the thought that it's very wrong to think of enmity on her part-- where is she, and where enmity [kujaa vuh kujaa dushmanii]! From 'alas, may the Lord forbid!' it is clear that he has absolutely no belief that the beloved has become an enemy, and his heart doesn't in any way accept it. He says, may the Lord not cause that to happen!

In this verse, every single word is worthy of praise. The power of the poetry has been increased by so many words: 1) 'alas'; 2) 'may the Lord forbid!'; 3) 'she-- and enmity!'; 4) 'what is this thought of yours?!'. (277)


Compare {88,4}. (260)



Bekhud Mohani enumerates the wonderful exclamatory idioms that are the heart of this verse. (The vuh aur idiom is a variant of Ghalib's usual mai;N aur ; on this see {5,6}.) The whole effect is of a spontaneous, entirely colloquial cry of dismay. Among Indo-Muslims of the older generation whom I know, this kind of dismay can be provoked by even casually or hypothetically expressing some inauspicious idea. They react as if the very framing of the idea in words somehow makes the thing more likely to happen. Some things are so awful, it seems, that even to speak of them is intolerable and/or dangerous.

Here, the intensity of the reaction is provoked by the horrible, heretical, inauspicious idea that the beloved can be connected in even the remotest way with 'enmity'. The enmity might most obviously be felt by her toward the speaker; but the speaker's own heart, 'suffering or receiving the effect of an act' (see the definition of munfa((il above) by her, might also understandably feel some hostility.

The entity being scolded for harboring any such idea of 'enmity' is the elegantly complicated shauq-e munfa((il . What kind of 'ardor' might this be?

=It might be an 'affected' or 'influenced' ardor, which holds this view in response to some seemingly hostile behavior by the beloved.

=It might be a 'disturbed' or 'afflicted' ardor, which holds this view because of the stress of great suffering or mental imbalance.

=It might be an 'abashed' or 'ashamed' ardor, which has already been upbraided sufficiently for holding this awful view.

=It might even be a 'created' or 'achieved' ardor, which has received most careful cultivation from the lover-- and is thus all the more culpable for indulging in such unworthy thoughts.

Here is a verse made from a handful of idiomatic exclamations and one striking, complicated adjective. In the midst of all that vigorous bemoaning and deploring (with of course its strong overtones of 'methinks thou dost protest too much'), munfa((il leaps out at us in all its craggy, Arabicized glory. For another brilliant use of the same multivalent word, see {88,4}.