Ghazal 142, Verse 2

{142,2}

dilaa yih dard-o-alam bhii to mu;Gtanam hai kih aa;xir
nah giryah-e sa;harii hai nah aah-e niim-shabii hai

1a) oh heart, even this pain and sorrow is valued/prized, for finally
1b) oh heart, this pain and sorrow too is valued/prized, for finally

2) there is neither dawn weeping, nor is there midnight sighing

Notes:

mu;Gtanam : 'Accounted an invaluable prize; regarded as a blessing'. (Platts p.1051)

Ghalib:

[Writing in 1858:] And if-- may the Lord forbid!-- you have worldly griefs, then, brother, you are our fellow-sufferer [ham-dard]. I am bearing that burden in a manly [mardaanah] way-- you bear it too, if you are a man. As the late [mar;huum] Ghalib has said in this verse: {142,2}.
==Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum vol. 2, p. 714
==another trans.: Russell and Islam, p. 184
==another trans.: Daud Rahbar, p. 90

Nazm:

The meaning of 'finally' is that the result even of all this pain and sorrow will be that there will be neither weeping or sighing-- that is, having done their work, they will give release from suffering and pain. (152)

== Nazm page 152

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The result of this pain and sorrow is about to happen: that one day we will die, and then neither will the dawn weeping remain, nor will the midnight sighing be present. Oh heart, you ought to consider the state of pain and sorrow to be a prize/blessing, because as long as it exists, our life too continues. (210)

Bekhud Mohani:

[Nazm's comments] are incomprehensible to me. The author has said bhii ; his excellency the commentator has paid no attention to it. (278-79)

Arshi:

Compare {90,4}. (219, 261)

FWP:

SETS == A,B; BHI

Such an exercise in subtlety, wit, and amusing evocation! In the first line, we have several choices of nuance. What is it exactly that we are to consider to be 'prized' or 'valued', like loot from the battlefield?

= this pain and suffering (as opposed to some other, ordinary kind)
= this pain and suffering (as opposed to ease and delight)
= even this pain and suffering (which is a uniquely non-'prized' thing)
= this pain and suffering too (in addition to all the other things in its category, whatever category that may be)

Under mushairah performance conditions, we have to wait and hope for clarification from the second line. When it comes, it turns out to be a wonderfully ironic and delightful comment that works equally well with all the above alternatives. Moreover, we notice that there are two possible ways to connect the second line to the first: do the two lines describe the same general situation, or is the second line a result of the first line?

If we consider the two lines to join in describing the same general situation, then the verse presents itself as a sort of moral injunction about the fleeting little interval of life. Invariably such moral injunctions offer as an ominous, looming future the loss of something greatly valued: gather ye rosebuds while ye may, because there won't be any more joy/delight/love/living etc. etc. when you're gone. And here, in a sort of wickedly enjoyable parody, we see, 'gather ye suffering while ye may, because there won't be any more such suffering when you're gone'.

The vision of loss is even highly detailed: alas, you won't have that old nostalgically remembered 'dawn weeping', nor those exquisite moments of 'midnight sighing'. The poor lover! Do such melancholy occasions hold for him the sentimental place that happier memories do for us? Are those the happiest (or least miserable) experiences he has? Does he think those really are happy memories? Or is the cautionary note of the verse intended to remind us that even these miserable times are better than no times at all?

Alternatively, if we consider the second line to be a result of the first line, then we find fresh complexities. Nazm reads the verse as a true celebration: all this pain and sorrow can only end in death, which will come as a blessed and peaceful release; so we should be grateful for all this misery that's rapidly hastening the day of our liberation. Bekhud Dihlavi agrees with the diagnosis that the pain and suffering is rapidly causing our death; but he feels we should be grateful to have it, since its presence shows that we're not dead yet.

It's easy to assume that the verse is about death, but even more morbidly, it may envision a sort of grim despair, a death-in-life. In the letter above, written shortly after his own long period of suffering in 1857, Ghalib speaks of himself as 'the late Ghalib', one whose life is over. Might the second line refer also not literally to death, but instead to a time when the heart is all wept out, when tears and sighs are replaced by blank, bleak silence? (Think of {138,7}.)

As Arshi suggests, {90,4} is an excellent verse for comparison.