Ghazal 146, Verse 1


ra;hm kar :zaalim kih kyaa buud-e chiraa;G-e kushtah hai
nab.z-e biimaar-e vafaa duud-e chiraa;G-e kushtah hai

1) have mercy, cruel one, for what is the existence of an extinguished/'killed' lamp?
2) the pulse of one sick from faithfulness is the smoke of an extinguished/'killed' lamp


kushtah : 'Killed, slain; —s.m. One who is killed or slain, a victim; (poet.) a lover'. (Platts p.836)


In the first line chiraa;G-e kushtah is a metaphor for one sick from faithfulness, and in the second line the meaning is the original one. For pulse the 'smoke of a killed lamp' is a 'simile of movement', and the cause of similitude is that very movement-- that is, to be cold, to be weak, gradually to fade away, etc. However many are these qualities of an extinguished lamp, they are all present in the pulse of a sick person at the time of dying. (155)

== Nazm page 155

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, have mercy, cruel one-- what life does one sick from faithfulness even have? It's as if his pulse is the smoke of a 'killed' lamp. (213)

Bekhud Mohani:

In this verse the author has said 'killed lamp'; he has not said 'dead lamp' [chiraa;G-e murdah]. A 'dead lamp' is one that would become extinguished by itself, when the oil and wick had been exhausted. A 'killed lamp' is one that would be extinguished [by someone], and would still be capable of burning.

That is, have mercy even now-- the way an extinguished lamp can be relit, in the same way the lover who has been killed by your neglect can still be saved from dying. In saying 'killed lamp' it also emerges that he has been killed by you. (283-84)



Such a simple, even repetitive, verse, and yet not without its own charm. Why should the 'cruel one' consent to 'have mercy'? Here are some possible reasons for the exhortation:

=Because the lover is already dead-- nothing has any effect on him now, and he should be left in peace.
=Because she's already killed the lover-- she might as well stop tormenting him now, since it's a waste of energy.
=Because the lover isn't quite dead yet; but if she goes on tormenting him, he soon will be-- and she might want him for something in the future.

The second line offers the lovely, apt, and quite effective metaphor of the lover's pulse as the smoke of an extinguished-- or literally, of course, a 'killed'-- lamp. The smoke emerges in feeble irregular little bursts, disperses rapidly, and soon ceases entirely. The one who is 'sick from faithfulness' has a disease that is guaranteed to be mortal; even under the best of circumstances, the lover is always doomed.