Ghazal 149, Verse 8x


az-;xvud-guzashtagii me;N ;xamoshii pah ;harf hai
mauj-e ;Gubaar-e surmah hu))ii hai .sadaa mujhe

1) in [the state of] being passed [out] from oneself, there is blame/reproach on/for silence

2a) a wave of the dust of collyrium has become a voice, to me
2b) the voice has become a wave of the dust of collyrium, to me


;harf : 'Nib (of a writing-reed) obliquely cut; a crooked pen; writing obliquely; —a letter of the alphabet; (in Gram.) an indeclinable word, a particle; —a word (so used in lexicons, &c.); blame, censure, reproach, stigma, animadversion'. (Platts p.476)


;Gubaar : 'Dust; clouds of dust; a dust-storm; ... —the smallest Arabic or Persian handwriting'. (Platts p.769)

Gyan Chand:

From eating collyrium, the voice becomes finished. A wave of the dust of collyrium too is a sign of silence. In the fervor of passion I forgot myself, but in that condition why did I leave off speaking? This was a reason for reproach. For me, the voice became a wave of collyrium-- that is, it turned into silence. Having remained silence, I couldn't at all speak the desire of my heart.

If the second line is taken as the beginning of the utterance, then another meaning will appear. When I became unconscious of myself, then it was no harm; when I remained silent, then it was a cause for blame, because from my silence people guessed that this was a sickness of the heart. In this way my silence (which in actuality is a wave of a heap of collyrium) became the 'voice' of my disgrace. (337)


BEKHUDI: {21,6}
SPEAKING: {14,4}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices.

The first line pivots on ;harf , with its complex and diverse set of meanings (see the definition above). A person in a state of self-transcendence might well behave strangely and obliviously. The beloved inquires about this state in {116,7}-- and receives an answer only from the wind. Perhaps this is why she (or someone unspecified) criticizes the transported lover for heedlessness and silence.

As in so many 'A,B' verses, the second line starts afresh, so that we have to decide for ourselves how it's related to the first line. Here are some of the possibilities:

= B causes A (since I'm obliviously silent, I'm criticized for it)

= B is caused by A (since I would be criticized for silence, I try to improvise a 'voice')

= B illustrates A (here's what my culpable behavior is like)

Moreover, since the first line is entirely abstract, it's not clear whose voice is at issue, or who is (or would be) doing the criticizing. In the second line, the 'to me' might simply emphasize the speaker's determination to maintain the point; or else it might suggest a subjectivity that opens the possibility of error ('that so-called stick is a snake, to me!').

One of the conventions of the ghazal world is that collyrium is a natural enemy of the voice; for discussion of this idea, and of the nature and qualities of collyrium in general, see {44,1}. For a most piquant verse that makes collyrium out of a voice, see {147,1}.

This verse about speech and silence also includes some clever wordplay about writing; compare the secondary meanings of ;harf and ;Gubaar in the definitions above.