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 for silence

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


Through my being 'gone from myself' and 'passed out from myself', the world has understood the meaning of my silence, and for this reason my silence has been blamed/reproached. That is, silence has become a story-teller [daastaan-;xvaan] of difficulty. For this very reason the wave of collyrium-dust that is silence has for me become a voice.

== Asi, p. 221


That is, I am becoming 'gone from myself', and have failed/'forgotten' to make conversation; the voice has, for me, become collyrium-dust. The cause of being 'gone from myself' can be the madness of passion, or the awe-inspiringness of the beloved's beauty.

'Blame/reproach for silence' is a special construction, and perhaps it might have some special meaning. But apparently it has no meaning. Similarly, for silence and being 'gone from himself' no cause has been given; because of this too, the verse remains lacking and is fit to be omitted [from the divan].

== Zamin, p. 330

Gyan Chand:

From eating collyrium, the voice becomes finished off. A wave of collyrium-dust 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 in 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.

== Gyan Chand, p. 337


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

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

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 inattention.

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 the speaker is silent and oblivious, he's criticized for it.)

=B is caused by A (Since he would be criticized for silence, he tries to improvise a 'voice'.)

=B illustrates A (Here's what his 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 madness ('That so-called stick is a snake, to me!').

The grammatical 'symmetry' effect means that both (2a) and (2b) are equally possible readings for the second line. In so abstract a verse, the two possibilities greatly extend the range of possible readings. For (2a) suggests that the speaker has (successfully?) turned a wave of collyrium-dust into a voice-- so that now perhaps he has a 'voice' after all. By contrast, (2b) emphasizes the failure and unavailability of his voice-- it is now just a wave of silent collyrium-dust.

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 (see the definitions above).