Ghazal 149, Verse 10x


mai;N ne junuu;N se kii jo asad iltimaas-e rang
;xuun-e jigar me;N ek hii ;Go:tah diyaa mujhe

1) {when / in that} I made to Madness, Asad, a plea for color/enjoyment/beauty
2) he/it gave me only/emphatically a single dive/plunge into the blood of the liver


iltimaas karnaa : '(- se ) To petition, beseech, entreat, supplicate, request, represent humbly'. (Platts p.74)


rang : 'Colour, colouring matter, pigment, paint, dye; colour, tint, hue, complexion; beauty, bloom; expression, countenance, appearance, aspect; fashion, style; character, nature; mood, mode, manner, method; kind, sort; state, condition; ... sport, entertainment, amusement, merriment, pleasure, enjoyment'. (Platts p.601)


;Go:tah denaa : 'To plunge (into water), to dip, to duck'. (Platts p.773)


Oh Asad, when I made a plea and petition to Madness for color/enjoyment, then it gave me a single dive into the blood of the liver. Through rang multivalence of meaning is created. There's no telling whether I wanted some 'color' to be bestowed on me as well; or whether the desire was that my departed color would be given back to me. In any case, we cannot fix any special meaning for rang . His diving into the blood of the liver too is extremely subtle. It can be that madness bestowed rang on me [as a gift], or gave it as a punishment.

== Asi, p. 222


rang = in the meaning of luxury and enjoyment; and 'to dive into the blood of the liver' is to be absorbed in pain and melancholy. Through the wordplay of the blood of the liver, he has brought color into the first line. And ek hii ;Go:tah diyaa -- how thoroughly immersed in the idiom this construction is!

== Zamin, p. 330

Gyan Chand:

My color has fled. When I made the request of the madness of passion that color might be vouchsafed to me, Madness gave me a dive into the blood of the liver. To be colored with only/emphatically one's own blood is not colorfulness/liveliness, it's wretchedness. The liver's turning to blood happens in grief and misery.

== Gyan Chand, p. 339


JIGAR: {2,1}
MADNESS: {14,3}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

For discussion of the possibilities of jo , see {12,2}.

There's an enjoyable relish in the double sense of ;Go:tah denaa . On the one hand a 'dive/plunge' can be something that is 'given', in direct response to the request in the first line. But on the other hand, 'to give a dive/plunge' [;Go:tah denaa ] can also mean 'to duck, to dip' (see the definition above). So it might be that Madness gave the speaker permission for, or access to, the dive, but it might equally well be that Madness simply picked him up and dunked him.

Why did the speaker ask the personified figure of Madness for 'color'? Gyan Chand suggests, rather literally, that it was because his face was pallid, and that's certainly possible. But as Asi and Zamin observe, in view of the many meanings of rang , the request could equally well have been for pleasure, or enjoyment, or beauty (see the definition above). All we can be sure of is that rang is something desirable.

And, to shift the emphasis, why was it the figure of 'Madness' whom the speaker asked for such a desirable gift? Perhaps because it was in the power of Madness (alone?) to fulfill his request. Or perhaps because it was 'madness' even to make such a wild, extravagant, impossible request.

In either case, Madness gave him a very straightforward response: a single dive or plunge into 'the blood of the liver' (for more on this, see {78,3}). But what kind of a gesture was that, really? Depending on how we place the stress of our reading, the reading of the second line can vary considerably:

=Madness tormented him-- instead of giving him any kind of real pleasure, enjoyment, beauty, Madness gave him only a dive into the blood of his own liver, which itself was both a result and cause of misery.

=Madness shortchanged him-- instead of giving him many dives into the blood of the liver, so that he could truly savor his sufferings in a properly lover-like manner, Madness gave him only one.

=Madness satisfied him-- a single dive into the blood of the liver was more than sufficient to provide him with all the 'color, enjoyment, beauty' that a lover could ever ask for.

=Madness overpowered him-- in order to shut him up, it simply grabbed him and dunked him, willy-nilly, into the blood of the liver.

And of course, as so often, the question of tone is left entirely to the reader to decide-- is the tone wry? melancholy? neutral and matter-of-fact? ruefully amused?