Ghazal 151, Verse 8


.zid kii hai aur baat magar ;xuu burii nahii;N
bhuule se us ne sai;Nk;Ro;N va((de vafaa kiye

1) the matter of contrariness/stubbornness is another thing-- but her disposition is not bad
2) out of forgetfulness, she was faithful to many hundreds of vows


sai;Nk;Ro;N : 'By hundreds, in hundreds, hundreds of, hundreds upon hundreds'. (Platts p.711)


The meaning is clear, but until the occasion of this speech is known, it cannot give enjoyment. Some sympathizer has tried to persuade him that he should not love her, she's a vow-breaker, she's faithless. And he looks with the eye of love, which prevents him from seeing any flaw, and he is taking her part. (162)

== Nazm page 162

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, the matter of contrariness is another thing-- that at some time, on some point, she might be especially contrary toward us. Otherwise, her disposition is not bad-- she has often, out of forgetfulness, fulfilled vows. The meaning is that even her forgetfulness sometimes gives pleasure. (218)

Bekhud Mohani:

On someone's persuasion, or in his own heart, he says, 'When she's in a fit of contrariness, then she doesn't listen to a word I say. If the situation is looked at with that left aside, then she has fulfilled hundreds of vows.' Another aspect can be that when she forgot her refusal, then she never made excuses about fulfilling her vow. (292)


VOWS: {20,2}

The charm of this verse is its colloquial tone; as the commentators note, it seems to be part of a dialogue. Someone has criticized the beloved, probably for contrariness and faithlessness. The lover eagerly rushes into the breach, ready to defend her reputation. He does so by a pretended show of judiciousness: 'Well, contrariness is another matter-- but really, she doesn't have a bad disposition'. He thus concedes a small, charming whimsicalness or naughtiness on her part: no doubt she can be said to be contrary at times, and that's when a casual observer might think her faithless. But after all, a bit of contrariness and perversity from the beloved is almost a compliment, it is the lover's due. Thus the lover firmly rejects the grave charge of faithlessness: she is really good at heart, he insists, or at least 'not bad'. In classic mushairah-verse style, we have to wait till the very end of the second line, to fully understand what evidence he will produce to justify her behavior.

And the evidence? Out of forgetfulness or absent-mindedness, he claims, she has fulfilled 'many hundreds' of vows. What a defense! Surely the original audience must have laughed out loud. If that's the best defense her devoted lover can muster, what must her enemies be saying? The colloquial tone, the sense of apology and excuse, all mustered into the most favorable shape for the defense-- we've all had arguments like that, about the flaws and virtues of friends and lovers. But most of us aren't stuck with such unpromising material! The poor lover, deluded but loyal, is doing his best; we, the audience, feel sorry for him, but also can't help being amused.

One other implication of his defense: if she forgetfully fulfills 'many hundreds' of vows, that means she must have originally made-- casually, indifferently-- thousands of them. Many others she would forgetfully have not fulfilled, and still others she would deliberately have not fulfilled. Weren't there perhaps a few that she deliberately fulfilled? Alas, the lover can't seem to dredge up a single example, even when one would greatly bolster his case. We're not surprised of course; we already know her as well as he does-- or even better.