Ghazal 152, Verse 7


guzraa asad musarrat-e pai;Gaam-e yaar se
qaa.sid pah mujh ko rashk-e savaal-o-javaab hai

1) Asad, I passed through/beyond/over the joy of a message from/to the beloved
2) I feel envy/jealousy of the Messenger over the question-and-answer


guzarnaa is a variant spelling of gu;zarnaa .


gu;zarnaa : 'To pass, go, elapse; to come to pass, to happen, to befall; to pass (by or over, par ); to pass (through, par se , or se ); to pass (before, or under, or in review, se ), to be put or laid (before, se ), be presented; to pass (over, se ), to overlook, to omit; to abstain (from), desist (from); to decline; --to pass (beyond), to surpass; to pass away, to die'. (Platts p.901)


That is, oh Asad, I dispense with the happiness of the beloved's message; I feel envy/jealousy that the Messenger will go and speak with her. (164)

== Nazm page 164

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Oh Asad, what would I want with the joy and happiness of a message from the beloved? This envy/jealousy slays me, that if I send a Messenger, then the Messenger will go and speak to her, he'll converse with her, and I can't by any means approve of this.' (219-20)

Bekhud Mohani:

Alas, that happiness just isn't in my destiny! Now the Messenger has come, bearing a letter. And this envy/jealousy slays me, that he must have conversed with the beloved. (295)



The different possibilities of gu;zarnaa (see the definition above) yield several possible readings:

=The speaker has now given up sending messages to the beloved, because of his increasing envy/jealousy of the Messenger.

=The speaker sends messages to the beloved, but they give him no pleasure because of his envy/jealousy of the Messenger.

=The speaker gets no pleasure when the beloved sends him a message, because of his envy/jealousy of the Messenger.

For similarly complex uses of gu;zarnaa , see {196,5} and {208,8}.

Are the messages written, as the commentators assume, or might they be oral? If they're written, then the contrast is between the dry, second-hand limitations of words on a page, and the lively immediacy of conversation-- even if the latter is only in the form of businesslike arrangements about the sending and receiving of letters. If the messages are oral, which seems equally possible from the wording of the verse, then the piquant contrast is between the one-way message, 'X says Y', and the liveliness of dialogue, or in fact literally of 'question and answer'.

Or is it that the beloved's messages to the lover are so brief, or so hostile, that even a businesslike 'question and answer' exchange, such as the Messenger has, would be more desirable? Or is it that his passion has reached such a state of wild excess that he's begun to be (self-defeatingly) envious/jealous of every form of access to her by everybody? (Along these lines, see {99,2}, or the even more extreme case of {153,1}.) Or does he feel convinced that that particular Messenger has actually fallen in love with her himself?

Obviously, we can't tell; we're trapped in a maze of variant possible readings of gu;zarnaa . Plainly, Ghalib has so arranged the verse that nothing is plain. (For more on the complexities of rashk , see {53,4}.)