Ghazal 153, Verse 2


haath dho dil se yihii garmii gar andeshe me;N hai
aab-giinah tundii-e .sahbaa se pighlaa jaa))e hai

1) 'wash your hands' of the heart, if only/emphatically this heat is in thought/anxiety!
2) the wine-flagon, from the activity/violence of the wine, is [caused to be] melted


andeshah : 'Thought, consideration, meditation, reflection; solicitude, anxiety, concern...; doubt, misgiving, suspicion; apprehension, dread, fear'. (Platts p.91)


aab-giinaah : 'Lit. 'Possessed of lustre or clearness'; mirror, looking-glass; drinking-glass; bottle; --wine; diamond'. (Platts p.2)


tundii : 'Swiftness; briskness, activity; sharpness, severity, acrimony; impetuosity, violence, fierceness, fury'. (Platts p.339)


By 'the heat of thought' is meant that effect that changes the state of the heart; and he has given the simile of the 'activity/violence of wine' for it, and the simile of the 'wine-flagon' for the heart. (164)

== Nazm page 164

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, if in the fire of thought is just such heat, then one ought to despair of the heart. In the second line he expresses the same theme with a simile. The wine-flagon-- that is, the glass of the heart-- is melted by the swiftness/sharpness of the heart. (220)

Bekhud Mohani:

If in mere thought is heat, then it's not well for the heart. The wine is so active/violent that it melts the wine-glass. That is, if my thought and concentration remain in this state, then my spirit will be dissolved. (295)


[See his comments on Mir's M{1037,7}.]


WINE: {49,1}

Just when the verse seems poised to invoke a straightforward parallel between the inner world and the outer world-- it doesn't. Wine is one of Ghalib's great images, and he refers to it constantly-- its color, its life-giving powers, its blood-like qualities,its bubbles, its intoxication. But here, he's given it a quality that, in the real world, it doesn't have. No matter how 'active' or 'violent' wine is, nobody has ever seen it melt the wine-flagon. So the wine and wine-flagon in the second line become entirely metaphorical, entirely dependent for their behavior on the qualities suggested for the heart in the first line. This hyperbolic claim about wine emphasizes the uniqueness and supreme power of the 'heat of thought', which in actual fact is so much more deadly, so much more of a container-melter, than real wine.

This verse about the irresistible power of andeshah can't fail to evoke the supreme one of its kind: {5,4}.

In English, we 'wash our hands of' something, an idiom that I couldn't help using in the translation above. And it's indeed close to kisii chiiz se haath dhonaa . But while both idioms have the sense of 'give up on', 'lose hope for', the English one also contains a note of both choice and strong disapproval: people declare that they 'wash their hands of' something or someone they have decided to reject. In Urdu, the sense is simply one of resignation to impending loss. In this verse, dhonaa also has of course an affinity with the aab -- which can mean, among many other things, 'water'-- of aab-giinah . (For more on wine vessels, see {28,1}.)

Note for grammar fans: are we to read pighlaa jaa))e hai (an archaic form of pighlaa jaataa hai ) as a passive made from an intransitive verb (very rare, but not unheard-of), thus meaning 'is [habitually] caused to be melted'; or are we to take it as an idiomatic use of the past participle with the hu))aa colloquially omitted, thus meaning something like 'goes on being in a state of having melted'? The passive seems more suitable here, but both would be formally identical. Another problematical case: {153,7}.