Ghazal 153, Verse 5


duur chashm-e bad tirii bazm-e :tarab se vaah vaah
na;Gmah ho jaataa hai vaa;N gar naalah meraa jaa))e hai

1) may the evil eye be far from your music party-- bravo!
2) it becomes a melody, my lament-- if it goes there


:tarab : 'Emotion, joyous excitement, joy, mirth, cheerfulness, hilarity'. (Platts p.752


mu:trib : 'A musician, a minstrel; a singer; mu:tribii : Music; minstrelsy; singing'. (Platts p.1044)


jaa))e hai is an archaic form of jaataa hai (GRAMMAR)


That is, in your gathering my lament is musical, like a melody. From my lamentation, you're happy. The point is reproach/blame. (165)

== Nazm page 165

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, may the evil eye be far-- what a music party you are having! That is, it's so involved in happiness that even if my lament reaches there, then it too becomes a melody. The meaning is that having heard my complaint, you are happy. Such stony-heartedness-- may God have mercy! (221)

Bekhud Mohani:

He says sarcastically, may the Lord save your gathering from the evil eye! It's an extraordinary occasion. If even my lament goes there, it becomes a melody.

[Or:] That is, ever since I understood that my lament has reached to your gathering or to your ear, I myself have been able to find a certain pleasure in my lament. (296)


Compare {211,2}. (287, 275)


MUSIC: {10,3}

The first line is a sheer exclamation of (apparent) pleasure. '[May] the evil eye [be] far [from you]!' is exactly what one exclaims when seeing someone or something quite beautiful or excellent. In South Asian folk tradition the evil eye is attracted by superiority, and then activated by envy, so attempts to ward it off are always by way of protecting something valuable and desirable.

The beloved's musical soiree would surely fall into that category. Moreover, the exclamation vaah vaah is the Urdu equivalent of 'bravo!'-- a phrase people call out to applaud some exceptionally fine musical or poetic or other artistic performance. So the first line sets up a tone of exclamatory delight and praise, centered on the beloved's musical gathering. (Although :tarab has the primary meaning of 'joy, mirth', its derivatives mu:trib and mu:tribii have a specifically musical sense that is activated by the context of the verse; see the definitions above.)

Then when we hear the second line, we can't help but realize that it splits sharply into two readings. What might be called the positive reading lauds the transformative power of her soiree-- its atmosphere is so intoxicatingly musical that if even something as melancholy as the sound of the lover's lament reaches there, the lament itself is at once transformed into a melody. The beloved's beauty evokes, demands, even compels, beauty of all kinds to surround her. Who could fail to pay tribute to such radiant power?

But of course, the negative reading is equally available. If the lover's lament reaches there, a 'song' develops-- people laugh and cheer, and mock him, and turn the sound of his grief into new little improvised tunes. Or perhaps he himself has created a lament so heart-rending and powerful that it attains the level of music-- and in her gathering, nobody cares about its burden of longing and pain, everybody thinks only of its melodiousness. Or perhaps the beloved is indeed so cruel, as Bekhud Dihlavi supposes, that the sound of her lover's suffering is 'music to her ears' (compare her relish for wounded lovers writhing in their blood, in {8,3}).

The effect of the first line thus shifts back and forth from warm enthusiasm to bitter sarcasm, according to the tone in which we choose to read the second line. A suitable verse for comparison is the morbid {15,9}, which also has to do with repelling the evil eye, and with the lover's reluctant, helpless contribution to the happiness of a gathering of Others.

In addition, compare {229,2}, another verse in which something negative of the lover's is transformed into something artistically pleasing when it enters the beloved's presence.