Ghazal 157, Verse 7


hai dil-e shoriidah-e ;Gaalib :tilism-e pech-o-taab
ra;hm kar apnii tamannaa par kih kis mushkil me;N hai

1) Ghalib's mad/disturbed heart is an enchantment of twisting/convolution/agitation
2) have mercy on your longing-- for, what a difficulty it's in!


shoriidah : 'Disturbed (in mind), distracted, mad, frantic; desperately in love; faint; dejected'. (Platts p.736)


pech-o-taab : 'Twisting and twining; convolution, twisting knots, folds; contortions; restlessness, anxiety, agitation, perplexity, disquietude, distraction, distress; vexation, anger, indignation'. (Platts p.297)


That is, my heart is full of pech-o-tab . The longing for you [terii tamannaa] has come into it, and become ensnared. Have mercy on it, and release it from that difficulty. The result is-- make my desire and longing 'emerge' [nikaalnaa]. (169)

== Nazm page 169

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The meaning of this verse is only this much: make the longing of my heart 'emerge' [nikaalnaa]. Mirza Sahib has expressed it with an extraordinary mischievousness [sho;xii]. (225)

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, in his heart there's a rush/crowd of agitations, and the longing for you [terii tamannaa] has become trapped in them. If you have no mercy on me, then have mercy on your own longing [terii tamannaa]. (302)


MADNESS: {14,3}

Here's a beautifully piquant example of the double sense of the possessive in Urdu. While usually in English 'the longing for you' is in my heart, and 'your longing' is in your heart, in Urdu terii tamannaa would be perceived first as 'the longing for you' (located in my heart), with 'your longing' (that is, the longing that's in your heart) as a secondary possibility. (For further discussion and illustration of this point, see {41,6}.) Here, Ghalib plays on that doubleness: the beloved should look at the trouble the poor 'longing' is in, enmeshed in the convoluted pech-o-taab of the lover's mad heart! She should have mercy on it, because it's 'her own longing' [apnii tamanna].

What?! we say-- why has she sent 'her longing' into such a dangerous and uncharacteristic situation?! Of course, because it's really a 'longing for her' that's found in the lover's disturbed heart. Ghalib requires us to take in the whole situation at a glance, deduce whose 'longing' it really is, and realize with no further prompting how the lover is seeking to induce the beloved-- and us-- to shift the interpretation, knowingly or naively, from the normal first sense to the less common second one, as a trick to elicit her sympathy. Is this wordplay, or grammar-play, or meaning-play, or idiom-play? All of the above, of course. Isn't it a kind of compliment that the poet has such confidence in the our interpretive powers?

Nazm and Bekhud Dihlavi also point out the invocation of the (unstated) idea that a longing when it is fulfilled can be said to 'emerge' [nikalnaa]; so that by depicting the pathetic longing as ensnared in the terrible writhing tangle of pech-o-taab , and by urging the beloved to consider it her own, the lover is really begging her to 'cause it to emerge' [nikaalnaa]-- that is, to fulfill it. For the classic example of this use of nikalnaa , see {219,1}.

The concept of an 'enchantment' [:tilism] comes from the realm of the dastan world, which is dominated by the story of Hamzah. Such enchantments are often created by evil magicians, and once one has entered them one is unable to escape without special, often divine, help. Thus it's very appropriate to ask the beloved for a 'divine intervention' on behalf of the poor struggling 'longing'.