Ghazal 159, Verse 5


tum ko bhii ham dikhaa))e;N kih majnuu;N ne kyaa kiyaa
fur.sat kashaakash-e ;Gam-e pinhaa;N se gar mile

1) to you too we would show what Majnun did
2) if we would get leisure from the tension of hidden grief



That is, if grief would not so grip us, then we too, like Majnun, would go out into the desert. (171)

== Nazm page 171

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, we would have showed you to what extent Majnun-- that is, Qais-- advanced the cause of lover-ship, but the constraint is that hidden grief, out of modesty and fear of disgrace, seizes us and draws us back, and forbids us to go out to the wilderness. (228)

Bekhud Mohani:

We too, in madness would have set out for the wilderness, and would not have proved inferior to Majnun. But we're helpless-- hidden grief does not let us stir. That is, if there weren't the fear of the secret of passion becoming revealed, then we too would be the Majnun of our time. The phrase 'hidden grief' testifies to this meaning. (306)



The clever bhii in that little phrase 'to you too' at once makes it clear that either (1) the speaker has shown this to other people already, so that his credentials for Majnun-ship are not in doubt; or that (2) you would see it the way Laila saw what Majnun did. (Or, of course, both.)

What exactly prevents the speaker from showing the addressee what Majnun did? The second line actually offers a number of possibilities; as we shift our emphasis among them, the interpretation changes. These possibilities include:

=A lack of 'leisure': what Majnun did was rather trivial, and we're busy with more important pursuits.

=A 'tension' [kashaakash], literally a 'pulling back and forth': Majnun was able to break the tension and simply run off openly into the wilderness, but the speaker is engaged in an inner struggle much more complex than his.

=A 'grief': Majnun had the energy and vitality to run all around in the desert, but the speaker's grief is so much deeper and more deadly that he's not even able to move.

=A 'hidden' grief: Majnun made a rather naive, childish display of himself, since he lacked the fortitude to control his behavior; but the speaker is stronger and more enduring. (Compare {100,4}.)

This is one of a group of what I call 'snide remarks about famous lovers'; for more on these, see {100,4}. This verse also reminds me of {5,5}, in its dismissive, shrug-of-the-shoulders attitude toward mere outward theatrics.