Ghazal 159, Verse 7


ai saakinaan-e kuuchah-e dildaar dekhnaa
tum ko kahii;N jo ;Gaalib-e aashuftah-sar mile

1) oh dwellers in the street of the heart-possessor, keep an eye out--
2) in case you somehow/sometime would run into Ghalib with the disordered head


dekhnaa : 'To see, look, look at, behold, view, observe, perceive, inspect, mark, note, consider, look to, weigh well, examine, prove, try; to search, scan; to watch (for)'. (Platts p.558)


kahii;N : 'Somewhere; anywhere; wherever, whithersoever; — ever, anyhow, by any chance; ever-so-much, far, greatly; — may be, perhaps, peradventure'. (Platts p.887)


The utterance is, if you happen to run into Ghalib there, then look out for him. And the meaning is, keep in mind that Ghalib might perhaps be there. Because of jo , this meaning does not emerge from the utterance. The word jo makes it conditional, and the conditional is not intended. [Further discussion of this in terms of Urdu grammar.] (172)

== Nazm page 172

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Oh dwellers in the way of the Sufi path [suluuk], if you run into Ghalib of the disordered head, then revere him, and look at what a lofty rank he holds in his emotional state. The street in which you've thrown together your hut and settled-- with what detachment he passes through it!' (229)

Bekhud Mohani:

Oh dwellers in the street of the beloved, if you run into Ghalib of the crazed head anywhere, then take note. That is, nowadays the state of his madness is worth seeing.

[Or:] Nowadays Ghalib's craziness had increased, there's no sign of him anywhere. It's possible that his madness might have taken him toward the wilderness, but after wandering around he'll come back right here. We're anxious about his being lost. (306-07)


MADNESS: {14,3}

The really provocative question, the unanswered and unanswerable one, is just why the dwellers in the beloved's street are being enjoined to look out for Ghalib. One obvious scenario: 'He's a sick man, he needs care, he's wandered off somewhere, if you see him be sure to let us know, so we can get help for him'. Another, of course: 'Watch out, he's a wild man-- he rips his clothes off, he's drunk all the time, he's quite mad, who knows how he might behave toward you?' The maximally inshaa))iyah structure of the verse gives us not a clue as to how to choose between them; and of course, they're not mutually exclusive.

As Bekhud Mohani points out, no matter what his condition, the one sure thing is that sooner or later he'll turn up in the beloved's street. Bekhud Dihlavi does a Sufi-path reading, but there aren't any special grounds for it.

For another look at the 'disordered head', see {201,9}.