Ghazal 160, Verse 1

{160,1}*

ko))ii din gar zindagaanii aur hai
apne jii me;N ham ne ;Thaanii aur hai

1) if for some few days more there is life
2) in our inner-self we have resolved/decided something else

Notes:

;Than'naa : 'To fix or settle (in the mind), to resolve, determine on; to be intent on, set the heart upon'. (Platts p.361)

Ghalib:

[1864:] There's no difficulty in this. The words are the meaning. Why should the poet tell his purpose, and what he will do? Mysteriously he says, I will do something. God knows whether he will become a Faqir and make his abode in the city, or on the outskirts of the city; or leave the country and go off to another country. (Arshi 313)

==Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum, vol. 4, p. 1514, inexplicably omits it; but Mihr, ;xu:tuu:t-e ;Gaalib (Lahore: Punjab University, 1969), vol. 2, p. 739, includes it
==another trans.: Russell and Islam, p. 302
==another trans.: Daud Rahbar, p. 270

Nazm:

The excellence of the construction and the pleasure of the idiom have carried this verse along; otherwise, someone like Ghalib is not unaware that 'to keep a private matter to oneself alone' [jii kii baat jii hii me;N rakhnaa] is called [in Arabic] 'meaning internal to the poet' [al-ma((nii fi))l-baa:tin ash-shaa((ir]. From this verse one ought to take the lesson that for the sake of beauty of construction and pleasure of language, the elders accept even weakness of meaning. (172)

== Nazm page 172

Bekhud Mohani:

If we would live for some days more, then we will not seek to renounce love.... From jii me;N ham ne ;Thaanii aur hai we learn that he feels ashamed to express the thought of renouncing love, and feels regret. And from this another matter emerges as well-- that he also doesn't express his intention because perhaps the renunciation of love might not be able to take place, and people would sneer: 'You used to say this!'. (307)

Faruqi:

[See his commentary on M{31,6}.]

FWP:

SETS == AUR; FILL-IN

How pleasant to have such a sophisticated analysis from the poet himself! The whole point, as Ghalib notes, is that the lover is muttering dark threats, and not making them explicit. Very possibly he himself doesn't know what he's planning to do, but people are wont to comfort themselves by muttering ominous but vague threats (often safely under their breath).

This is also a textbook case of clever use of the two meanings of aur : in the first line it means 'more of the same', in the second line it means 'something quite different'. Our pleasure in this combination of identity (the same word) and diametrical opposition (the meanings) is a real part of the delight of the verse.

Nazm's complaint about 'private meanings' echoes the one he makes in {1,1}, but in the case of this verse it seems to be slightly less severe. Is it based on grammatical misuse of the idioms involving jii , or is he chastizing Ghalib for refusing to reveal his intentions? The nature of his complaint seems a bit obscure.

For more on the idiomatic ko))ii din aur , see {66,1}.

Compare Mir's version of dark muttering, with a slightly more specific threat: M{1374,9}.