Ghazal 160, Verse 2


aatish-e doza;x me;N yih garmii kahaa;N
soz-e ;Gamhaa-e nihaanii aur hai

1) in the fire of Hell, where is such/'this' heat?!
2) the burning of hidden griefs is other/more!


doza;x : 'Hell'. (Platts p.533)


nihaanii : 'Secret; private;... clandestine; ... s.f. Concealment; --a secret'. (Platts p.1162)


[1860, to Shafaq:] These days pass badly for me. In the heat my state is exactly that of animals who drink water with their tongues-- especially in this July, since there's a crowd of griefs and anxieties [;Gam-o-hamm kaa hujuum]: {160,2}. (Arshi 313)

==Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum vol. 3, pp. 990-91
==another trans.: Daud Rahbar, p. 181


Instead of kahaa;N the word nahii;N could also have come, but in that case the sentence would have been 'informative' [;xabariyah], and now the negative rhetorical question [istifihaam-e inkaarii] has made it inshaa))iyah . And inshaa is better than 'information' [;xabar]. (172)

== Nazm page 172

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'How could this heat fall to the lot of the fire of hell! The burning of hidden grief is something other.' The meaning is that the burning of brief is even harsher than the torment of hell. (229)

Bekhud Mohani:

Yes, yes, there's indeed a lot of heat in the fire of hell. But how would it have the heat of the sorrow of the grief of the heart? This verse is based upon the natural law that man considers the present difficulty to be harsher than all the difficulties in the world. (307)



Nazm puts it succinctly and well. But is that all that's going on? Is the verse really so limited and basic?

Perhaps the two ways to read ;Gamhaa-e nihaanii are meant to be experienced as interestingly and enjoyably different: on one reading, the heat of the fire of Hell is being contrasted with the 'heat' of the lover's own private griefs; on the other reading, the public openness of the sufferings of Hell is being contrasted with the sufferings caused by the need for discreet 'concealment' of the lover's condition.

Maybe we should consider it a mushairah verse, in which the withholding of the key word nihaanii until the last possible moment delays interpretation in a satisfying manner.

Note for translation fans: It was so hard to resist the urge to end the second line with 'something else'! To stay true to my practice of clunky literalness, I've managed to refrain. But anyone making a literary translation could hardly find a more perfectly accurate and idiomatic phrase. I highly recommend it!