Ghazal 162, Verse 10


jaan tum par ni;saar kartaa huu;N
mai;N nahii;N jaantaa du((aa kyaa hai

1) I offer/sacrifice my life for you
2) I don't know what a 'prayer/blessing' is


ni;saar : 'Offering, presenting; donative; sacrifice'. (Platts p.1124)


du((aa : 'Prayer, supplication (to God); an invocation of good, a blessing, benediction; wish; congratulation, salutation'. (Platts p.518)


That is, I don't know how to give merely spoken [zabaanii] prayers/blessings, as others do. (175)

== Nazm page 175

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, I don't have oral outflow as others do-- that is, I don't know how to give merely 'prayers/blessings'. I sacrifice my life for you. My great prayer/blessing is that I lay down my life for your sake [tumhaare .sadqe me;N utaarnaa]. (234)

Bekhud Mohani:./

It's as if the beloved has said, 'Everybody gives me prayers/blessings-- you don't give me prayers/blessings'. In answer he says, 'Your Honor, spoken prayers/blessings are not within my ken. I sacrifice [.sadqah karnaa] my life for you. That is, when difficulty would come, I would offer myself up for you. I'm not a man for words.' (313)



ABOUT rituals of blessing: One enjoyable subtlety of the present verse is that many of the forms of du((aa involve a sort of ritualized miming of self-sacrifice. The connections can be seen in the commentators' word choices themselves. Bekhud Dihlavi uses for the lover's act the verb .sadqah utaarnaa , which means 'To draw off or away (an evil spirit) by a sacrifice (or by walking round the person, repeating an incantation, &c.)' (Platts p.744). Bekhud Mohani uses for the lover's act .sadqah karnaa , which has the intransitive form .sadqah honaa , which Platts connects to the related action of balaa))e;N lenaa : 'To draw the hands over the head of another (and then crack the fingers over one's own temples) in token of taking all his (or her) misfortunes upon oneself; ... to devote oneself to another (syn. .sadqah honaa )' (Platts p.163). To this day, the process of balaa))e;N lenaa is often a part of the blessing offered (especially by older women) to a beloved person, and is certainly a symbolic expression of (readiness for) self-sacrifice. For another form of such symbolic self-sacrifice, vaarii-pherii , see {187,3x}.

Each line offers a flat statement-- but how are the two statements connected? Here are some possibilities:

=A is the cause, B the effect: The lover sacrifices his life for the beloved at once, and the result is that he doesn't live long enough to learn the appropriate social conventions and to offer her merely verbal prayers/blessings.

=B is the cause, A the effect: Because the lover doesn't know what it conventionally means, in the social world, to offer someone appropriate prayers/blessings, in his ignorance he assumes that it means to sacrifice his life, since to him that seems a small and minimal gesture compared to the intensity of his passion.

=A and B are parallel descriptions of the same situation: the lover doesn't give a damn about social courtesies and conventions, he doesn't even bother to ascertain what they are, he disdains them completely-- he is in such a rush to show the beloved his devotion that he sacrifices his life for her without further ado.

The clear-cut contrast that seems at first to exist between merely oral or socially conventional prayers/blessings, and the lover's act of self-sacrifice, breaks down when we look at it more closely. For the conventional expressions of du((aa are themselves often full of ritualized commitments to self-sacrifice; and as for the lover, if he's alive enough to say 'I sacrifice my life for you', then it seems he hasn't done so yet. His commitment too, so far, is only verbal. So there's enough of a convergence that it looks naive (or faux-naïf) for the lover to say that he 'doesn't know' what a du((aa is, because his own words seem to be a manifestation of the genre. Since in this verse he doesn't seem to speak from beyond the grave, his words of devotion and (intention of) sacrifice are all we have-- and how can they not appear as a form of du((aa ?