Ghazal 164, Verse 11


phir diyaa paarah-e jigar ne savaal
ek faryaad-o-aah-o-zaarii hai

1) again the piece of the liver submitted a petition
2) there is a single/particular/unique/excellent 'complaint' and sighing and lamentation


savaal denaa : 'To make an application (to); to present a petition (to); to petition'. (Platts p.692)


Note for purists: Platts uses the technically correct Arabic spelling, su))aal , in which the v is considered to be merely a 'chair' for the hamzah . Most Urdu-users nowadays ignore this arcane refinement.


[See his comments about {164,9}.]

== Nazm page 178; Nazm page 179

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'The piece of the liver has again instigated a claim; again, from all quarters, plaintiffs [faryaadii] have descended in a crowd'. (237)

Bekhud Mohani:

A fragment of the heart, in the capacity of a plaintiff/prosecutor, has made a complaint, and has created a turmoil of lamenting and sighing. (320)


JIGAR: {2,1}

This is the third of five verses of a verse-set full of legal terminology; for further discussion of the whole set, see {164,9}.

In view of the legal terminology that's the unifying feature of this verse-set, it's not surprising to find savaal denaa in the first line, when a 'piece of the liver' submits a petition. (Ghalib's liver-fragments are remarkably active-- remember how they also crave the wild plunge into the salt-dish in {17,7}.) And then, of course we're not surprised to find faryaad as '[legal] complaint' in the second line-- for right from the start of the divan, in {1,1}, the faryaadii can be a plaintiff or justice-seeker.

But then, abruptly, we find that the 'complaint' is linked into a compound with 'sighing' and 'lamentation' [faryaad-o-aah-o-zaarii]; thus we're driven back also to its more common, non-technical meaning of 'complaining, lamenting'. Conveniently, 'to complain' in English too has both a technical legal meaning ('the plaintiff filed the complaint') and a more general sense of protest against injustice ('he constantly complained about her behavior').

The complex possibilities of ek (in all the senses noted in the translation, and even more) are a common trick of Ghalib's, offering the maximum bang for the buck (one tiny word, many quite diverse meanings). But in this verse, there's something special going on as well, involving the ek versus the rest of the second line.

For in the second line we're told that there is 'one' or 'a single' [ek] of something that is not only two-fold (the 'complaint' itself, which is both legal and more general), but also threefold (the set called 'complaint and sighing and lamentation'). Does this mean that the 'complaint' itself is single, but is accompanied by constant 'sighing and lamentation'? Or does it mean that the 'complaint' is inextricably intermingled with the 'sighing and lamentation', so that they're really one single phenomenon? Or might it mean that the 'petition' submitted in the first line is what consists entirely of 'complaint and sighing and lamentation'? Or might it mean that when the plaintiff, the 'piece of the liver', submitted its petition, the process was accompanied by a huge clamor-- perhaps from the other liver-pieces and their allies, the heart-pieces-- of 'complaint and sighing and lamentation'? Whichever way we slice it (sorry, sorry!), the verse is sophisticated and amusing-- and surely a bit... tongue-in-cheek.