Ghazal 167, Verse 2

{167,2}*

pinhaa;N thaa daam sa;xt qariib aashiyaan ke
u;Rne nah paa))e the kih giriftaar ham hu))e

1) the net was hidden {extremely near / 'hard by'} the nest
2) we had not managed to fly-- {when / in that} we became trapped/captured

Notes:

sa;xt : 'Hard, stiff, rigid, firm, fast; strong, solid; tight;... wretched; difficult, arduous, troublesome; painful, grievous; severe, intense, vehement, violent;... austere, stern, harsh; very cruel, fell; --adv. Very, intensely, violently, severely, excessively extremely, &c.'. (Platts p.644)

 

giriftaar : 'Taken, seized, arrested, captured; involved (in), entangled; liable; stricken, smitten (with love, &c.), captivated; —one who is taken, &c.; a captive, a prisoner'. (Platts p.904)

Hali:

The meaning he has presented in that way is this: that even before he reached maturity he was surrounded by difficulties and tribulations.

==Urdu text: Yadgar-e Ghalib, p. 129

Nazm:

In Persian, sa;xt qariib is an idiom that means 'very near'. (180)

== Nazm page 180

Bekhud Mohani:

The net was spread very near the nest. He had only just formed the intention of flying, when the next thing he knew he was trapped in the net. (325)

Faruqi:

[See his commentary on Mir's verse M{37,3}.]

FWP:

SETS == IDIOMS
BONDAGE: {1,5}

Here Ghalib focuses the whole verse on an idiom that's not even really an Urdu idiom, but a Persian one. It's easy to see why he dragged it bodily into Urdu-- because it was just what he wanted, it was just the thing to give a small, hot, deep, painful center to the whole verse. The verse is otherwise a brief, plain, factual narrative, a story told in simple language as economically as possible. But then, in the midst of it, this one word-- just look at its multiply appropriate meanings!-- compresses within itself a world of sorrow, pain, complaint, indignation.

It's a pity that 'hard by' (meaning 'very near') is now archaic in English; though even then, it doesn't have a sufficient range fully to capture sa;xt qariib . Really that one word, sa;xt , forms a pivot around which the whole verse turns. For another exploration of its multivalence, see {183,6}. Also, compare Mir's use of zor in M{1312,7}.

This is one of those verses in which the lover speaks as a bird; for others, see {126,5}.

From The Tribune, June 10, 2019: 'Holding that perpetrators of the gangrape and murder of a girl in Kathua acted as if there is a “law of jungle” prevalent in the society, judge Tejwinder Singh summed up the enormity of the crime with a touching couplet by Mirza Ghalib.... Singh started his order with the couplet from Ghalib’s ghazal—“Pinha tha daam-e-sakht qareeb ashiyaan ke, udhne hi nahi paye the ki girftar hum hue."'