Ghazal 167, Verse 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 'severely/grievously near' the nest
2) we had not managed to fly-- {when / in that} we became trapped/captured


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)


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


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)


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


BONDAGE: {1,5}

Here Ghalib focuses the whole verse on an idiom, emphasized by Nazm, 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 other explorations of its possibilities , see {183,6} and {200,4x}. 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."'