Ghazal 172, Verse 3

{172,3}*

huu;N saraapaa saaz-e aahang-e shikaayat kuchh nah puuchh
hai yihii bahtar kih logo;N me;N nah chhe;Re tuu mujhe

1) I am entirely/'from head to foot' the maker/harmony/instrument of the design/melody of complaint-- don't ask anything [about it]!
2) only/emphatically this is best: that among people, you would not touch/tease/play me

Notes:

saaz : 'Making, effecting, preparing; feigning;-- maker;... concord, harmony; a musical instrument'. (Platts p.625)

 

aahang : 'Design, purpose, intention; method, manner; sound, concord, melody'. (Platts p.111)

 

chhe;Rnaa : 'To touch, lay the hand on, pass the hand over; to meddle with, molest, interrupt, disturb, trouble annoy, tease, torment, worry, irritate, vex, excite, provoke; to touch up, stir up, incite, stimulate.... -- to tune (an instrument preparatory to playing on it), to strike the chords, to begin playing'. (Platts p.468)

Nazm:

That is, I'm an organ that is filled with the raga of complaint; if you touch me, then I will give vent to that raga. (193)

== Nazm page 193

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'I'm an instrument that is filled with the raga of complaint about you. The best thing is that you would not tease me in front of others.' If you touch me, then the raga of complaint about you will begin to emerge from my heart. (248)

Bekhud Mohani:

I am an instrument filled with melodies of complaint. That is, I am entirely complaint. It's also proper that you not touch me in front of others. Otherwise, whatever is in my heart I will go ahead and say, and you'll be angry with me. And this will be a cause of happiness for the Rivals. (337)

Arshi:

Compare {142,1}, {177,2}. (261, 266, 319)

Faruqi:

[See his comment about this verse when discussing {147,2}.]

FWP:

SETS == INEXPRESSIBILITY; WORD
MUSIC: {10,3}
WARNINGS: {15,15}

The first line is of course full of wordplay. And it's both very clear in its general sense (I'm full of complaint) and very unrevealing about what is being set up for the second line. After all, saaz can mean 'maker, making, instrument, tune'-- and how can we possibly know which way the second line is going to require us to jump? Joined to it is aahang , which itself is multivalent (see the definition above). Then the line ends in the inexpressibility trope (don't ask!), and that doesn't get us any further at all. So we wait with real anticipation for the denoument.

Even in the second line, in classic mushairah performance style, the punch-word is withheld until the last possible moment. But then-- what a treat! How gorgeously this verse makes use of every part of the complex meaning of chhe;Rnaa ! The two little lines burst open with a rush, like petals of a sudden huge sunflower. What we end up with is several domains of meaning, joined at the center by chhe;Rnaa .

=The physical: Don't 'touch' me, don't lay a hand on me, especially in front of other people, because 'from head to foot' my whole body is quivering with complaint and ready to burst out with it.

=The emotional: Don't 'tease' me, don't torment me, don't ask me about anything in front of others-- save it for when we're alone, because I am full of complaints about your behavior. (And it's behavior that probably includes 'teasing' and tormenting me.)

=The musical: don't tune or 'play' me 'among people', in front of an audience, like a normal musical instrument-- I'm a special musical instrument, entirely full of the melodies of complaint.

After we hear the second line, we realize that each of the three main senses of chhe;Rnaa picks up on and emphasizes a different phrase that the other two senses can't so enjoyably exploit. The physical reading turns 'from head to foot' [saraapaa] into a vigorous description, not just the usual 'entirely'. The emotional reading turns 'don't ask anything' [kuchh nah puuchh] into a preparation for a private conversation-- and perhaps also an example of the kind of pestering or 'teasing' that is one of the grounds for complaint-- instead of leaving it merely as the standard 'inexpressiblity trope'. And the musical reading turns 'among people' [logo;N me;N] into a strong suggestion of an audience before whom one might 'play' an instrument, rather than just the commonplace 'in public'.

The closest cousin to this verse is {177,2}.