Ghazal 173, Verse 3


tab naaz-e giraa;N-maayagii-e ashk bajaa hai
jab la;xt-e jigar diidah-e ;xuu;N-baar me;N aave

1) then pride/coquetry at the value/nobility/'heaviness' of the tears is appropriate
2) when a fragment of the liver would come into the blood-scattering eye


giraan-maayah : 'Weighty, ponderous; precious, of great value, valuable; of noble birth or stock'. (Platts p.902)


aave is an archaic form of aa))e (GRAMMAR)


They are hardly tears at all, if there would be no blood in them. (193)

== Nazm page 193

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, we will consider our tears priceless at that time, when the tears will come mixed with fragments of the liver into the blood-scattering eyes. (249)

Bekhud Mohani:

The lover feels pride at the valuableness of his tears when with the tears fragments of the liver too would flow. That is, when he would weep from the heart, and would weep the tears of the 'people of pain'. (338)


JIGAR: {2,1}

For once there's no question about the relationship of the two lines: they present themselves labelled at the beginning in the most emphatic way. But of course, they're intriguingly backwards: then X will be appropriate, when Y takes place. (This same structure is also used in {173,9}.) And of course, under mushairah performance conditions, after the correlative clause in the first line, we'll have to wait in suspense until we're permitted to hear its corresponding relative clause in the second line.

When we finally hear the source of the pride, we realize that all three meanings of giraan-maayagii work elegantly with the second line: a fragment of the liver would be valuable (nobody lives long once the liver is gone); and it would be nobly-descended (being born of the liver, the blood-maker, is much more aristocratic than simply being created as blood); and it would be 'heavy' (and hard to fit through the tear-ducts). On the special nature and value of the liver, see {30,2}.

Bloody tears, though extravagant for anybody else, are normal for the lover; they hardly count for much. But if one could weep an actual fragment of the liver-- what cachet! For before the fragment of the liver can be wept as tears, the liver must basically have disintegrated and turned to blood-- a sign that the lover's passion has reached its final stage, and his triumphant, inevitable death is near.

Still, the effect of what I call grotesquerie works to distort the verse's impact. A 'fragment of the liver' is a kind of morsel or chunk, with a definite physical presence (and even perhaps its own desires, as in {17,7}). How can it be imagined as being shed like a tear? The 'objective correlative' side of the imagery becomes almost disgusting. Are little hunks of bloody flesh raining down from the lover's eyes? On the face of it, this is exactly what the second line says-- except it says that they come 'into' the eyes, which is if possible even more impossible and disgusting. We can rationalize this image away into pure abstraction no doubt, but having to do so is annoying and distracting, and surely weakens the verse.

But then, in view of the hyperbolically extravagant stylization of the ghazal world, what bothers me probably didn't bother Ghalib at all; so we're talking here only about (late, distant) 'audience response'.