Ghazal 174, Verse 3


aur baazaar se le aa))e agar ;Tuu;T gayaa
saa;Gar-e jam se miraa jaam-e safaal achchhaa hai

1a) [someone] would bring more/another from the bazaar, if it would break
1b) they brought more/another from the bazaar, if/when it broke

2) than the Cup of Jamshid, my cup of clay is better



How excellently he has preferred the cup of clay over the Cup of Jamshid cannot be sufficiently praised; and it is an entirely new idea, that has never been seen anywhere before.
==Urdu text: p. 125 in Hali, Yadgar-e Ghalib


The meaning is that too much formality [takalluf] is a cause of trouble [takliif]. (194)

== Nazm page 194

Bekhud Mohani:

Our clay cup is better than the Cup of Jamshid because if it would break, then one would bring another from the bazaar; and if the Cup of Jamshid would break, then it would not be able to be repaired, nor would another such cup come to hand. That is, 'in formality is trouble' [takalluf me;N takliif]. With such beauty Mirza has proved the cup of clay to be better than the Cup of Jamshid. (341)



This is a cleverly framed mushairah verse. The first line carefully withholds all notion of what it might be that would break, and even any clear indication of who might go to the bazaar, so we have no clues at all. We have to wait in curiosity and suspense for the second line.

And like a proper mushairah verse, the second line withholds its punch-word until the last possible moment. Even when we hear about the Cup of Jamshid, we can't guess what the other term of comparison will be. Then when we finally hear it, when all at once we 'get' it, the result is so amusing, so witty-- and, up to a point, so right. (What price magical world-vision, compared to throwaway convenience and a free mind?) What's not to like, in a casual, lazy, elegant little charmer like this?

Note for grammar fans: In the first line I prefer the reading of le aa))e as a singular subjunctive (1a), which is a better fit for the 'if'. And as we know, the masculine singular perfect ;Tuu;T gayaa can also be colloquially used as a subjunctive; for discussion, see {35,9}. But le aa))e could also be a masculine plural perfect (1b), read as 'they brought'. (It can't be 'we brought', since the speaker uses miraa for himself in the second line; it also can't be 'they would bring' since that would be le aa))e;N .) But for a masculine plural perfect, the 'if' should really be a 'when', since the event definitely happened. All the same, my students prefer this reading.

Compare {62,4}, another verse about buying cheap replacements from the bazaar.