Ghazal 175, Verse 1


nah hu))ii gar mire marne se tasallii nah sahii
imti;haa;N aur bhii baaqii ho to yih bhii nah sahii

1) if no peace/satisfaction occurred from my dying, so be it
2) if there would be even/also another test remaining, then even/also this-- why not, indeed?



If on the basis of this verse Ghalib would claim to be the 'Lord of Poetry' [;xudaa-e su;xan], then the Lord is a witness, that it's fitting. Then just look-- neither is there any excellence in the art of meanings, nor any beauty of the art of expression, nor any elaborations of the art of rhetoric. (196)

== Nazm page 196

Bekhud Dihlavi:

[He quotes Nazm's first sentence.] The truth is that this opening-verse is just as peerless as Mirza Sahib's poetry is. He says, I took the test of faithfulness with such success that as a result I gave my life. If you're not satisfied even with this, and you don't believe me to be perfectly faithful, then any other test that might be in your mind-- let it be tried out on my corpse. That is, for you and my passion for you I gave my life. Now if you wish, my corpse can remain in your street till Doomsday. (253)

Bekhud Mohani:

From bhii the meaning also emerges that to give one's life is the greatest test of all. But if in your view it doesn't figure, then let even it go and use any test that you care to....

[As for Nazm's verdict,] only an infidel will have any doubt about Ghalib's being the 'Lord of Poetry'. (344)


TESTING: {4,4}

The refrain of this ghazal, nah sahii , is part of a larger set of extremely colloquial expressions using sahii ; for discussion of them, see {9,4}. For the purposes of this ghazal, I'm going to translate the expression variously, but I'll always italicize the translation to emphasize the idiomatic quality, as I did in {148} with its mirror image expression, hii sahii . In fact {175,5} juxtaposes both these expressions.

In the first line, we can't tell who it was who experienced no peace/satisfaction from the lover's dying. If it was the (human) beloved, then the situation is straightforward: she wanted more chances to torment or 'test' her lover, and is exasperated that the process was ended by his death before she was through working her will on him. His reaction is to offer himself (and/or his corpse) for any further toll she might want to exact. This is the reading the commentators seem to adopt.

But it's also possible that it was the lover himself who experienced no peace/satisfaction from his own death. In that case, there could be several possible reasons:

=He wanted to complete the beloved's tests, but was unable to do so.
=He wanted to be left in peace in the grave, but was still harassed by the unsatisfied beloved.
=He wanted to attain union with the divine Beloved, but was unable to do so.

Then we might also want to ask, what exactly is the 'this' in yih bhii nah sahii ? The colloquialness of the expression makes it something like the verbal equivalent of a resigned shrug of the shoulders. So the 'this' might be:

=the beloved's continued harassment
=the need for more tests
=the next test
=the lover's own lack of peace/satisfaction

And of course, the bhii can mean either 'even' or 'also', which in itself allows for a variety of nuances.

In short, we're left with a verse so untranslatably colloquial that Nazm's observation that it has no other action, no other charms, and yet is brilliant, begins to make sense.

This verse is one in which the dead lover speaks; for others, see {57,1}.