Ghazal 176, Verse 2

{176,2}*

qa.zaa ne thaa mujhe chaahaa ;xaraab-e baadah-e ulfat
faqa:t ;xaraab likhaa bas nah chal sakaa qalam aage

1) Destiny wanted me 'wrecked' by the wine of love
2) it only wrote 'wrecked', that's all-- the pen could not move onward

Notes:

qa.zaa : 'Divine decree, predestination; fate, destiny'. (Platts p.792)

 

;xaraab : 'Ruined, spoiled, depopulated, wasted, deserted, desolate; abandoned, lost, miserable, wretched; bad, worthless, vitiated, corrupt, reprobrate, noxious, vicious, depraved'. (Platts p.487)

Nazm:

That is, it wanted to write 'wrecked by the wine of love', but in writing 'the wine of love' the pen was not able to move; for this reason, I remained only 'wrecked'. Here, the theme's remaining incomplete has given great pleasure, and an expression of the incompleteness of every single state always gives pleasure. And the reason for the pen's being unable to move is only intoxication and drunkenness, which has arisen from the writing of the word 'wrecked'. (197)

== Nazm page 197

Bekhud Dihlavi:

Here the incompleteness of this sentence has created an extraordinary pleasure, and usually the expression of the incompleteness of every state is more pleasurable, by comparison to the completeness of this state. (255)

Bekhud Mohani:

He finds the effects of passion in himself incomplete. He expresses this. To be 'wrecked by the wine of love' is such a great blessing/boon that the Lord himself doesn't want to give it to anyone. The Lord has reserved love especially for himself. (346)

FWP:

SETS
WINE: {49,1}
WRITING: {7,3}

Among the people I know, to be 'really wrecked' means to be extremely drunk. Since slang varies so much and changes so fast, this may not be part of your own idiom. But at least it makes for the best available translation, and succeeds in getting across the general sense of the Urdu: the contrast between being 'wrecked' in the sense of 'very drunk', and 'wrecked' or in the more general sense of 'ruined' or 'destroyed'. For other examples in which ;xaraab is used to mean 'drunk', see {114,5} and {152,4}.

The verse tells us not just that the pen of Destiny 'did not' move on, but that it 'could not' move on. Nazm amusingly proposes that the mention of such 'drunkenness' has intoxicated the very pen of Destiny itself. Bekhud Mohani suggests that God has halted the movement of the pen, in order to withhold mystic secrets from the speaker. Another possibility might be that Destiny feels awed by such a fate, or greatly moved (with compassion? with jealousy?) at the thought of it, so that it's unable to continue writing. Not surprisingly, the need for us to invent our own reasons for the halting of the pen is one of the energizing pleasures of the verse, since in the process we're obliged to endow the verse with a tone or mood as well.

The idea of a badly-written fate also takes us, needless to say, right back to {1,1}.