Ghazal 177, Verse 13


rakhyo ;Gaalib mujhe is tal;x-navaa))ii me;N mu((aaf
aaj kuchh dard mire dil me;N sivaa hotaa hai

1) Ghalib, please hold me, in/for this bitter-voicedness, excused--
2) today the pain in my heart is [habitually] somewhat extra/beyond


rakhyo is a metrically compressed form of rakhiyo , the future imperative for tum (GRAMMAR)


mu((aaf : 'Forgiven, pardoned, absolved, excused, condoned, remitted; spared; dispensed with; exempted (from)'. (Platts p.1046)


sivaa : 'But, besides, other than, over and above, further than... ; -- adj. Additional, more; better'. (Platts p.690)


[1858, to Taftah:] -- {177,13} -- Protector of servants!

First of all it is written to you that you are to convey my salaams in the service of my old friend Mir Mukarram Husain Sahib, and tell him that up till now I'm still alive, and beyond that I myself don't know my condition. (Arshi 321)

== Urdu text: Khaliq Anjum vol. 1, p. 280; for more on this letter see {150,1}


That is, hearing my bitter utterances, don't be displeased, for it's from a cause that counts as an excuse. (200)

== Nazm page 200

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Oh Ghalib, having heard my bitter cries, don't be displeased and vexed, this is due to a cause that counts as an excuse. That is, today in my heart the pain has become somewhat greater; for this reason pain-filled verses are emerging from my tongue.' (258)

Bekhud Mohani:

If today my lament is more troubling, then pardon me-- today the pain of my heart has increased. (350)



It's a strange closing-verse to put right after a verse-set of fulsome praise to the King. Of course it can always be read broadly, to apply in a general way to the whole group of verses that he's been reciting; but the 'this' does tend to invite our attention toward the verse-set. It makes you wonder, once again, how such a verse really seemed to its composer, and to its audience. Would they be so used to such ghazal commonplaces of 'pain in the heart' that this particular juxtaposition would hardly even register? Would they be deeply conditioned by a lifetime of stylized ghazal language to eschew all personal interpretations? After all, if Ghalib expected the Emperor to take it personally, then to present it, even in the form of a private conversation with himself, would be a very foolish move on his part, since it would undo all the good that he might have hoped to do himself through the eulogistic verse-set. So perhaps we notice it more than the original audience did.

That wonderfully idiomatic kuchh gives the whole second line an easy, colloquial flow. It makes for an effect of judiciousness: he doesn't complain because of pain in his heart, he's used to that. But today the pain is somewhat worse, somewhat excessive, beyond the normal bounds. And the heart seems to have its own direct connection to the voice-- perhaps 'normal' pain makes the voice merely pain-filled, while this 'extra' pain adds the effect of bitterness.