Ghazal 178, Verse 3


yih rashk hai kih vuh hotaa hai ham-su;xan tum se
vagarnah ;xauf-e bad-aamozii-e ((aduu kyaa hai

1) there's this jealousy/envy-- that he [habitually] is a fellow-speaker with you
2) otherwise, what fear is there of the enemy's bad teaching/learning?


aamozii : 'Teaching; learning; taught'. (Platts p.83)


Let him say a hundred thousand extremely bad things about me-- I don't care. I only feel jealousy/envy: 'Why does he converse with you?'. (200)

== Nazm page 200

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'I remain anxious and brooding out of jealousy/envy because he converses with you. Otherwise, I care nothing about the bad teaching/learning of the enemy. No matter how he may abuse me to you, I'm not afraid of that.' (259)

Bekhud Mohani:

I don't at all feel any fear that from his insults and slander you and I would have a falling-out. Rather, I feel jealousy/envy at why he speaks with you at all. In the guise of love, how a plea is being made for her not conversing with the Rival! (351)



The commentators explicate one possible reading of the verse. In their view, the fear that the lover strongly-- maybe even a little too strongly-- denies, is that the enemy may do 'bad teaching' and put undesirable thoughts into the beloved's head. This is certainly a legitimate reading. On this reading, the beloved is innocent until possibly propagandized by the 'bad teaching' of the enemy.

Even a quick glance at Platts, however, will show that aamozii can mean not only 'teaching', but also 'learning'-- or, more precisely, 'being taught' (see the definition above). And it's that sense of 'being taught' that helps to opens up the verse in all its amusingness.

For if the 'enemy' regularly converses with the beloved, the real danger is that he may become 'taught' by her in some bad way. Where else except from her could he pick up so many cruel and wicked tricks, so many deadly-effective taunts, so much scandalous gossip? After all, we already know what the beloved is capable of: she is unkind to all parties, and is nobody's friend (see {42,1}; she is not only unfaithful but a radical 'denier of faithfulness' (see {97,6}). The lover is so aware of all this that he brings his complaint right to the beloved herself. And what might she say in reply? Perhaps the hapless lover would get the kind of response described in {19,2}.

In addition, there's another ambiguity that further opens up that verse. If we ask 'what fear is there of X's happening?', one meaning can be 'X won't happen, there's no cause to fear its happening', while another meaning can be 'if X happens, it won't do any harm, there's no cause for fear of it'. Given the inshaa))iyah interrogative of kyaa , we thus have material for imagining a variety of scenarios involving the fear-inducing (or not) habits, behavior, and conversations of the beloved and the enemy.

For more on the complexities of rashk , see {53,4}.