Ghazal 178, Verse 6


rago;N me;N dau;Rte phirne ke ham nahii;N qaa))il
jab aa;Nkh se hii nah ;Tapkaa to phir lahuu kyaa hai

1) we are not convinced/accepting of [its] running and coursing in the veins
2) when it did/would not drip only/emphatically from the eye, then-- {is it blood? / what is blood? / as if it's blood!}


qaa))il : 'Saying; confessing, acknowledging, owning; consenting, agreeing, acquiescing; ... —a sayer, an assertor; a confessor, &c.' (Platts p.787)


Poets always compose many themes of being acquainted with grief. The author has composed it with a new aspect, and the excellence of construction and the informality [be-takallufii] of presentation have increased elegance [takalluf] of the meaning. (201)

== Nazm page 201

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'We don't consider to be blood that which would run and course in people's veins and would be considered to be the cause of life. What flows from the eyes after becoming a lover of someone-- that we know as 'blood'.' (260)

Bekhud Mohani:

If blood runs and courses in the veins, then we consider it to be nothing. When blood is worthy of being called 'blood', then in the grief of passion it would flow out by way of the eyes. That is, in trials and disasters, for the heart to turn to blood is worthy of praise. (355)


EYES {3,1}

As in the case of a classic mushairah verse, the first line doesn't tell us what's being discussed; we can no doubt guess that it's probably blood, but we can't think why the speaker would doubt, or even deny, that it circulates. Under mushairah performance conditions, of course, we'd be given a bit of time to wonder and theorize.

Then even when we hear the second line, we really can't tell where it's going-- until finally, at the last possible moment, we get the punch-word and the whole thing falls into place. But in a classic mushairah verse, once we 'get' it we know we've got it all; there's no need to brood about any complexities of meaning. A classic mushairah verse has one good punch, and delivers it at the end; and that's quite a sufficient trick for a two-line poem to perform. But in this verse, we get a kind of three-way punch.

For the colloquial, emphatic lahuu kyaa hai is, thanks to the multivalence of kyaa , impossible to pin down. The possibilities include:

=='Is it blood?' (a yes-or-no question)
=='As if it's blood!' (an indignant negative exclamation)
=='What [kind of] blood is it?' (a genuine, or sarcastic, question)
=='What is blood?' (a philosophical question)

All these questions hover in the air, and make us realize that we have no hope at all of pinning them down into any one single meaning.

In any case, it's clear that the lover's notion of blood has nothing to do with any properties like circulation (and thus life-sustainingness). Perhaps the lover finds that idea peculiar or even unbelievable; perhaps he merely finds it irrelevant. His kind of blood isn't idly and foolishly 'running around' all day in the veins, or circulating sensibly throughout the body in a sustainable and sustaining way. His kind of blood runs in only one direction: out. The only way the lover will consent to recognize blood, is to ask whether it can be used to express passion, in the form of bloody tears. Rather than judging blood by its ability to sustain life, he judges it by its ability (as a sign of extreme grief and physical breakdown) both to evoke death, and to help bring it about.