Ghazal 179, Verse 4

{179,4}

aa hii jaataa vuh raah par ;Gaalib
ko))ii din aur bhii jiye hote

1) she would have agreed/'come onto the road', Ghalib
2) if we had lived some days even/also more

Notes:

Nazm:

'To come onto the road' [raah par aa jaanaa] is an idiom; it's meant to convey 'to agree, to be persuaded' [maan lenaa]. (202)

== Nazm page 202

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Oh Ghalib, gradually she would have been persuaded by our words. You died in haste-- otherwise, you should have lived some days more and pleaded with her.' (261)

Bekhud Mohani:

aa hii jaataa is telling us that it was necessary that that would happen; how long would that pitiless one not have agreed? aur bhii jiye hote -- that is, you had endured difficulty for many days; now it wouldn't have been very long until she became gracious. But you were in a rush [to die]. (357)

FWP:

SETS == IDIOMS; MUSHAIRAH

Under mushairah performance conditions, after hearing the first line we're left to wonder what kind of 'agreement' the lover might be seeking, and from whom exactly. As the second line progresses, we continue to wonder, for 'some days more as well' remains entirely opaque. In classic mushairah-verse style, this one withholds its meaning until the last possible moment-- until the rhyme itself, when there's no scope at all for postponing it any longer. Not until we hear jiye does the meaning of the whole verse suddenly come together for us all at once

The lover is dead, or at least on the verge of death-- though we know this only by implication. (For other verses in which the dead lover speaks, see {57,1}.) Even in death, he remains obsessed by the great quest that governed his life: persuading the beloved to show him favor.

On one reading, even now he's dauntlessly-- and crazily-- optimistic, boasting about his closeness to success. It would have been impossible, he thinks, for her to hold out much longer. He was getting to her! He was definitely just about to succeed, he thinks. She would surely have been persuaded, he thinks-- if only he had managed to live a little longer! He can't bear to think of her cruelty as inexorable, or of his loss of her as irrevocable; he holds the realization at bay by dwelling on fantasies of success.

On another reading, he speaks in a tone of despair. How cruelly ironic that he should die just then, when he was on the point of success! How can he bear not to have had a chance to complete his task of persuasion! If only-- he tortures himself, in frustration-- he could have lived a bit longer! As so often, it's left up to us to choose a tone for this emotional, highly exclamatory verse.

The grammar of the second line, however, emphasizes the time interval: he needed to live not just 'more' [aur], which would have done the grammatical job perfectly well (as in {66}), but aur bhii , 'even/also more', which emphasizes the additional length of time required. As does 'some days' [ko))ii din] itself; the whole thing might even amount to a fairly long period. For more on the idiomatic ko))ii din , see {66,1}.

Once the lover truly gives up, and ceases to obsess about his chances of persuasion, he's more than ready to depart: the classic example is {20,1}.