Ghazal 181, Verse 6


hai havaa me;N sharaab kii taa;siir
baadah-noshii hai baad-paimaa))ii

1) in the air/love/desire is the effect of wine

2a) wine-drinking is futile/'measuring out the breeze'
2b) inhaling/'measuring out the breeze' is wine-drinking


havaa : 'Air, atmosphere, ether, the space between heaven and earth; --air, wind, gentle gale; --affection, favour, love, mind, desire, passionate fondness; lust, carnal desire'. (Platts p. 1239)


This verse is in praise of spring. In it 'measuring out the breeze' has generated two meanings. They call doing a task in vain 'measuring out the breeze'. Thus one meaning of it is that the air of the spring season is so joy-producing that it's as if the effect of wine has appeared in it. And since this state exists, wine-drinking is merely measuring out the breeze-- that is, it's a useless task. In this situation wine-drinking will be the subject, and 'measuring out the breeze' the predicate.

The other meaning is that 'measuring out the breeze' should be taken as the subject, and wine-drinking as the predicate, and just as 'measuring out wine' [baadah-paimaa))ii] means drinking wine, in the same way 'measuring out the breeze' means drinking the breeze. In this situation the meaning will emerge that nowadays even to inhale the air is to drink wine.

==Urdu text: Yadgar-e Ghalib, p. 133

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, nowadays in the breeze of greenery and roses is an intoxication like that of wine. They all, without having drunk anything, sway back and forth. In such a situation, to drink wine is a futile action. (360)


When in the air of this time is the effect of wine, and it makes one drunk and intoxicated, then to drink wine is a useless task [kaar-e be-kaar]. (407)


[Compare his comments on Mir's M{1504,2}.]


WINE: {49,1}

This whole ghazal has an unusual degree of internal coherence; for discussion, see {181,1}.

What a lovely job of explication Hali does! Most of the commentators are content simply to paraphrase the verse.

For more on havaa , see {8,3}. And of course, baadah and baad have an enjoyable mutual echo.

Although paimaa has the literal sense of 'measuring out', it can be used for the process of gradually traversing something, such as a flow of wine-- thus, in effect, drinking it. A parallel use: in qaumii tarannah Iqbal concludes with the line, hotaa hai jaadah-paimaa phir kaaravaa;N hamaaraa -- 'again our caravan is 'road-measuring', that is, 'gradually traversing the road', or, in effect, moving along.

Compare {49,4}.