Ghazal 186, Verse 7x


ay be-;xabaraa;N mere lab-e za;xm-e jigar par
ba;xyah jise kahte ho shikaayat hai rafuu kii

1) oh ignorant ones, on the lip of the wound in my liver,
2) what you call 'stitching' is a complaint about darning/mending


be-;xabar : 'Without knowledge (of, - se ), uninformed; without intelligence, senseless, ignorant, stupid; incautious, imprudent, careless, heedless'. (Platts p.204)


ba;xyah : 'Stitching; back-stitch; sewing with long stitches, basting, tacking; sewing very thick and strong; quilting'. (Platts p.138)

Gyan Chand:

Oh uninformed ones! There seem to be threads on the wound in my liver. You blame me-- that I have caused the wound to be stitched up, and this is proof of a lack of courage. In truth, this is not stitching. On the lips is a complaint about stitching, that is showing itself in the form of white threads.

== Gyan Chand, p. 490


JIGAR: {2,1}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; mostly for the sake of completeness, I have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

In Urdu as in English, we speak of the 'mouth' of a wound (for an example, see {214,1}). If a wound has a mouth, then why not a 'lip'? And with a mouth and a lip, the wound might well be capable of speaking. After all, such metaphorical extension is one way that the ghazal universe develops over time.

But why would the wound's words of complaint take the form of stitches? These are not metaphorical stitches, but actual visible ones, such that 'ignorant' people would take them for the stitches that close up a wound. And to further confuse things, the motivation of the wound's speech is to complain about just such stitches-- so the visible stitches noticed by the ignorant ones could also perhaps be the very stitches against which the wound is complaining! In this latter case, even more confusingly, the speaker's words would be false.

This is not an endlessly intriguing Ghalibian complexity, but simply poor structure. It's like an over-rotation-- the young poet has outsmarted himself and lost control of his material. It's easy to see why Ghalib would have passed over it when choosing verses for the divan.