Ghazal 189, Verse 11x


dil to ho achchhaa nahii;N hai gar dimaa;G
kuchh to asbaab-e tamannaa chaahiye

1) if there would be the heart, good-- if there is not the mind
2) well, some equipment/apparatus for longing is necessary!


asbaab : 'Causes, motives, means; resources; — s.m. sing. Implements, tools, instruments, apparatus, materials; goods, chattels, effects, property; furniture; articles, things; commodities, appliances, machinery; stores, provision; funds; necessaries; baggage, luggage; cargo'. (Platts p.47)


tamannaa : 'Wish, desire, longing, inclination ... ; request, prayer, supplication, petition'. (Platts p.337)

Gyan Chand:

All right [achchhaa], if because of disaffection there's no mind to do anything, then at least there's the heart for this-- that is, there ought to be attraction/emotion. Only then can there be the equipment for longing. Otherwise, even if there would be disaffection, and even if there would be sorrow, then so what-- can longing be created?!

== Gyan Chand, p. 491



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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

This is the only verse from this ghazal that was omitted from the published divan. It's not great, but it's not awful either. It's a mushairah verse, with a confusing first line that initially feels a bit jumbled. Even when (after a suitable interval) we are allowed to hear the second line, the 'punch-word' that makes the whole verse interpretable (and enjoyable) is of course deferred to the last possible moment.

But when it finally comes, it's a well-chosen and delightful word. The first line seems very practical-- the speaker seems to be making an inventory of basic resources for living. Then in the second line the insistence on asbaab (see the definition above) suggests all sorts of pragmatic goods and implements that might be additionally necessary to sustain life. The tone is almost impatient; it is stating the obvious ('Well, we've got to have food and water!').

Then we finally learn that the heart-- substituting for the (apparently vanished) mind-- and any other asbaab that might be under discussion, are the obvious, indispensable equipment for... not living, but longing.