Ghazal 191, Verse 5

{191,5}

is nazaakat kaa buraa ho vuh bhale hai;N to kyaa
haath aave;N to u;Nhe;N haath lagaa))e nah bane

1) may evil/bad come upon this delicacy! if she's kind/good, then so what?
2) if she would come to hand, a hand wouldn't be able to be laid upon her

Notes:

Nazm:

Composing this verse, the author has shown a picture of delicacy. There's no doubt at all that the word nazaakat is wrong, because naazuk is a Persian word, and he has made its abstract form nazaakat according to the Arabic pattern. But the Urdu users blindly follow the Persian elders in doing this; thus in Urdu too from chaahanaa they've made chaahat , and from rang , rangat ; and the idiom, and the usage of elders, have made all these words correct. (215)

== Nazm page 215

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, her utter delicacy has left her incapable of this-- so that if she would fall into the hands of any ardent lover, then no ardent lover would be able to succeed in obtaining union. (274)

Bekhud Mohani:

She has a good temperament, but she's so delicate that no longing can be fulfilled. Even if she would be obtained, then through fear of her delicacy nothing would be able to be achieved. He's said it in such a way that the beloved's imagined picture begins to pass before the eyes.

[Disapproving of Nazm's attitude:] The usage of elders and the entry into the idiom is itself an absolute proof of a word's eloquence [fa.saa;hat]. The elders of Iran kept an eye on the scope of their language, and proved themselves to be renewers. They never failed to use this [ability], although there wasn't as much necessity for creating words in Persian as there is in Urdu. But what cure is there-- the worthy commentator is bemoaning this! And he considers it necessary to make the language dead, and to narrow the circle of its scope! (375)

Josh:

A verse of Sayyid Insha's too on this theme is worthy of comparison:

nazaakat us gul-e ra((naa kii dekho ay inshaa
nasiim-e .sub;h jo chhuu jaa))e rang ho mailaa

[look at the delicacy of that attractive rose, oh Insha
if the dawn breeze would touch it, the color would be soiled] (316)

FWP:

SETS
GOOD/BAD: {22,4}

Ghalib naturally doesn't expect us to subsist for more than one verse without wordplay-- in contrast to the prosy {191,4}, this one offers us good/bad in the first line, and also in the second line the two even more enjoyably different idiomatic uses of haath , which I've tried to capture through more or less similar English idioms.

Arshi, who usually doesn't give many diacritics, provides a zer that establishes the first word of the verse as is rather than us . In this case, it doesn't seem to make much difference.

In this verse, the beloved's extreme delicacy seems to be a kind of sadistic cosmic joke on the lover, for which the beloved is blameless; if anything, she is (or at least might be) 'kind', rather than complicit in such cruelty to the hapless lover. Compare {20,3}, in which the same delicacy is the basis of a teasing bit of repartee directed at the beloved herself-- it's made to call into question not only her physical strength, but also her moral fiber.

Compare Mir's more vivid and sensuous take on the untouchable delicacy of the beloved: M{759,5}.