Ghazal 192, Verse 6x


haath par gar haath maare yaar vaqt-e qahqahah
kirmak-e shab-taab aasaa mah par-afshaanii kare

1) if the friend/beloved would slap hand on hand at the time of a burst of laughter
2) like the night-glowing firefly, the moon would flutter its wings


qahqahah : 'A loud laugh, a horse-laugh; a burst of laughter'. (Platts p.796)


kirmak : 'A small worm, vermicule; a firefly'. (Platts p.827)


If my friend would burst out laughing and slap one hand on the other, the way the custom is that when people laugh loudly they slap their hands together, then the effect of this would be that like the night-glowing firefly, the moon would begin to flutter its wings, and in this an aspect of agitation would be created.

== Asi, p. 234


When a firefly flashes, then children clap their hands; at the sound of this, it goes dark [utar aanaa]. From this the poet has created the theme that if the beloved, in laughing, would clap her hands, then the moon would become a firefly and go dark. This verse too is in the same state as the earlier verses, and in truth this poetry ought to be considered not Ghalib's poetry, but rather that of a powerful new/inexperienced [nau-mashq] poet who wants to create for himself a new road, different from the common road.

== Zamin, p. 354

Gyan Chand:

When she bursts out laughing, if the friend would slap her hand on my hand, then the moon, like a firefly, would flap its wings and fly away. Why? The radiance of the palm of the friend's hand is greater than that of the moon; joined with that, the vigor/bloomingness of the burst of laughter becomes mixed in. In slapping the hand a noise also emerges. From all this, the moon will panic; it will feel its own [comparative] lightlessness, and will flee from comparison with the friend. In comparison with the beloved, he has called the moon a mere night-glowing firefly.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 360-361



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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Three commentators, three readings. Asi thinks the beloved, laughing, would clap her hands together, and this would agitate the moon. Zamin thinks it's generally known that when children see a firefly light up they clap their hands, and this noise causes the firefly to go dark; similarly, in this case the moon would go dark. Gyan Chand thinks the beloved would slap her hand on the lover's hand, and the resulting radiance and noise would panic the moon into actually flying away. All these views have problems, but the underlying problem is that the imagery is not clearly hooked up together; the theme is not properly developed. Too many discrete bits and pieces, too little justification. (For example, why does the moon have wings?).

The impression is indeed, as Zamin says, of 'a powerful new/inexperienced [nau-mashq] poet who wants to create for himself a new road, different from the common road'.