Ghazal 195, Verse 2


samajh is me;N kotaahii-e nashv-o-numaa ;Gaalib
agar gul sarv ke qaamat pah pairaahan nah ho jaave

1) consider that in this season there's a shortfall of growth and flourishing, Ghalib
2) if the rose would not become a robe/mantle for the stature of the cypress


nashv : 'Intoxication, drunkenness; exhilaration (from wine, &c.), hilarity'. (Platts p.1141)


namaa or numaa : 'Growing; increasing; rising; growth; increase; rise'. (Platts p.1153)


numaa : 'Showing, exhibiting, pointing out;—showing itself, appearing'. (Platts p.1153)


nushv-o-namaa : 'Growth and increase'. (Steingass p.1404)


nashv-numaa : 'Growing up'. (Steingass p.1405)


What a remarkable exaggeration, such that within the scope of the exaggeration he's shown an attractive vision too! But by the rose becoming a robe for the stature of the cypress is meant not that one rose would grow so tall that it would become the cypress's robe, but rather the author's intention is that the branches of the rose should so flourish that they would become wrapped around the cypress and cause it to wear a robe of flowers. And in this exaggeration there's the excellence that nothing impossible is necessary.

And if by 'rose' one rose would be intended, then the exaggeration moves toward impossibility, and this is a fault in exaggeration, and this fault has always been described by writers as a fault, but the poets of Persia and Hind perhaps consider it a verbal device, and don't avoid it. Everybody has been heard committing this fault. The late author himself takes no care against speaking of impossibilities [mu;haal-go))ii]; for example, we've seen this verse: {120,5}. That is, she's so blood-shedding that her horse swims in a river of blood. It's only impossible exaggeration. [Further discussion, with examples from Vazir, Nasikh, and Momin.] (219-21)

== Nazm page 219; Nazm page 220; Nazm page 221

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Oh Ghalib, in the spring season one ought to consider it a shortfall of growth and flourishing, if the rose vines don't grow and spread and cause the cypress to wear a robe of flowers'. The extreme excellence of the thought and of the placing of the words is worthy of praise. (278)

Bekhud Mohani:

Oh Ghalib, if the branches of the roses don't grow and embrace the cypress and cause it to wear a colorful robe of flowers, then consider that there's a shortfall of growth and flourishing. That is, in growth and flourishing the springtime state is that from the abundance of roses the cypress would become rose-attired. (386)



Well, if there's something special going on in this verse, it eludes me. We're left with the 'rational' choice of a rose-vine twining so lavishly around a cypress that it becomes a robe, or the 'exaggerated' choice, denounced in advance (somewhat ambivalently) by Nazm, of a single gigantic rose becoming overwhelming enough to be a robe for a cypress. And I suppose the proverbial tallness of the cypress, and the idea of a 'shortfall' in growth, bounce off each other to a degree. There's also a small sound-play in the sequence of pah pai , which are almost homonyms.

So maybe it's just a 'spring is here!' kind of verse, and its charm is meant to lie in its exclamatory, inshaa))iyah structure and perhaps its mood. But it's still pretty forgettable.