Ghazal 196, Verse 8x


anjaam-e shumaar-e ;Gam nah puuchho
yih ma.sraf-e taa-bakai nahii;N hai

1) the result/completion of the counting of griefs-- don't ask!
2) this is not an expenditure of/for [asking] 'how many / to what length?'


anjaam : 'End, termination, completion, accomplishment, conclusion; result, upshot; accident; vexation'. (Platts p.88)


ma.sraf : 'Expenditure, expense, disbursement; cost, charge; — use'. (Platts p.1042)


kai : 'That, in order to, in order that; how?'. (Steingass p.1067)


taa ba-kai : 'How long? how much? till what time? to what length then?'. (Steingass p.271)


taa ba-kai : 'Till what time? to what extent? to what length? when? how much? how many?'. (Platts p.303)



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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

This ghazal offers an intriguing illustration of the search for rhyme-words. There are not that many words in Urdu that end in the ai diphthong and can be worked into a short-meter line before nahii;N hai . Ghalib of course uses the obvious candidates: nai , mai , shai , hai , ai . He also includes the much less common dai and qai . But just to show that he's not easily daunted, he casually throws in the Persian grammatical form taa ba-kai , and recycles the same form in {196,9x}-- which is surely the inspiration for the rhyme kai . (These two verses, the ones containing taa ba-kai , were however not chosen for the divan.)

In the present verse, really both lines invoke the 'inexpressibility trope'. The first line does so directly ('Don't even ask!') Then the second line, thanks to the versatility of taa ba-kai (see the definitions above), suggests several possibilities. Perhaps the lover's innumerable griefs cannot be counted at all, or the count cannot be completed (so that the question 'how many?' cannot be answered). Or perhaps in this situation such a question is entirely futile (questions like 'to what length?' or 'how much?' or 'to what extent?' are meaningless in this case).