Ghazal 197, Verse 4x


asad bah naazukii-e :tab((-e aarzuu in.saaf
kih ek vahm-e .za((iif-o-;Gam-e do-((aalam hai

1) Asad, to the sensitivity/touchiness of the temperament of longing, [do] justice!
2) for there is a single weak fancy/apprehension-- and a 'two-worlds' grief


naazuk : 'Thin, slender, slim, delicate, tender, fragile; fine; light; brittle; nice; neat; elegant; genteel; subtle; — facetious; gracious; keen; sensitive, touchy, testy'. (Platts p.1114)


:tab(( : 'Nature, innate or natural disposition; genius; natural temper, temperament; idiosyncrasy; quality'. (Platts p.751)


vahm : 'Thinking, imagining, conceiving (esp. a false idea); — opinion, conjecture; imagination, idea, fancy; — suspicion, doubt; scruple, caution; distrust, anxiety, apprehension, fear


Oh Asad, please recognize the sensitivity of the temperament of longing, and do it justice, for over a single weak fancy/apprehension, the burden/heaviness of both worlds lies fallen.

Or else this: that 'Oh Asad, I swear by the sensitivity of the justice-longing (?) temperament, that I am a single weak fancy on whom there is the burden of both worlds'. (296)

Gyan Chand:

Asad, keep in view the sensitivity of the longing temperament, and do justice-- that on a single weak imagining, a whole world of grief has been placed. The longing temperament is [habitually] very attenuated/thin and sharp of sense. The 'sensitivity of the temperament of longing' and the 'weak fancy' are both related to verse composition.

== Gyan Chand, p. 435



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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

On the nature of do-((aalam expressions, see {18,2}.

Unsurprisingly, the commentators evoke the pathetic situation of the half-crazed, hypersensitive lover, so vulnerable to his own anxieties that the smallest fancy or apprehension causes him a cosmic, 'two-worlds' kind of grief.

But equally unsurprisingly (to 'do justice' to my own 'temperament' as a commentator), I have a much more extravagant and thrilling interpretation to offer. My proof-text is the brilliant {5,4}, in which merely 'somewhat of a thought of madness' passed through the lover's mind-- and the desert burned up. Here too, in view of the meaning of naazukii as 'touchiness' or 'testiness', and the versatile but powerful nature of do-((aalam expressions (see {18,2}), it's possible that the lover's grief was equally potent. A single morbid notion-- possibly quite groundless-- entered his irritable head, and the result was a grief that spiralled outward and overtook the 'two worlds'.