Ghazal 203, Verse 1

{203,1}

yaad hai shaadii me;N bhii hangaamah-e yaa rab mujhe
sub;hah-e zaahid hu))aa hai ;xandah zer-e lab mujhe

1) even/also in joy I remember the clamor/tumult of 'oh Lord!'

2a) a {slight / soft / 'under the lip'} laugh/smile has become the prayer-bead necklace of the Ascetic to me
2b) the prayer-bead necklace of the Ascetic has become a {slight / soft / 'under the lip'} laugh/smile to me

Notes:

hangaamah : 'A convention, an assembly, a meeting; a crowd; --noise, tumult, commotion, confusion, uproar; sedition, disturbance, disorder; an affray; assault'. (Platts p.1238)

 

;xandah : 'Laughing, smiling; a laugh; laughter;--a laughing-stock'. (Platts p.494)

 

zer-e lab : 'Under the lip, slightly uttered, inarticulate, mumbled; in an under-tone, in a whisper, softly; inarticulately'. (Platts p.620)

Nazm:

The meaning of yaa rab in Persian idiom is that of a cry to the Lord for help, and by the prayer-beads of the Ascetic is meant the hidden 'zikr' that is done very softly on the lips. He says that even in joy I haven't forgotten the clamor of yaa rab ; my hidden smile is as if it's the prayer-bead necklace of the Ascetic. (228)

== Nazm page 228

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, even in joy I remember the clamor of yaa rab . Even my smile is as if it's the Ascetic's hidden zikr. The meaning is that in no state do I remain heedless of remembering God. (285)

Bekhud Mohani:

The word bhii is full of meaning. That is, I used always to lament anyway; nowadays some additional distresses have come upon me, the deep impression of which is still on the heart. Even in a state of happiness, when the image of those distresses appears before me, as it often does, with that thought I writhe and begin to call on the Lord. So when this is my state in the clamor/tumult of joy, it can be guessed what kind of difficulties and troubles those must be, and what state my heart must be in. (402)

FWP:

SETS == SYMMETRY
ISLAMIC: {10,2}
SMILE/LAUGHTER: {27,4}

Here's a classic verse of 'symmetry', with two readings of the striking second verse, each of which works elegantly, though of course differently, with the first line. The curving necklace of prayer-beads (I'm avoiding the specifically Catholic term 'rosary') can readily be compared to a smile. Here are two readings of that smile:

=(2a) a small, secret smile has become the Ascetic's prayer-necklace to me because what he does with his prayer-necklace, I do with my private 'zikr'-embodying smile; even when smiling in (the appearance of) joy, I am really engaged in prayer

=(2b) the Ascetic's prayer-necklace has become a small, secret smile to me because the thought of the ostentatious outward piety of the Ascetic, who makes a great show of using his prayer-beads, amuses me-- unlike him, I can and do remember the Lord even in seemingly distracting or discordant circumstances

The grammar of the verse also makes it possible that the speaker is envisioning the Ascetic's prayer-beads as forming the curve of a small, superior, reproachful smile directed at him by the Ascetic-- even in the midst of pleasure he can sense the Ascetic's sneer. But this meaning doesn't feel as complex and Ghalib-like as the others.