Ghazal 203, Verse 5

{203,5}

dil lagaa kar aap bhii ;Gaalib mujhii se ho gaye
((ishq se aate the maana(( miirzaa .saa;hib mujhe

1a) having applied/bestowed the heart, he/she too, Ghalib, became like only/especially me
1b) having applied/bestowed the heart, you too, Ghalib, became like only/especially me

2a) he/she used to be a prohibitor of passion, Mirza Sahib, to me
2b) you used to be a prohibitor of passion, Mirza Sahib, to me

Notes:

Nazm:

aap bhii , that is, he himself; here aap is not as an address. He has called Ghalib 'Mirza Sahib' by way of a taunt. Here the author has used .saa;hib with the rhyme of ma:tlab on the basis of the common idiom of speech. [Discussion of the Arabic and Persian pronunciation, etc.] (229)

== Nazm page 229

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, having given his heart, Ghalib too became a lover like me. Let someone ask him, Mirza Sahib, you always used to advise the renunciation of passion-- why have you put the noose of the snare of passion around your neck? Here the word aap is not for address. (286)

Bekhud Mohani:

Some such individual whom Mirza Sahib always used to forbid to engage in passion, now having seen Mirza himself as a lover, and restless just like himself, says, Mirza Sahib used to forbid me-- now the truth has been revealed: now his own state too is just what ours is. (404)

FWP:

SETS

This unusual closing-verse contains not only the regular pen-name, but also an extra echo of it in the form of 'Mirza Sahib'. And just the way that in all closing-verses we have to decide whether 'Ghalib' is addressing himself or being talked to, or talked about, by others, here we have to make the same decision for 'Mirza Sahib' as well.

The commentators generally decide that someone else is speaking to Ghalib in both lines; this is the reading that I've called (1b) and (2b). This is an obvious and intuitive reading in the light of the grammar, but to me it feels untrustworthy because we have no idea who the speaker might be. No character in the ghazal world comes to mind as a possible speaker. For it would have to be someone who was a serious lover before the lover-persona ('Ghalib') ever was one, and whom the lover-persona ('Ghalib'), who was not then in love, used to try to wean away from his passion. The second line clearly describes the previous steady-state situation ('you used to forbid me') when the lover-persona was not yet a lover, but the speaker was; while the first line depicts a change of state only for the lover-persona ('now you too have become a lover like me'). This is the kind of thing the lover-persona usually says to or about others (his confidant becomes a Rival, his Messenger becomes a Rival, and so on)-- but who is empowered to say it to him? Only perhaps Majnun or some other great lover of the past-- but for that reading, we'd certainly need for him to be named in the verse itself.

Thus I take aap as short for something like vuh apne-aap , 'he himself' or 'she herself'. Ghalib is addressing himself in the first line, observing that he/she has now become a lover 'like me'. Then in the second line he's meditatively addressing himself again, as 'Mirza Sahib', recalling (meditatively? ironically? amusedly?) how urgently that person used to forbid Ghalib to give way to passion. And now he/she's gone and done it him/her-self! The person Ghalib is ruminating about could be a confidant, a Messenger, the Advisor, or even the beloved herself. (For examples in which the beloved herself falls in love, see {13,2}.) It's true this double self-address is a bit unusual, but then, it's unusual to have an extra pseudo-pen-name in the closing-verse in the first place. And a double self-address doesn't seem half as unusual as the sudden appearance of an existentially prior, unnamed Super-lover in the ghazal world.