Ghazal 203, Verse 6x


.sub;h naa-paidaa hai kulfat-;xaanah-e idbaar me;N
to;Rnaa hotaa hai rang-e yak nafas har shab mujhe

1) dawn is nonexistent, in the distress-chamber of ill-fortune
2) every night I [habitually] have to destroy/'tear out' the color of a single breath


naa-paidaa : 'Unborn, that has never existed, non-existent; extinct; not to be found, lost, missing; not evident, invisible; vanished'. (Platts p.1111)


kulfat : 'Trouble, vexation, distress, inconvenience'. (Platts p.843)


idbaar : 'Decline of good fortune (opp. to iqbaal ), misfortune, ill-luck, adversity'. (Platts p.31)


shikastah : 'Broken; defeated, routed; carried away (by inundation, as river-banks, &c.); reduced to straits; bankrupt; sick; wounded; weak, infirm'. (Platts p.730)


This too is an imaginary [;xayaalii] theme. He says that in the distress-chamber of ill-fortune and inauspiciousness, where is there a dawn?! In place of dawn, every day I scatter/disperse the color of a single breath, through which dawn seems to appear. Since 'breathing' [tanaffus] is used for the coming of the light of dawn and for the taking of a breath, from this in the poet's mind a theme was engendered. And instead of reality, the foundation of the verse has been based only on the imagination.

== Asi, p.260


shikast-e rang is a metaphor for paleness/pallor, and he has translated this as rang to;Rnaa ; it is among the necessities for shikast-e rang and the 'breath of dawn' [nafas-e .sub;h]. Thus he says that 'My distress-chamber is so dark, in which there's never a dawn-- except that I would make my breaths pallid, and from their shikast-e rang I would create the shikast-e rangii of the 'breaths of dawn' [anfaas-e .sub;h]. By the 'pallor of the breaths' Mirza means to heave a deep/'cold' sigh, and to heave sighs. That is, with the thought of the dawn I would always heave deep/'cold' sighs.

== Zamin, p. 372

Gyan Chand:

The meaning of rang shikastan is for the color to fly away. Since the meaning of the face's color flying away is for whiteness to overcome it, the poet has sought out a single shared reason for the vanishing of the color and the coming of the dawn. He says that in the distress-chamber of evil fortune, where is there ever a dawn?! Every night I remove the color from one of my breaths. For me, dawn is this very shikast-e rang-e nafas . That is, for others the dawn can be a pleasing thing; for me, it speaks of the diminishment of life.

== Gyan Chand, p. 377



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}.

The verse rests on a somewhat convoluted set of idioms. Into the lover's dark 'distress-chamber' of ill-fortune, no 'breaths of dawn [anfaas-e .sub;h] come . So the lover replaces the first pale white light of dawn with a faint, 'pale' breath of his own from which he has 'destroyed' or 'torn out' (as in shikastan ) the color, so that it comes to have a pallid rang-e shikastah . The reason this works is that there's an idiom in which the first light of dawn is called the 'breath of dawn'.

For another verse that connects the rang-e shikastah to the light of dawn, see {13,2}. And for a Mirian example, see M{277,2}.

At first I hoped this verse was going to be like the wonderfully grandiose {62,8}; but alas, it's not. In that (greatly superior) verse, every morning the lover displays another of his wounds, which people mistake for the rising sun. In the present verse, the lover's 'pale', color-stripped breath creates the dawn light only in his own wretched bedchamber.