Ghazal 204, Verse 1


;hu.zuur-e shaah me;N ahl-e su;xan kii aazmaa))ish hai
chaman me;N ;xvush-navaayaan-e chaman kii aazmaa))ish hai

1) in the presence of the King is the test of the people of poetry
2) in the garden is the test of the sweet singers of the garden


;hu.zuur : 'Presence, attendance; the royal presence; the presence of a superior authority (as a judge, &c.)'. (Platts p.478)


aazmaa))ish : 'Trial, test, proof, essay, examination; experiment'. (Platts p.45)


At the mushairah in which the author recited this ghazal, the King was present. (230)

== Nazm page 230

Bekhud Dihlavi:

The meaning is that for all the accomplished ghazal-composing poets of the court, their test is a test like that of the sweet-singing creatures of the garden. At the mushairah in which Mirza Sahib recited this ghazal, the King was illuminating the gathering. (286-87)

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, today in the King's presence is the test of the poets. (405)


TESTING: {4,4}

This clever little verse implies that just as the birds of the garden are at home in the garden and have a natural right to live and thrive there, so the poets belong in the presence of the king-- and he ought to maintain them generously as adornments of his court.

The commentators tend to maintain that this ghazal was composed for a mushairah at which the King was present, and that would certainly seem to be possible. But I don't know if it's really true or not. Arshi, who usually provides us any relevant historical information, has nothing to say about this verse. Given the commentators' 'natural poetry' bias and the fact that none of them presents any evidence, I'm keeping an open mind on the question. Ghalib might, after all, have meant simply to show the ghazal to the King informally.