Ghazal 204, Verse 9


rag-o-pai me;N jab utre zahr-e ;Gam tab dekhiye kyaa ho
abhii to tal;xii-e kaam-o-dahan kii aazmaa))ish hai

1) when in vein and nerve the poison of grief would descend, then you'll see what it would be
2) {right now / as yet}, well, it's a test of bitterness of palate/desire and mouth


tal;xii : 'Bitterness; pungency; acrimony, malice, rancour'. (Platts p.334)


kaam : '(Persian) Desire, wish; design, intention; --the palate'. (Platts p.804)


That is, if the beginning of passion is so harsh, then no telling what its outcome will be. (231)

== Nazm page 231

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, at the time when the poison of passion would descend into veins and nerves, then the outcome of it will be worth seeing. Right now is the beginning of passion-- from its bitterness only the taste of the mouth has become sour. A test of palate and mouth is taking place; the outcome is to be very harsh. (288)

Bekhud Mohani:

Mir Taqi Mir says,

ibtidaa-e ((ishq hai rotaa hai kyaa
aage aage dekhiye hotaa hai kyaa

[it's the beginning of passion-- why do you weep?!
at various points ahead, let's see what happens]. (408)


TESTING: {4,4}

'Bitterness of palate and mouth' could well be the first effect of swallowing a deadly poison. But it could also describe bitter, harsh speech as it emerges from the palate and mouth. Speech of the beloved, that torments the lover? The lover's own speech, as he expresses his anguish, or even reproaches the beloved? A quarrel, in which mutually hurtful things are said? As so often, it's left for us to decide. Although here kaam means 'palate', can we fail to register its more common meaning of 'desire'? (For more on kaam see {22,6}.)

This one always reminds me of Momin's verse,

kis ko hai .zauq-e tal;x-kaamii lek
jang bin kuchh mazaa nahii;N hotaa

[who has a taste for bitter-throatedness? but
without warfare, there's no relish/pleasure]

I also always think of Shiva's title of niil-ka;N;Th , 'blue-throated one', which he earned when he undertook to save the universe from the deadly poison churned up from the Ocean of Milk, at the beginning of this world-age. He swallowed the poison, and was able to absorb it; but not before it had turned his throat a deep blue-black forever. But I hasten to say that this is just my association; I know of no evidence that it would have been part of Ghalib's metaphorical universe.