Ghazal 208, Verse 7


phir dekhiye andaaz-e gul-afshaanii-e guftaar
rakh de ko))ii paimaanah-e .sahbaa mire aage

1) then look at the style of rose-scattering of speech--
2) let someone place the flagon of wine before me!



If wine would come before him, then the mind would open (236)

== Nazm page 236

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, then please look at how flowers rain down from my tongue-- let someone fill a flagon and a glass [gilaas] with wine. It is said that Mirza Sahib always used to drink in the evenings, and at night, in a state of elevation, used to say extraordinary and enjoyable things. (293)

Bekhud Mohani:

When the people of the gathering have praised Mirza's speech, then in response he says, 'As yet, it's hardly as if you gentlemen have heard my conversation! If someone will please just place a glass of wine before me, then you would indeed learn that I'm not speaking, but rather flowers are raining from my mouth'. (418)


SPEAKING: {14,4}
WINE: {49,1}

Through a baroque set of i.zaafat connections, the first line calls attention to a description of verbal powers-- literally, to 'the style of rose-scattering of speech'. It's a convoluted enough metaphor to get us thinking, and we wait with interest to see what the second line will offer. Perhaps something involving roses, to extend or twist the metaphor? Perhaps something further about the style of the speech, or its content, or its audience? Under mushairah performance conditions, the wait is of course made as long as possible.

Then when we finally get to hear the second line, in true mushairah-verse style, it doesn't tell us much until at the last possible moment the punch-word, 'wine', finally appears. Then suddenly we get it, all at once; and like a true mushairah-verse, it exhausts itself in that moment of enjoyment, the moment when it 'clicks'.

Part of that moment of enjoyment is our going back in our minds to revisit-- and now to revise-- the first line. For at first we hardly notice the innocuous-looking little introductory word phir , 'then'. And we're right to pass over it lightly, just as we so often do in English. For phir more often than not means something vague and mild, and quite variable. The divan is full of examples; I will choose a few line-introducing ones. In {49,1}, it means 'again'. In {51,1}, it seems to mean something vaguely like 'nevertheless'. In {162,4}, it seems to be a sort of 'then' of the 'if-then' kind. In {181,1}, it's hard to tell whether it's a mild 'again' or a mild temporal 'then'. In short, we can't tell in advance what kind of a meaning it will have, and we know that as an introductory word it's often simply just a speech-introducer, something so bland as to be almost untranslatable. (Think how many utterances in English begin with an almost meaningless 'well then' or 'all right then' or 'so'.)

But when we hear the word 'wine' and suddenly 'get' the whole verse, we realize that in fact it's an extremely strong, meaningful phir . It should really be italicized-- 'then you'll see!'. For it represents an unusual case of both both temporal sequence (first this, then that) and logical causation (this, then as a result that), powerfully converging. In both these senses, it insists that the second line must be read first, and the first line only afterwards.

The way the verse misleads us into initially passing lightly over the phir creates almost a textbook case of an iihaam : a word that the poet has led us to think he has used in a common way, but that he has actually used in an uncommon way. The process of going back and reframing (and deepening) our understanding, in our heads, on the fly, is one of the great delights of a mushairah verse.

Conspicuously, the verse doesn't specify that the wine must actually be drunk in order for the effect to occur: the speaker asks only for the wine-flagon to be set before him. Perhaps the mere sight of it will be intoxicating; perhaps its mere symbolic presence will move him to flights of rose-scattering eloquence. The obvious thematic cousin of this verse is {208,13}.

Compare Mir's M{1722,1}, in which wine-drinking has similarly desirable effects.