Ghazal 208, Verse 14

{208,14}

ham-peshah-o-ham-mashrab-o-ham-raaz hai meraa
;Gaalib ko buraa kyuu;N kaho achchhaa mire aage

1) he's a profession-sharer and drink-sharer and secret-sharer of mine--

2a) why would you vilify/'badmouth' Ghalib? He's fine/'good', in my view!
2b) why would you vilify/'badmouth' Ghalib? Indeed-- in my presence!

Notes:

peshah : ''That which is followed'; vocation, profession, craft, trade, business; custom, habit, practice; art, skill'. (Platts p.300)

 

buraa kahnaa : 'To speak ill (of), to pronounce or call (one) bad, evil, wicked, &c.; to vilify, abuse'. (Platts p.143)

Nazm:

Clearly the author's meaning seems to be that he has addressed the beloved, and she doesn't know that it is Ghalib himself. (236)

== Nazm page 236

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, Ghalib too is a lover like me, and he's my sect-sharer [ham-ma;zhab] as well, and my confidant also. Why do you abuse him? The meaning is that the beloved doesn't as yet recognize Hazrat Ghalib; she's conversing with him of her own accord. He's composed an extraordinarily enjoyable closing-verse. (294)

Bekhud Mohani:

Ghalib is my close companion [ham-rang], my practice-sharer, my secret-sharer. Why do you abuse/'badmouth' Ghalib?-- and then, in front of me! In the achchhaa something of the style of a challenge is also found. (421)

FWP:

SETS == EXCLAMATION; REPETITION
GOOD/BAD: {22,4}

As Bekhud Dihlavi says, this is a truly delightful closing-verse. In the first line, the speaker claims a series of close links with someone-- someone who's his fellow-'practitioner' (probably in a profession or craft), his drinking companion, and his confidant. As usual, we're forced to wait for the second line in order to find out who's being discussed. It might seem that in the case of a closing-verse we wouldn't have much trouble guessing, since we know the poet's pen-name must be incorporated. But under mushairah performance conditions, we'd have no way of knowing (unless the poet dropped us an oral hint) that this was going to be a closing-verse, until we actually heard the pen-name. And the verse is of course careful to save that name for the second line.

The second line is, on the first reading (2a), vigorous in a friend's defense. Why would you vilify or 'talk badly about' Ghalib, the speaker asks with perhaps some indignation. He's fine/good, according to me!

On the second reading (2b), the line assumes a positively belligerent tone. Why would you vilify Ghalib, asks the speaker. Then comes the colloquial achchhaa -- 'oh indeed?', 'is that so?', 'do you have the nerve?', 'we'll see about that!'-- followed by the equally irate 'in my presence!', 'in front of me!'. The next step would no doubt be to demand a retraction, or to invite the abuser to step outside, or something of the sort. This reading is Bekhud Mohani's, and is also proposed by Tahira Naqvi.

On either reading, the indignant tone and exclamatory energy of the verse are a delight. We're also left with an enjoyably lingering aftertaste: the convolutedness of 'Ghalib'-- since the speaker here seems to be the ghazal's lover/poet persona-- defending 'Ghalib', on the grounds that they have so much in common. Or we can imagine Ghalib, in a company of people who don't know him, belligerently (or even drunkenly?) defending himself.