Ghazal 209, Verse 4


nahii;N ;zarii((ah-e raa;hat jaraa;hat-e paikaa;N
vuh za;xm-e te;G hai jis ko kih dil-kushaa kahiye

1) the wound of the arrow-head is not a means/cause of ease/relief/pleasure
2) it's that wound of the sword that one should/would call {delightful/'heart-opening'}


raa;hat : 'Quiet, rest, repose, ease, tranquillity, cessation of toil or trouble or inconvenience, freedom from toil or trouble, &c., relief; pleasure'. (Platts p.580)


dil-kushaa : 'Heart-expanding, blissful, delightful, charming, exhilarating'. (Platts p.523)


[See the discussion of this verse in connection with {6,2}.]


'Heart-opening' is that thing through which the narrowness of the heart [tangii-e dil] would be removed, and expansion [inshiraa;h] of temperament would be attained. Here he explains the pleasure of a wound: that the wound of an arrow is not a cause of ease/relief/pleasure. But how to describe the wound of a sword! For from it the heart becomes happy. The sound-resemblance [tajniis] between raa;hat and jaraa;hat has been constructed through the art of eloquence [badii((]. (237)

== Nazm page 237

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, the wound of the head of an arrow can't become the cause of expansion of temperament. The wound that one ought to call 'heart-opening' is the broad wound of a sword; through it the heart becomes joyous. (293)

Bekhud Mohani:

In a state of happiness the heart opens, and in a state of sorrow it becomes confined. (422)


ARCHERY: {6,2}
SWORD: {1,3}

The first line gives us, as Nazm points out, the flowing and intriguing sound effects of raa;hat jaraa;hat , but it doesn't give us much of a clue about where the verse might be going. We might well expect that the second line would tell us more about the nature of the suffering inflicted by the arrow-head: its wound doesn't give raa;hat , but perhaps it gives something else instead; for an example of this line of thought, see {20,4}.

Instead, the second line introduces us to the wound of the sword, which is to be contrasted to the wound of the arrow in some way-- some way that we can't at all guess until, in proper mushairah-verse style, the last possible moment. Then when we're finally allowed to hear 'heart-opening' [dil-kushaa], it all comes together with a sudden rush of meaning. For the general metaphorical contrast is now clear: the arrow-wound isn't pleasing/satisfying, but the sword-wound is. And at the same moment we realize that if we 'concretize' the metaphors, we've also been given the reason.

For the sword-wound is 'heart-opening' in a literal sense, since it lays the heart open with a broad, deep slash, and thus provides both more of the pleasure of pain (that favorite ghazal paradox), and also more effective access to the 'relief/ease' (and even 'exhilaration') of death. Thus it's superior to the arrow-wound, which makes a 'narrow' hole and thus is unable to 'open' the literal 'narrowness' (metaphorically, the unhappiness) of the heart.

For a close cousin of this verse-- as Ghalib himself points out-- see {6,2}. For a similar use of 'heart-opening', see {4,14x}. On the idiomatically flexible possibilities of kahiye , see {209,1}.