Ghazal 211, Verse 6x


sunbulii-;xvaa;N hai bah ;zauq-e taar-e gesuu-e daraaz
naalah-e zanjiir-e majnuu;N rishtah-daar-e na;Gmah hai

1) it is a 'sunbuli'-singer, with the relish/taste of/for the strands/'strings' of long curls/ringlets
2) the lament of the chains of Majnun is a relation/'string-possessor' of melody


sunbul : 'A plant of sweet odour, spikenard (to which the Persians compare the locks of a mistress); — the hyacinth; maiden-hair


;xvaan : 'Reading, reciting, singing, chanting; — reader, reciter; chanter, &c. (used in comp.)'. (Platts p.495)


rishtah : 'Thread, string, line; series; connexion, relationship, kin; relation by blood or marriage; alliance, affinity; ... — rishtah-daar , Relation, kinsman; a dependent'. (Platts p.593)


sunbulii and ((amal-e gesuu are the names, in music, of two voices or two mouths. And sunbul is also used as a simile for gesuu . The idea of the verse is based on this verbal wordplay. He says that the sound of Majnun's chains is , so to speak, a relation of melody; that is, it mingles with melody and is close to it, because it too is a sunbulii-;xvaan of the memory of the long tresses of the beloved. On the one hand sunbul , gesuu-e sunbulii , zanjiir have a relationship; on the other hand rishtah , taar , na;Gmah , sunbulii have one as well. All these are verbal wordplay-- and that's it [aur bas]. (261)


sunbulii is the name of a raaginii . That is, the lament of Majnun's chains, in memory of the strands/strings of Laila's curls, sings the raga of sunbulii . It is, so to speak, a relation of the melody. sunbulii , :zulf, taar , rishtah are words with a .zil((a . (376)

Gyan Chand:

sunbulii = a musical tune. sunbul-;xvaa;N = a singer of sunbulii . Similarly there is another raga, ((amal gesuu , that according to 'Bahar-e ajam' is the Hindustani raga Dhanasri. Majnun has a taste for the strands of Laila's long hair. The sound that is created by his chains is singing the raga sunbulii . Since Majnun had a taste for gesuu , and sunbulii has a similitude to gesuu , the raga has been called sunbulii . He has called the lament 'a relation of melody'.

Among sunbulii -;xvaan , taar, naalah , na;Gmah there is wordplay; and on the other hand sunbul , taar , gesuu have a relationship of wordplay.

== Gyan Chand, p. 379


CURLS: {14,6}
MADNESS: {14,3}
MUSIC: {10,3}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

On the distinctiveness of this ghazal, see {211,1}.

It's clear enough that the verse offers an enjoyably interlocking system of wordplay, as the commentators carefully explain. Asi then wraps it up somewhat dismissively: sab muraa((aat-e laf:zii hai;N -- aur bas . I love that aur bas ! I'm inclined to agree with him. Even the most elegant tangles of wordplay, if they have hardly any meaning behind them, are low-power work for a poet like Ghalib. (Another such example: {211,7x}.)

Majnun doesn't even spend much time chained up as a madman, in most stories, so even the minimal theme itself seems a bit forced.

For more on 'string' imagery, see {10,12}.