Ghazal 217, Verse 5

{217,5}*

zindagii me;N to vuh ma;hfil se u;Thaa dete the
dekhuu;N ab mar ga))e par kaun u;Thaataa hai mujhe

1) in life, she used to eject me from the gathering
2) let me see, now, upon my having died, who ejects/lifts me!

Notes:

Hali:

kaun u;Thaataa hai mujhe has two meanings. One is that in life, you used to eject me from the gathering; now after my dying, let's see who ejects me from there. And the second meaning is that you used to eject me from the gathering, now let's see who lifts up my bier.
==Urdu text: p. 133 in Hali, Yadgar-e Ghalib

Nazm:

For this very reason I gave my life: that now they will not be able to eject me. In the word u;Thaanaa is an iihaam , for they also call the lifting of a dead person's bier u;Thaanaa . (248)

== Nazm page 248

Bekhud Mohani:

[Disagreeing with Nazm:] What a way to describe the meaning of the verse! It's impossible to understand what it means to say that after my dying they won't be able to eject me. (337)

FWP:

SETS == MUSHAIRAH

Here's a quintessential mushairah-verse. The first line is clearly poised to go somewhere, but we can't tell where. Probably there will be a contrast. Now that I'm in the grave, I'm allowed to stay there? Now she, or someone else, will eject me from the grave? Now I'm beyond caring about gatherings? Naturally, we're made to wait, under mushairah performance conditions, as long as is conveniently possible, before we get to hear the second line.

And even then, the second line withholds its 'punch'-word until the last possible moment. Only at the very end of the line do we realize that the real key to the verse is the verb u;Thaanaa , the causative of 'to rise, to get up' [u;Thnaa]. To 'cause someone to get up' is an obvious idiomatic expression for kicking someone out, ejecting someone from wherever he was seated. Thus it works excellently in the first line; it's just what the beloved would enjoy doing to the hapless lover (as in {116,6}).

Only at the end of the second line do we realize, as Hali observes, that u;Thaanaa , to 'lift up, cause to rise', is also what people do to biers, when preparing to carry a dead person to a grave. This secondary meaning is elegantly triggered by the reference to the speaker's 'having died'. Nazm calls this abrupt shift in the meaning of u;Thaanaa as an iihaam , but strictly speaking I don't think it is one, because the poet surely intends both meanings here: the new meaning supplements the old one, but doesn't by any means cancel it out. So here are some possibilities:

=she used to eject me when I was alive; let's see who ejects me now that I'm dead! (that is, no one will: in the grave at least I am secure against ejection; see {115,2})

=she was the one who used to eject me when I was alive; let's see whose turn it is to eject me now that I'm dead (since to be ejected is my obvious and predestined fate)

=she used to eject [u;Thaanaa] me when I was alive; let's see who lifts [u;Thaanaa] my bier now that I'm dead (she's so indifferent and disdainful-- let's see if she even bothers to give me a decent burial)

This verse clearly is one of the 'dead lover speaks' set; for others, see {57,1}.