Ghazal 219, Verse 5

{219,5}*

magar likhvaa))e ko))ii us ko ;xa:t to ham se likhvaa))e
hu))ii .sub;h aur ghar se kaan par rakh kar qalam nikle

1) perhaps/but if someone would cause a letter to be written to her, then he would/should cause it to be written by us!
2) dawn came-- and from the house, having tucked a pen behind our ear, we emerged

Notes:

Nazm:

It's as if the whole city would have letters and messages to send her, and he's seeking to learn what things they write. (250)

== Nazm page 250

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, our beloved is acquainted with all the world. There's much correspondence between her and a number of people. There's no better scheme for learning the subjects of the letters than that we would do letter-writing, and keep finding out everyone's heartfelt desires. (307)

Bekhud Mohani:

Another aspect can be that we passionately love writing you letters-- we write on our own behalf, and we also write at the dictation of others. On another occasion he has said just the same thing: {180,3}. (451)

FWP:

SETS == MAGAR
WRITING: {7,3}

Here is a verse of implication if there ever was one. The lover describes himself as setting out every day at dawn, pen tucked behind his ear, on the chance that someone would employ him as a scribe or letter-writer when writing to the beloved. It's probably an off-chance, but we don't know that from the verse itself-- we just deduce it. And we deduce or assume a good many more things as well, for if we didn't, the verse would make very little sense at all.

Needless to say, in practical terms the lover's project doesn't make much sense. Professional scribes were usually used by illiterate people, who tended to be from the lower classes; it's hard to believe that the Rivals and Others who might be writing to the beloved would be drawn from among such people. And among the upper classes, why indeed would any of the lover's social equals, and/or competitors for the beloved's favor, hire him to write their letters? But perhaps the impracticalness, or even sheer craziness, of the whole project, is a large part of what we are supposed to notice about it. One implication of the verse is surely the lover's radically mad behavior.

The lover's starting out at the crack of dawn gives us a strong hint of madness in itself: surely nobody is wandering around in the bazaar looking for a letter-writer at that hour? One possible implication of 'dawn came' is that the lover has been up all night, restless and unable to sleep, so that he's more than ready for an excuse to leave the house the moment there's light enough.

But surely there's some method in his madness? Even if his letter-writing project doesn't have much chance of succeeding, surely he has some reason for undertaking it? All such reasons must be supplied by us, with absolutely no help from the verse itself. Here are some possible motives for the lover's scheme:

=because the lover wants to know what other people are writing to her

=because the lover plans to sneakily subvert the letters of others by modifying them in ways that won't please her

=because she refuses to read the lover's own letters, and he's desperate for even marginal or vicarious communication

=because the lover's obsession has taken over his life completely, and this is an excuse to think constantly of her

=because the lover has wrecked his fortunes so completely in his mad passion for her that he has nothing left to live on and must seek some new, humble line of work (compare {10,7})

Probably a bit more thought would give rise to a few more possibilities. A verse that speaks of peculiar behavior, and gives us no plausible reasons for it, turns out to be a surprisingly piquant source of speculative enjoyment.