Ghazal 226, Verse 3


hu))ii yih ka;srat-e ;Gam se talaf kaifiiyat-e shaadii
kih .sub;h-e ((iid mujh ko bad-tar az chaak-e garebaa;N hai

1) from excess/abundance of grief, to such an extent the mood of joy was ruined/wasted!
2) {since / in that} the dawn of Eid to me is {worse than / inferior to} the tearing of the collar


ka;srat : 'Multitude, plenty, abundance, superfluity, excess, glut; plurality, multiplicity'. (Platts p.817)


talaf : 'Perishing; ruin, destruction, loss; profusion, prodigality, waste, consumption, expense; ... talaf honaa , v.n. To perish, to be destroyed or ruined; to be wasted; to meet with a loss, be unfortunate'. (Platts p.334)


All the poets always versify the word yih to mean 'to this extent', but it seems that this is worthy of being renounced. (254)

== Nazm page 254

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'From an excess of grief, to such an extent joy has been erased that in my sight the dawn of Eid is worse even than the tearing of the collar'. (311)

Bekhud Mohani:

[Disagreeing with Nazm:] When all the poets always versify it, and not even any reason for renouncing it is presented, what will we call this [objection] except 'inspiration'? (460)



In Raza's text (Raza 1995 p. 275) this verse appears as the closing-verse of the first of the two ghazals from which Ghalib chose verses for this ghazal in the published divan. The verse's first line in Raza's text is: asad yih far:t-e ;Gam ne kii talaf kaifiyyat-e shaadii . Apparently Ghalib modified the line to remove the pen-name when he decided to place the verse in the middle of the newly framed ghazal for his divan. (And in fact he chose to leave the newly framed divan ghazal without a closing-verse.)

The first line provides a particularly subtle and elegant wordplay between ka;srat as 'excess' or 'glut', and the meaning of talaf as 'profusion' or 'waste' (see the definitions above). The fact that talaf is so remote from the hu))ii that establishes it as part of a verb construction, encourages us to initially take it as a noun, and thus to activate this wordplay.

Why is the dawn of Eid compared to the tearing of the lover's collar? For more examples, and discussion, of this collar-tearing motif, see {17,9}. The dawn first shows itself as a white line along the horizon, like a narrow bright slash in the darkness; thus its shape resembles the neck-opening of a kurta. On this 'crack of dawn' image, see {67,1}. And after that first white slash appears, dawn then opens itself out and widens into day-- the way the mad lover, in his frenzied grief, rips open the neck of his kurta.

When the time comes to put the two lines together, the little kih shows its own versatility. One of the meanings it can have is 'consequently' or 'therefore'; in this 'A causes B' reading, the change from joy to melancholy causes the speaker to prefer tearing his collar over celebrating the joyous festival of Eid. But the kih can also mean merely 'such that' or 'in that', so the second line may only illustrate the situation described in the first one.

Note for grammar fans: What about that obtrusive, oddly-placed yih ? We really have to go with the consensus of the commentators and read it as 'to such an extent', which certainly makes sense as a common idiomatic usage. For if we don't, the first line in prose order has to read: yih kaifiyyat-e shaadii ka;srat-e ;Gam se talaf hu))ii . There are two problems here: the line then offers no antecedent whatsoever for what the yih could refer to; and such an antecedent is needed especially because whatever it is is now over, and thus not immediately apparent. In addition, the line would then be seen to separate the yih almost impossibly far from its real, prose-order position before kaifiyyat .