Ghazal 231, Verse 9

{231,9}

;Gaalib gar us safar me;N mujhe saath le chale;N
;haj kaa ;savaab na;zr karuu;Ngaa ;hu.zuur kii

1) Ghalib, if he would take me along on that journey
2) I will make the merit of the Haj an offering to His Majesty [Bahadur Shah]

Notes:

na;zr : 'A vow; an offering, anything offered or dedicated; a gift or present (from an inferior to a superior); a fee paid to the State or to its representative on succeeding to an office or to property'. (Platts p.1128)

Hali:

From this verse Mirza's complete mischievousness of temperment is manifest.... On the one hand, so much eagerness for the trip to do the Haj; and on the other hand, such lack of respect for the merit of the Haj!
==Urdu text: pp. 165-66 in Hali, Yadgar-e Ghalib

Nazm:

An extraordinary grammatical enchantment in the Urdu language is that where the author has used kii , in the idiom they also say ke .... In this verse to say kii is contrary to idiom. [He argues the point, with examples.] (262)

== Nazm page 262

Bekhud Mohani:

The poet has expressed his meaning with great beauty. He says that if the King would take me with him on his journey for the Haj, than I will make the merit of the Haj an offering to him. It's obvious that after hearing this verse, the effect on the addressee ought to be the one that is desired. (489)

Arshi:

[There were reports in December 1851 that the king was sick, and weary of his life, and wanted to go on the Haj. This ghazal was probably written at that time.] (325)

FWP:

SETS == CATCH-22

As Hali points out, to express an earnest desire to go to Mecca for the Haj ought to be a sign of piety and devotion. But at the same time, to claim that the desire is so ardent that one would sacrifice the merit of the journey in order to make the journey, defeats the purpose. It sets up a kind of 'catch-22' situation-- the speaker wants to do something that would bring him religious merit, so badly that in order to get to do it he'll give up the religious merit that it would bring him.

The only possible conclusion is that Ghalib is being flippant, or 'mischievous'. The only way out of the 'catch-22' is to assume that Ghalib doesn't take the whole trip seriously at all: either he is just being witty and doesn't really care about going, or else perhaps he is hinting that he would enjoy going, but rather for the pleasures of travel and tourism than for the official religious purpose of the pilgrimage.