Ghazal 232, Verse 3

{232,3}*

ne tiir kamaa;N me;N hai nah .saiyaad kamii;N me;N
goshe me;N qafas ke mujhe aaraam bahut hai

1) neither is there an arrow in the quiver, nor a Hunter in ambush
2) in a corner of the cage, I have much ease/comfort

Notes:

The initial nah has been lengthened into ne to suit the meter.

 

aaraam : 'Rest, repose, quiet, ease, relief, comfort, convenience; well-being; health; easy condition or circumstances'. (Platts p.38)

Hali:

That is, the person who is in a state of anonymity and neglect has no enemy or evil-wisher; these evils are associated with fame and esteem and reputation.
==Urdu text: p. 166 in Hali, Yadgar-e Ghalib

Nazm:

That is, compared to that good fortune in which there's danger, deprivation is better. (262)

== Nazm page 262

Bekhud Mohani:

The most praiseworthy thing is that Mirza hasn't set foot on the common highway. Poets ordinarily call imprisonment the greatest difficulty. Mirza, against this view, says-- and the first line demonstrates-- that the imprisoned life has been proved better than the life of freedom. (490)

FWP:

SETS
ARCHERY: {6,2}

The affinity of kamaa;N and kamii;N goes beyond sound effects to their similar roles: in the former deadly arrows lie in wait; in the latter, a deadly hunter. These affinities have also been cleverly emphasized by the semantic and metrical parallelism of the two halves of the first line.

In the second line, the lover is clearly (speaking as) a bird; for other examples when he does so, see {126,5}. Wild birds are hunted in the forest, and the beloved is well-known to be a a Hunter. Once captured, however, the bird has nothing more to fear. He claims to find ease and peace in the cage-- and not just in the cage, but huddled down in a single 'corner' of it, so that he occupies as little space as possible.

The reading of this straightforward-looking verse will depend almost entirely on tone. Is the bird despairing, and speaking with bleak irony? Is he rueful, and pointing out the complexities of his fate? Is he perhaps even peaceful, having come to terms with his destiny? Is he a mystical or Sufistic bird, who can experience infinite expanses of spiritual progress within the smallest physical scope, so that he finds the corner of the cage a very suitable hermitage? Or is he a helpless victim whose spirit has been broken, trembling with fear and glad of a secure refuge like the corner of the cage? Needless to say, Ghalib leaves us to decide all this for ourselves.

For another verse about the desirability (or otherwise) of living in a confined space, see {138,1}. And for another bird-in-cage reflection, see {234,6}.