Ghazal 320x, Verse 1


kyaa .zu((f me;N ummiid ko dil-tang nikaaluu;N
mai;N ;xaar huu;N aatish me;N chhubuu;N rang nikaaluu;N

1) in weakness, would I bring/throw out hope, distressed?!
2) I am a thorn-- I would lodge/prick in fire, would bring out 'color'


dil-tang : 'Distressed, mournful, sad; — miserly, niggard'. (Platts p.523)


nikaalnaa : 'To pull or draw out; to take out (of, - se ); to extract; to express; to distil; ... — to pick out, select; ... to remove (from, - se ) ... — to drive out, turn out, eject, expel; ... — to bring out or forth, to produce; ... — to work out, solve (a problem, &c.); to accomplish, effect; — to find out, discover; to invent; — to put or bring forth; to give vent to; — to make manifest, to exhibit, display, show, to bring out (a procession); ... — to let out, allow to escape, to utter, give utterance to'. (Platts p.1147)


rang : 'Colour, colouring matter, pigment, paint, dye; colour, tint, hue, complexion; beauty, bloom; expression, countenance, appearance, aspect; fashion, style; character, nature; mood, mode, manner, method; kind, sort; state, condition; ... — a place of public amusement or for dramatic exhibition, theatre, stage; dancing; singing; acting; sport, entertainment, amusement, merriment, pleasure, enjoyment'. (Platts p.601)


That is, what kind of weakness is it, that I would cause hope to be distressed and despairing, and would expel it?! What can be done with this weakness is that I would become a thorn and lodge/prick in fire, which would be a spectacle (color). Here rang means 'show' [svaang].

== Zamin, p. 253

Gyan Chand:

In weakness, there's no hope of color and radiance. The future is colorless. In weakness, why would I allow hope to remain sorrowful? I am so weak that I have become a thorn. If a thorn would lodge/prick in someone's foot, then the color of blood will emerge, and radiance will come upon the thorn. I would lodge/prick in the body of fire, and create color. The meaning of lodging/pricking in fire is that I would begin to burn, and through the flame I would create color. In that too there will be radiance.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 276-277



For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}. See also the overview index.

In the first line, the kyaa opens up the usual possibilities: affirmative exclamation ('How I would...!'), or indignant rhetorical question ('As if I would...!'), or genuine expression of uncertainty ('Would I...?).

In addition, the use of nikaalnaa opens up a wide range of possibilities (see the definition above). How does the speaker think that he might (or might not) treat hope? The possibilities include 'bringing it out' (into fulfilment, to cure its distress), 'throwing it out' (expelling it from the heart, thus causing its distress), 'discovering, inventing it' (as distressed), 'letting it out, uttering it' (by expressing it in words).

As so often, we're left to decide for ourselves the relationship between the two lines. Would the speaker's action in the second line be designed to encourage or entertain hope (with a show of 'color' and spectacle), or to replace hope after its ejection from the heart (with a new 'invention' or 'expression' of vivid spectacle)? Would the speaker's action, piercing himself into fire like a weak, dried-out 'thorn', be a rash, desperate suicide mission, or a radiant mystical apotheosis (as with the Moth entering the candle flame)?

Compare the use of nikalnaa , in {219,1}.