Ghazal 321x, Verse 6


sar par mire vabaal-e hazaar aarzuu rahaa
yaa rab mai;N kis ;Gariib kaa ba;xt-e ramiidah huu;N

1) on my head remained the burden/guilt of a thousand longings
2) oh Lord, of what poor one am I the fled-in-terror fortune?


vabaal : 'Unwholesome; burdensome; painful, vexatious; — s.m. An unhealthy climate or atmosphere; — anything painful or distressing; bane, pest, plague; — a crime, sin, fault; — punishment (for a crime); divine vengeance; curse; misfortune; ruin'. (Platts p.1178)


ramiidan : 'To be afraid, terrified, seized with horror; to be disturbed, agitated; to fly in terror, to shun from aversion'. (Steingass p.587)


The misery of thousands of longings and thousands of yearnings is upon my neck. Oh my Lord, after all of what poor one am I the fled-in-terror fortune, that longings have been loaded onto my head to such an extent? It's clear that on the head of the fled-in-terror fortune too will be a crowd and misery of thousands of longings.

== Asi, p. 174


Fortune can 'sleep', but it cannot leave the owner of the fortune and run off. It is with him from the moment of birth until death; thus the construction ba;xt-e ramiidah is a poetic absurdity.

== Zamin, p. 255

Gyan Chand:

A poor person has a thousand longings that stay with him, but his fortune runs off far from him, because it cannot bear the burden of so many longings. Just this is my condition. On my head is a burden of thousands of longings.

== Gyan Chand, p. 282



For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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

It's well established in the ghazal world that blood-guilt remains 'on the head' (or 'on the neck') of the murderer (as in {64,6}). Even if the murderer runs away, he carries the blood-guilt with him. Some poor wretch had a criminal fortune-- a fortune that cruelly killed off a thousand of that person's longings (by denying them the chance to be fulfilled). Then the murderer, panicked by what he had done, fled in terror.

Now the speaker asks himself, rhetorically, whether he himself is not some such fleeing, murderous fortune-- since on his head he feels the guilt of a thousand dead longings. These longings may have been beaten down, or suffocated, or simply starved of all hope; however it happened, they're all dead. And the speaker has as much of a burden, as much guilt, on his head as he would if he were a ba;xt-e ramiidah . So perhaps, after all, he is one-- for have his own longings not suffered just as cruelly?