Ghazal 323x, Verse 2


huu;N dard-mand jabr ho yaa i;xtiyaar ho
gah naalah-e kashiidah gah ashk-e chakiidah huu;N

1) I am afflicted/compassionate, whether there would be compulsion or there would be choice
2) I am sometimes a drawn-out lament, sometimes a dropped tear


dard-mand : 'Afflicted, compassionate, sympathizing'. (Platts p.511)


kashiidah : 'Drawn, pulled, stretched, lengthened, prolonged, long, extended'. (Platts p.838)

Gyan Chand:

Compulsion and choice are two viewpoints. According to the former, a person is compelled in every action-- what nature causes him to do, he does. According to the latter, he has a choice. Ghalib says that whatever may be the truth, I am afflicted. Sometimes I am a drawn-out lament, and sometimes a dripped teardrop. To draw out a lament is related to choice, because a person has the power to weep aloud, or not to do so. To drop tears is related to compulsion, because tears come in an agitated/precipitate way; they are not the result of one's wish.

== Gyan Chand, p. 513



For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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

In English, the 'sufferer' of pain and the 'sympathizer' with (another's) pain are quite distinct; they might occasionally overlap, but in principle they are clearly differentiated. Intriguingly, there's no such differentiation in Urdu: the dard-mand person (see the definition above) may be either 'afflicted', or 'compassionate, sympathizing'-- or a blurred mixture of both, as the sufferer's friends suffer too, in 'sym-pathy'. For a clever use of the possibilities of pain versus sympathy, see {2,1}.

The first line seems complete in itself: the speaker is dard-mand , whether this would be through compulsion or choice. But then, how does the second line fit in? Gyan Chand arranges its parts systematically, though their order is reversed: laments are marks of choice, tears are marks of compulsion (in a rhetorical device called 'collecting and scattering'). This arrangement makes for a perfectly fine reading.

But another reading is also possible. The speaker claims that he is always dard-mand , regardless of any fancy philosophical niceties of compulsion or choice. To him, there's no difference between the two concepts. He sometimes 'is' a lament, and sometimes 'is' a dropped tear-- and there's an end to it. Compare {145,2}, for a similar statement of stubborn unreconciledness, of insistence on one's own unmediated experience.

Note for translation fans: The Persian kashiidah means 'drawn-out' both in the sense of 'prolonged' (see the definition above), and also in the sense that the lament is 'drawn, pulled' out from the lips. A rare bit of convenience for the translator!