Ghazal 326x, Verse 5


hujuum-e saadah-lau;hii punbah-e gosh-e ;hariifaa;N hai
vagarnah ;xvaab kii mu.zmar hai;N afsaane me;N ta((biire;N

1) the rush/onslaught of simplicity/'blankness' is cotton in the ear of the Rivals
2) otherwise, concealed/understood in the story are the interpretations of the dream


saadah-lau;hii : 'Purity of heart, guilelessness, artlessness, simplicity; vacant-mindedness, stupidity'. (Platts p.623)


mu.zmar : 'Concealed; — conceived (in the mind), imagined; understood'. (Platts p.1043)


afsaanah : 'Tale, fiction, story, romance'. (Platts p.62)


ta((biir : 'Interpretation, explanation (particularly of dreams)'. (Platts p.326)

Gyan Chand:

After a dream has been seen, it would be interpreted. People listen to a story, and don't manage to know its interpretation-- although the interpretation is hidden in the account/report of the dream. These hearers of the story of the dream are ignorant/stupid. Their ignorance/stupidity is like cotton in their ears, such that they don't manage to hear the real meaning of the story, or cannot grasp it.

== Gyan Chand, p. 294


DREAMS: {3,3}

For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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

The Rivals' saadah-lau;hii gives them the qualities of an 'unmarked tablet', or a 'blank book'-- thus the simplicity and/or stupidity that the term implies (see the definition above). The plainness or 'whiteness' of the page is thus well suited to act as the ball of (white) cotton that the Rivals stuff into their ears to block out sound.

The Rivals are too much overpowered by this cotton of their own saadah-lau;hii to (want to) hear the 'tale, fiction, story, romance'. Apparently they are too simple-minded to realize what the speaker tells us in the second line: that the meanings or 'interpretations' of the dream are hidden within the very recounting of it. This might sound like an anticipation of Freudian theory, but of course the view of dreams as genuinely revelatory, or even prophetic, goes far back in human history. As obvious examples, in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an there are Joseph's prophetic dreams; in the Persian story tradition there are Zulaikha's, of which Ghalib made use in a number of unpublished verses (on this see {194,5}). Dreams are certainly important, and in need of interpretation.

But whose dreams, and what kind of interpretation? The second line in its radical abstractness gives us no hint at all. The reference to the Rivals in the first line is the only thing that identifies the verse with the lover's situation rather than the general human condition. Perhaps the beloved has had a dream, and has then narrated it to the assembled group of her lovers. Or perhaps the discussion in her salon has turned to the subject of dream interpretation.

Or perhaps the discussion is not about dreams at all, but about stories. The simple-minded Rivals consider a mere 'tale, fiction, story, romance' to be a form of frivolous escapism. They don't realize that such a story contains insights into 'the dream' (the lovers' dream of the beloved? humans' dream of a better world? the mystics' dream of transcendence?). Or perhaps in general, life is a dream-story that we tell to ourselves; the true lover understands this but the Rivals do not. In any case, it's clear that the 'interpretations' of the (singular) dream are plural, open-ended, rather than being unique and definitive.