Ghazal 352x, Verse 2


be-kaarii-e tasliim bah har rang chaman hai
gar ;xaak ho guldastah-e .sad naqsh-e qadam baa;Ndh

1) the idleness/unemployment of submission is, in every style/'color', a garden
2) if you/there would be dust, bind up a bouquet of a hundred footprints


be-kaarii : 'The state of being unemployed; want of employment, idleness'. (Platts p.204)


tasliim : 'Surrender, resignation; conceding, acknowledging, granting; assenting to, accepting'. (Platts p.324)


gul-dastah : 'A handful of roses; a bunch of flowers; a nosegay'. (Platts p.911)


If one would be even the dust of the garden, one ought to make the effect/appearance of a bouquet of footprints. Because in dust the color/style of submission is evident. That is, the practice of submission carries in its garment-hem hundreds of excellences. Although outwardly it seems to be useless. The words rang , chaman , guldastah all go together. But be-kaarii is useless [be-kaar] and is padding [;hashv]. It's possible that it might be a scribal error. And chaman honaa too, in the sense in which it has been used, cannot be called Urdu. Though indeed, it can be called Ghalib's special Urdu.

== Asi, p. 206


That is, in every situation the disposition of submission is pleasing and attractive. If one who is habituated to submission and self-sacrifice would even be erased and would turn to dust, then the footprints that fall on his dust will also (like a garden) be attractive.

== Zamin, p. 310

Gyan Chand:

One side of life is to remain active in effort and struggle. Another side is to adopt peace and submission and sit unoccupied/useless. In this verse the second side has been praised. No matter what its outcome might be, it makes life radiant like a garden. If, sitting unoccupied, you would have only dust left in your possession, then make footprints on it so cleverly that it would come to have the style of a garden.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 318-319



For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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

The first line makes a sweeping generalization; it's intriguing because we can't guess how it will be justified. Under mushairah performance conditions, we're of course made to wait in suspense before we're allowed to hear (what we hope will be) an explanation in the second line.

Asi and Zamin read gar ;xaak ho as 'if you would be dust', which creates a fine effect of the extremity of submission; but then it's hard to see how a handful of dust can actively 'bind up' a bouquet of footprints. Gyan Chand reads gar ;xaak ho as 'if there would be dust [in your possession]', which is less striking but offers more scope for the activity of 'binding up' a bouquet.

If the 'idleness, unemployment' of submission is in every way a 'garden', its (apparently, though not necessarily) most extreme product would be a bouquet not of roses but of 'footprints'. Footprints could be said to have something like the shape of roses; they appear on the same dusty ground that is the source of roses. But while roses grow upward in beauty and pride, footprints remain flat and humble, in a perpetual state of 'amazement' (on this see {51,9x}). Even if bound together-- perhaps by walking along, as in {352x,1}-- they can hardly be imagined as other than flat on the ground. So the small 'bouquet' they would make could itself be enjoyed only at ground level. Submission would thus create a mystical garden, shaped by the paradoxical stages of 'walking' on the Sufistic 'paths'.