Ghazal 352x, Verse 5


paa-mard-e yak-andaaz nahii;N qaamat-e hastii
:taaqat agar i((jaaz kare tuhmat-e ;xam baa;Ndh

1) it is not resolute/strong with a single measurement, the stature of existence
2) if strength would weaken/disappoint you, 'bind on' [to it the accusation of] a 'crooked slander'


paa-mardii : 'Strength; resolution; valour'. (Platts p.213)


andaaz : 'Measure, measurement; quantity; weighing, weight; degree, amount; valuing, valuation, value; rough estimate; conjecture, guess; proportion, symmetry; elegance, grace; mode, manner, style, fashion, pattern; carriage, bearing, gait'. (Platts p.90)


qaamat : 'Stature, shape, form, figure, body; a man's height (of)'. (Platts p.787)


i((jaaz : 'Disappointment; wonder, astonishment, amazement, surprise, a miracle'. (Platts p.60)


tuhmat : 'Evil opinion; suspicion (of guilt); allegation; false accusation, falsely charging one with a crime, aspersion, detraction, calumny, slander'. (Platts p.348)


;xam : 'Curved, twisted, bent, crooked, bowed; curled; coiled; — a bend, curve, crook; a curl, knot, ringlet; a coil, fold, ply; crookedness, curvature'. (Platts p.493)


paa-mard = firm-tempered, courageous. i((jaaz = To weaken; to do some action through which people would habitually be weak....

The meaning of the verse is that the stature of existence doesn't remain on a single level; where strength has given out, it bends/bows. The gist is that everything that today is in the state of existence will tomorrow be in the state of corruption. A person too-- if today he is an arrow, then tomorrow he is a bow; if today a lion among men, then tomorrow a fox; if today he is strong, tomorrow he is thin and frail. The gist is that everything comes from strength and power; when strength does not remain, then nothing remains. What we construe as bentness of stature, is in reality the exhaustion and brokenness of strength.

== Zamin, p. 310

Gyan Chand:

paa-mard = helper. paa-mardii = courage and bravery. Existence is an entirely weak thing. The stature of existence cannot give any kind of help; it cannot show any kind of courage; it cannot do any deed. If a great deal of strength would arise within you, as if a miracle would have happened, then take upon your head the blame/accusation of bentness of stature. That is, in life, stature can do no other action/intrntion toward a person. Even if the person bends/bows, then, so to speak, it made a great show of royal power. So to speak, the height of human nature is a bentness of stature, which is the sign of lack of strength. In the verse he has established life as entirely trifling and weak.

== Gyan Chand, p. 319



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

Asi doesn't comment on this verse; both Zamin and Gyan Chand make heavy weather of it.

In order to make sense of the verse, I will make a prediction or guess. I guess or predict that tuhmat-e ;xam , a 'crooked charge', was an idiomatic expression in Persian meaning something like a 'false accusation' or a 'malicious slander'. If there was such an expression, then at once the verse becomes Ghalibian, and resembles a number of others in which he has played with both the idiomatic and the literal meanings of an expression. For the expression is placed in the crucial punch-word position, and it would work well on both an idiomatic level ('Accuse it of showing unwarranted treachery and deceit!') and a literal level ('Accuse it of making you weak and bent!').

I'm going to try to find out whether or not there really was such an idiom, but in any case Ghalib surely had something like that in mind. There's doesn't seem to be any other way to make sense of the verse.

By far the best verse about bentness of stature and weakness in old age: Mir's M{17,8}.