Saturday, 10 November 2012

Ghalib's ghazal 61

N.B. I've revised the first couplet on the basis of an excellent comment received.  I suppose I may add that my version of this Ghazal is based on the notion that the beloved's duty of cruelty is of an amr al taklifi (as opposed to takvini) sort- i.e. it is a supererogatory imitatio dei.

My Ramadan heart trembles at the Sun's dark duty of refulgence
Upon that desert thorn I'd fall as Night's dew of indulgence.

Marvel not that Zuleikha's mirrored chamber's mascara has run!
Again Jacob's eyes argent tain the mise en abyme of his son.

Majnun was still learning two letters of Thy Name
When Night and the Desert ciphered my fame

Charred pieces of my heart for the salt cellar so compete
Death is the elixir makes my undoing complete

The coquette's duty of cruelty of which Thy Devotees sing
Is that Black Sun which shines on the back of every thing

Again Dusk stains the clouds that half-forgotten hue
Of the flower garden afire for parted from you
To bear witness to such coquetry e'en Paradise its Peace barters
Doomsday is the wind winnowing the dust of us martyrs

Ghalib, quarrel not with the Confessor if he collar you by force
Think, how driven was Despair to his hand take recourse?

See Prof. Frances Pritchett's 'desertful of roses' site for Urdu script and detailed commentary.
laraztā hai mirā dil zaḥmat-e mihr-e daraḳhshāñ par
maiñ hūñ vuh qat̤rah-e shabnam kih ho ḳhār-e bayābāñ par

nah chhoṛī ḥaẓrat-e yūsuf ne yāñ bhī ḳhānah-ārāʾī
safedī dīdah-e yaʿqūb kī phirtī hai zindāñ par
fanā-taʿlīm-e dars-e be-ḳhvudī hūñ us zamāne se
kih majnūñ lām alif likhtā thā dīvār-e dabistāñ par

farāġhat kis qadar rahtī mujhe tashvīsh-e marham se
baham gar ṣulḥ karte pārah'hā-e dil namak-dāñ par
nahīñ iqlīm-e ulfat meñ koʾī t̤ūmār-e nāz aisā
kih pusht-e chashm se jis ke nah hove muhr ʿunvāñ par
mujhe ab dekh kar abr-e shafaq-ālūdah yād ātā
kih furqat meñ tirī ātish barastī thī gulistāñ par
bah juz parvāz-e shauq-e nāz kyā bāqī rahā hogā
qiyāmat ik havā-e tund hai ḳhāk-e shahīdāñ par
nah laṛ nāṣiḥ se ġhālib kyā huʾā gar us ne shiddat kī
hamārā bhī to āḳhir zor chaltā hai garebāñ par
Plain meaning as given by Pritchett.
My heart trembles at the trouble (or pain) taken by the shining sun
I am that drop of dew/'night-wetness' that would be on a desert thorn
Even/also here, His Excellency Joseph didn't leave off chamber-adorning
The whiteness/whitewash of the gaze of Jacob wanders/travels/spreads on the prison-cell
I am oblivion-{instructing/instructed/writing/copying} in the lesson of self-lessness since that era/time
When Majnun used to write lām alif on the wall of the schoolhouse
To what an extent I would have found freedom from the trouble of salve/ointment!If the pieces of the heart had agreed among themselves over the salt-dish
In the clime/region of love/affection there's no account-book of coquetry such
That there would not be a seal/stamp of/from the back of the eyes on its title page

Now, having seen the sunset-stained cloud, there {comes / would have come (?)} to my memory
That in separation from you, fire used to rain down on the garden
Except for / apart from} the flying/flight of the ardor of/for coquetry, what will have remained permanent/eternal?!

Doomsday is a mere/particular/unique/excellent swift/brisk breeze on the dust of the martyrs OR A mere/single swift/brisk breeze is Doomsday on the dust of the martyrs

Don't quarrel/fight with the Advisor, Ghalib-- if he would use force/severity, so what?
Even/also our power, after all, operates on the collar


Anonymous said...

The meaning of first line is as follows- Zaḥmat-e mihr-e-daraḳhshāñ has the specific meaning of the pain or trouble of the Sun during month of Ramadan when it can not take the nourishment of brightness from from the effulgence of the beloved's face. This causes my heart to tremble because Sun is only bright in my eyes because its radiance is borrowed from the beloved whom it rises every morning so as to search out and look upon. In other words, my heart trembles because this thought which has just crossed my mind (i.e. that during Ramadan, the Sun would not be able to gain the nourishment of her radiance) has caused everything to become dark for me.
The meaning of the second line is- If the world has become dark for me, then it means Night has fallen. But what is the proof of this? The thought comes into my mind-Night which distills dew to feed even the thirsty thorn of the desert cactus. The reason this thought comes into my mind is that I myself am like a thirsty thorn of the desert cactus because I can't see my beloved. In my confusion, I utter the words let me be the dew-drop sacrificed upon the thorn! My plight is so bad, it has moved even me (who am habituated to misery) to take pity upon my own condition and to wish to be a sacrifice upon myself.
Similarly if you look at each of the subsequent lines and consider they are written by a mentally deranged lover, then the meaning becomes clear and beautiful.
What you have written is sheer nonsense. There is neither any beauty nor any sentiment nor are you keeping the rhyme scheme- so I don't know why you have put this here so proudly.

windwheel said...

Excellent point. I totally missed the Ramadan conceit. I've changed the first couplet. Do please point out more such conceits.

Anonymous said...

'My Ramadan heart' is inelegant. I suppose you were thinking of 'my Lenten heart'. In any case that is not what Ghalib has written.
Maybe you can say 'My heart trembles at the Sun's Ramadan duty of refulgence'
The second line also misses the mark.
This meaning which the previous commentator has found is not that obvious. If people want to find it they can do so in any case. After all, Sun may not be able to see the fair coquette because she is a veiled lady or 'night owl' - there is no need to bring Ramadan into it.

windwheel said...

You're right about 'my Ramadan heart' Still, I think the other commentator pointed out a good conceit. I'd never have seen it myself.