Saturday 15 December 2012

Ghalib ghazal 83

'Ind is an Eden with no Adam in it'

  That my Death deflower me in a garden strange
Shunned orphans', All-father, Shame arrange
& that my blush for Thee never quite fade
Coiff coquette curls in ambuscade


mujh ko diyaar-e ;Gair me;N maaraa va:tan se duur
rakh lii mire ;xudaa ne mirii bekasii kii sharm
1) [you/they/he/she/it] killed me in an alien/other country/region, far from the homeland
2) my Lord upheld the pride/shame of my helplessness/friendlessness
vuh ḥalqah'hā-e zulf kamīñ meñ haiñ yā ḳhudā
rakh lījo mere daʿv;ā-e vā-rastagī ki sharm
1) those circles of curls are in ambush, oh Lord--
2) may one uphold the honor/shame of my claim of liberation

Prof Pritchett's opens her comments on this ghazal as follows-

'The first line sounds entirely like a complaint or lament. Some person or persons or thing or things-- which remain, thanks to the grammar of the ergative, entirely unspecified-- killed me, and added insult to injury by killing me in a foreign land, far from my homeland. What could be a more heartless deed? What could be a sadder fate? The dead lover himself seems to lament it from beyond the grave; for more examples of the dead-lover-speaks situation, see {57,1}.'

My reading differs by placing the poet in Ibn Arabi's barzakh which is the proper place for 'khayal'. 
Turning to the second couplet, Prof. Pritchett says- 'This is a verse in which those who maintain that the beloved can always be taken as God find the going somewhat awkward. Clearly the lover is asking God for help with the beloved; it's hard to make sense of the verse in any other way. It would really be an extraordinary casuistry that could make the lover ask God to help the lover escape His own curly tresses.'
As a matter of fact, no such infirmity obtains. Translate 'curly tresses' as prosopa and the conceit is one, if not Petrarch, then Barlaam of Calabria would have been familiar with. In any case, it is only by the blessing of the beloved that one ever finds her lips rather than falling into the Babylonian well of her dimples or getting tied up in knots by her uncoiffed hair.
We don't have to say Ghalib was 'vataniya' rather than 'Islam pasand' because, for the purpose of this ghazal, he presents as already dead and in barzakh, that eroding isthmus or bi-directional limit of both 'vatan' and 'Islam'.

Farsi doesn't have gender so I suppose the gender driven 'split egrativity' in Ghalib's rekhta makes a particular point- one connected with his return from the East.
The Monist meaning, it seems to me is cast in decidedly 'Purabi' dress.

1 comment:

Sanjay K said...

Slain far from my countrymen in an alien place
My Lord saved my forsakenness from Disgrace
The ringlets of the coquette are spread so artfully to snare
Lord, this dishonor, my Salvation, Thou alone can spare.