An unpublished verse by Ghalib*

ہواۓ صبح یک عالم گریباں چاکیِ گل ہے
دہانِ زخم پید کر اگر کھاتا ہے غم میرا

ਹਵਾ-ਏ-ਸੁਬਹ ਯਕ- ਆਲਮ ਗਰੇਬਾਂ-ਚਾਕੀ-ਏ ਗੁਲ ਹੈ
ਦਹਾਨ-ਏ ਜ਼ਖਮ ਪੈਦ ਕਰ ਅਗਰ ਖਾਤਾ ਹੈ ਗਮ ਮੇਰਾ

हवा-ए सुब्‌ह यक-`आलम गरेबां-चाकी-ए गुल है
दहान-ए ज़ख़्‌म पैद कर अगर खाता है ग़म मेरा

havā-e ṣubḥ yak-ʿālam garebāñ-chākī-e gul hai
dahān-e zaḳhm paida kar agar khātā hai ġham merā

Meaning
1a) the breeze/desire/affection of the dawn is the {entire / 'one-world'} ripping of the collar of/by the rose
1b) the breeze/desire/affection of the dawn is {entirely / 'one-world'} the ripping of the collar of/by the rose

2) create the mouth of a wound, if you experience/'eat' {my grief / grief over me}

Interpretation

At dawn, people go to take the air. But they don't know the reality of the dawn breeze. At dawn, how many flowers tear open their collars! As if the coming of dawn is an expression for the collar-tearing of flowers. The collar is torn only in some anxiety or distress. In this way the dawn breeze is a scene of pain and distress, of which the breeze-enjoyers are not aware.

The literal meaning of 'sympathizer' [ġham-ḳhvār] is 'grief-eater'. The poet says to his sympathizer, if you want to 'eat' my grief, then create in your body the mouth of a wound, and eat it with that. The poet has taken 'to eat' in its dictionary meaning, and created for it the necessity of a mouth. By 'eating' grief through the mouth of a wound the point is that if you want to understand my grief, then you yourself will have to become extremely sorrowful and a temperament-sharer.

The relationship between the two lines is that from somebody's outward situation, his interior state cannot be guessed. Seeing the dawn, who can understand that it's a sign of grief? By seeing me from the outside, my inner sorrow cannot be guessed.


*
Ghalib originally composed a ghazal of seven verses, of which he chose to include only the first two in his published divan. This is the sixth verse of the original seven-verse ghazal.

Comments

  1. Can you please put up the verses that were published? It would be interesting to see how this verse fits in with the rest.

    We all tend to walk around with masks that disguise the inner self from being seen by others. Sometimes that mask can become so thick, that we ourselves cannot even see who we realy are.

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