December 06, 2020
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Reading Mirza Ghalib In Times Of Terror

Reading Mirza Ghalib In Times Of Terror
outlookindia.com
1970-01-01T05:30:00+0530


Photo Courtesy: Frances Pritchett

Writing in the DNA, Iftikhar Gilani says that in its efforts to make a “watertight case” against the the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), Maharashtra police is citing such "evidence" as a Ghalib sh'r:

Bordering on the insane and the improbable, the affidavits are a testimony to the fact that the police have been plain lazy while preparing against SIMI. Of the several affidavits — filed in court asking for the ban on the group to continue — accessed by DNA, one by inspector Shivajirao Tambare of Vijapur Naka, Solapur, cites a Ghalib verse — as part of evidence — to show how dangerous SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) is.

Mauje khoon ser se guzer hi kiyon na jay, Aastane yaar se uth jaein kaya! A loosely translated Marathi version in the affidavit concludes that these lines speak of bloodshed and animosity. [Read on: Mirza Ghalib is fanning hate feelings: Cops' theory]

First, a rough literal translation of the verse:

Even if a wave of blood were to pass over my head
It's not as if I would get up from the beloved's doorsill

The DNA story does well to point out the "positive meaning" of these lines by quoting Khalid Mehmood, the head of Jamia Millia Islamia’s Urdu department, and irrespective of the validity of the rest of the evidence, inspector Shivajirao Tambare of Vijapur Naka, Solapur, along with his other colleagues in Maharashtra Police, would perhaps do well to book-mark the world's best resource on Ghalib* which could come in handy during their other investigations as well. 

Here, Professor Frances Pritchett quotes Bekhud Dihlavi while explaining the verse:

By 'the wave of blood', here trouble and suffering is meant. He says, no matter how much trouble may come upon me, I'm now fixed here on the beloved's doorsill; and I've made up my mind to it. So I wouldn't at all get up get up from here-- now I'll get up only when I've died. (84) 

And why get so worked up over mere "waves of blood"? As Professor Pritchett points out:

Ghalib has other 'wave of blood' verses: see {132,5} and {176,6}. Streams of blood too (see {111,6} for a juu-e ;xuu;N ) are nothing remarkable in the ghazal world, and a whole ocean of blood, ik qulzum-e ;xuu;N , confronts the lover in the far more somber and powerful {208,12}.

*(disclosures apply)

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