Na aaii satwt-e-qatil bhi mane’, mere naloN ko
Ferocity of my qatil couldn’t stop my cries (of protest)
Liya dantoN meiN jo tinka, hua resha ney-staN ka
The twig that I clinched in my teeth, became a flute-forest
satvat=force of personality, ferocity mane’=preventer nala=shriek, moaning daNtoN meiN tinka lena= an idiom, become unvoiced resha = fiber, twig resha and tinka means same but Ghalib never uses the same word twice in the same verse Ney=flute, ney-sitaN or ney-staN=where bamboo(flutes) grow, a bamboo forest or a flute forest
This is the 3rd verse of Ghalib’s 10th ghazal. The second verse is little complicated and I have not included. Those who want to learn this verse, please send an email or call me.
Meaning: In this verse it is necessary to understand the word “ney-staN”. Ney means a flute. In Urdu, if we add suffixes such as abad, bar, khana, zar, shan. sitan, kadah, gah or lakh to a noun, it becomes a noun denoting a place; e.g. Ahemed-abad, sharab-khana, gul-zar, gul-shan, mai-kadah, eid-gah etc. In this verse Ghalib has used word
ney-staN which is ney+staN, meaning a place where flute or bamboo grows: a flute forest or a bamboo forest. Please keep it in mind that when wind blows through a bamboo forest, it makes a fiery sound; because, each bamboo-stick vibrates and acts as a fiber string of an instrument. Second thing to keep in mind is that if a person holds a fiber or twig in his teeth he can’t talk; yet the breath from nostrils act like a bellows and make the fiber or twig vibrate. In Urdu, the idiom “clinch a twig in teeth” means to become quiet. Ghalib says, “I was overwhelmed by the personality of my slayer; so, I clinched a fiber/twig in my teeth (became quite). However, the fiber/twig became a flute-forest and continued my shrieks and my protests; thus, my slayer’s ferocity failed in silencing me”
Underlying meaning: Warn oppressors and killers that even if they succeed in silencing the protests of oppressed, silence of the oppressed will become a deafening protest. Even if oppressors’ murder weapons remain silent, the blood on their sleeves will shriek aloud.
Ghalib was not only a poet but his imaginations and observations shows that he had a scientific mind. This quality reflects in many of his verses such as this one.
Finer aspects of this verse: In this verse of Ghalib has given another proof of his mastery over the art of imagination, exaggeration, use of metaphors, and use of hyperbole. Ghalib only wants to say that oppressed person’s silence also becomes a drum of protest; but, admire in what a clever way he weaves a net of allegoric words and then inlay it with a pearl of an idiom, to say the same thing. This mastery makes his verses a joy for ever.
What a deep thought! Though a person becomes silent when he clutches a fiber/twig in his teeth, the breath from his nostrils acts like bellows and makes the twig/fiber to vibrate and create a wailing tune on behalf of the oppressed.
Even a twig/fiber will become a flute-forest and rush to help the oppressed. However, it is necessary for the oppressed to protest first then expect the world to join him. In this verse, Ghalib used the word “Qatil”-slayer as a metaphor for his diva beloved
Aasi’s opinion:“Twig became a fiber of a bamboo forest” means it created hundreds of flutes.