Idea vs. Words

Read the lyrics posted at the following location –

I was wondering about this piece. The idea it conveys is simply beautiful and very catchy. But there was something about the words, which either I do not understand because of very limited knowledge of Urdu or has got the deficiencies I am thinking of.

The idea of the shers is to show the progress that is happening in the relationship, but do the words really make sense?

What is the difference between jaan, jaan-e-jaan and jaan-e-jaana? What does Gul-badaana mean if it is anything other than Gul-badan?

And then there are some logical problems too, which I would keep aside for the moment, since logic could vary from person to person and are not as important here as the words are.

As I said it could just be my lack of knowledge in Urdu. Could somebody enlighten if the words do really mean something?


7 thoughts on “Idea vs. Words

  1. I think the first two sher’s take a poetic license, and as you seem to imply, it makes for aesthetic appeal. I don’t think the words are necessarily in the order of ‘good, better, best’, although I am no Urdu expert either. What are the ‘logical problems’ in the verse?

  2. Logical Problem… well πŸ™‚

    All these words “dil” “dilruba” and “dil ke mehmaan” make sense. But of all these, “mehmaan” is an outsider. If someone has become dil itself, then becoming “mehmaan” later certainly does not make sense.

    But yes – if the order is not of “good”, “better”, “best”, it does not matter.

    Then again – if the order is not that of “good”, “better”, “best”, the whole beauty of the Ghazal is lost!

    Ok – do not curse me for disecting a poetry like this – but I could help wondering πŸ˜€

  3. Far from cursing you, I believe art can very well be dissected, just like any other physical or mental creation of man. And you have correctly pointed out that ‘dil ke mehmaan’ flaw. But a desire for aesthetic appeal combined with the imposition of the ghazal structure, with the necessary radiif, perhaps limited the poet’s options.

    BTW, there’s an excellent book on Urdu poetry and its critics, and particularly ghazals and their history, written by an American scholar called Frances Pritchett, available at:
    It’s called ‘Nets of Awareness’.

  4. Correctly said vaishnav! In my opinion too, any art can be dissected and analysed. Because this analysis shows about the impact of artwork, why the imapact is there!
    Below is the analysis of the ghazal, as little as I understood it. Hey jaya, now you dont curse me πŸ˜‰
    May be this dissection may solve logical flaw of jaya πŸ™‚

    the theme of the ghazal is to show the slow deepening of the love. And the words are chosen so that, they can give sentimental impression of this deepening.
    jaan, jaan-e-jaan, jaan-e-jaana, you can see that words are being added and broadened(jaan to jaana). This feels like gravity of the word “jaan” deepening. the same thing is there in second lyrics. In third one too, the samething is there. This impact is effective, when three words are similar in meaning. The logic of jaya is too far fetched and it would not be graspable when reading in flow.

    In 4th one, it shows the closeness of relationship, so there, it is the word, which gives effect, instead of flow.

    I hope, you didn’t sleep in between my dissection of the beautiful ghazal πŸ™‚

  5. I think this is not a very good ghazal. The poet did not care for the meaning but just for the effect. He was trapped into keeping the rhythm of the ghazal. This is a common problem in metered verses.
    Your mind is forcing you to find logic in the ghazal because you are too used to to the meaningful ghazals. This ghazal is not one of those.
    I hope you get what I’m trying to say, I’m not very good at explaining things, but what I’m trying to say is that what you are doing is like making sense of a brittany spears song when she is no bob dylan.

  6. Speaking of idea vs words. I have a qwwali by sabri brothers (paisa bolta hai). before starting the qwwali the singer sings a short poem >
    samaj samaj ke samaj ko samjho,
    samaj samajhna bhi ek samaj hai.
    samaj samaj ke jo na samjhe,
    meri samaj mein wo na samaj hai.

    After reciting it he says that one shouldn’t go into the depth of this poem but just look at the words.
    Meaning that the poem is quite meaningless but has an effect on mind when read without giving much thought.

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