Ghariyal deyo nikal niThe only gharial I knew about is an endangered crocodile-like reptile. Maybe the return of the piya (beloved) was creating too many complications and the poet wanted to set the crocodiles loose on him. Or maybe there was some deep Sufi symbolism involved.
As it turns out, Bulla was not a sociopath and there is no mysticism involved. The ghariyal in this case actually means the village watchman who beats his gong to mark the passing of the hours. The poet wants him sacked so that her (the poem is written in a feminine voice) reunion with her lover is not cut short by the coming of the morning. As one translator renders it:
Sack the gongmanAn idea right after my heart. Let us sack all watchmen, throw away all alarm clocks, shut down all NTP servers, and give ourselves over to love.
My love has come home today.
He strikes the gong time and again
And shortens my night of dance and song
If he were to listen to me,
He would throw away the gong
Sack the gongman
But how come reptiles and watchmen have similar sounding names? The reptile part is easy. Earthen pots are called 'ghara' in many of the languages of the subcontinent, and the male gharial has a snout which resembles such a pot. About the watchman I can only guess. Maybe gharas with holes were used in water clocks, giving the name ghari to clocks in general, in turn leading to the person whose duty it was to announce the time being called a ghariyal.
What do you think?