kaash ab burqa(( mu;Nh se u;Thaa de varnah phir kyaa ;haa.sil hai
aa;Nkh mu;Nde par un ne go diidaar ko apne ((aam kiyaa

1) if only now she would lift the veil from her face! --otherwise, then, what's the benefit
2) if, upon the closing of my eyes, she made the sight of herself public



burqa(( : 'A thing with which a woman veils her face, having in it two holes for the eyes (it is a long strip of cotton or other cloth, concealing the whole of the face of the woman wearing it, except the eyes, and reaching nearly to the feet)'. (Platts p.147)



[This verse does not appear in SSA.]

The insha'iyah energy of the verse is cleverly managed. The exclamatory force of the first line carries us along in a rush, as we respond to the general tone of impatient longing. There are many ways the second line could go: we'd guess that it would probably say something about the frustration of loving and serving someone you can't even look at, and craving a beauty that is strictly and deliberately veiled from your gaze.

Only after we're allowed to hear the second line are we able to go back and realize the crucial importance of that little 'now' [ab], and realize that 'then' [phir] is at least as much temporal as logical. The speaker's fear is not that she won't lift her veil, but that she'll lift it too late-- that she'll give to others, even to the general public, what she won't give to him. After he closes his eyes in death, other eyes will be able to see her face-- what a waste, what a doubly horrific state of affairs for the poor yearning, envious, jealous lover to contemplate. And it's just the sort of thing she might do, too, and in his heart he knows it.

The burqa(( as understood by Platts (see the definition above) sounds like an odd combination of a head-covering (since it has eye-holes) and a large shawl ('a long strip of cotton or other cloth'). In the present verse, it sounds like something that would hang down over the face like a curtain, since the speaker wishes for it to be 'lifted up'. It should be kept in mind that terms like burqa(( have had not only different cultural meanings, but also different material forms, at various times and places. The chief interest of the term in the ghazal world is that it's one of the few that unambiguously mark the beloved in that verse as female.

Really, this isn't the world's richest and subtlest verse. It does have the sight imagery in the second line, and the sound echoes of mu;Nh and mu;N;de , but I can see why SRF omitted it.