gul sharm se bah jaa))egaa gulshan me;N ho kar aab saa
burqa(( se gar niklaa kahii;N chahrah tiraa mahtaab saa

1) the rose, from shame, will flow away in the garden, having become water-like
2) if somehow your face would emerge from the burqa, moon-like



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)

S. R. Faruqi:

Among 'rose', 'shame', 'water', 'face', 'moon' there's an affinity. Between 'face' and 'water' the affinity isn't apparent at first glance, but if the meaning of aab as 'glitter' is kept in mind, then the affinity becomes clear. Between 'garden' and 'water' there's also an affinity, but a bit remote. (The garden flourishes by means of water.)

'Your face like the moon' has two meanings: one, 'your face that is like the moon'; the other, 'your face would emerge from the burqah the way the moon emerges from clouds'. Between 'moon' and 'flow' the additional pleasure is that through the effect of the moon, water rises and falls in the sea; thus the result of the coming of the moon-like face is that the flower, which had 'turned to water' with shame [sharm se paanii paanii honaa], flowed away in this flood (that is, in the flood of its very own water).

[See also {1501,5}.]



SRF's point about the moon-face and the tides is excellent. There's also the crucially hovering presence of the common idiomatic expression 'turn to water with shame' [sharm se paanii paanii honaa], though it doesn't actually appear in the verse.

In fact the verse is really based on this idiomatic expression, and its accompanying wordplay. What can we call this lovely form of 'wordplay with an absent word'? It's impossible to read this verse without thinking of sharm se paanii paanii honaa and its perfect relevance, yet the word doesn't appear in the verse (and the rest of the wordplay is wonderful too). Is this a form of 'implication' [kinaayah], in which the non-appearing word is part of what's 'implied'? Another such example: {29,3}.

SRF's explication of the two ways of reading 'like the moon' is an example of what I call 'midpoints'. Here as so often, the difference made by the two readings is not an immense one. But the very fact of undecideability is a pleasure to be savored in itself.

Note for grammar fans: The perfect niklaa is here used colloquially as a subjunctive.