jab se ;xa:t hai siyaah ;xaal kii thaa;Ng
tab se lip;Tii hai hand chaaro;N daa;Ng

1) from the time when the down [on the cheek] became the den of a black thief/mole,
2) since then, the road has been surrounded in all four directions!



;xaal : 'A black mole on the face (regarded as ornamental); a spot, patch (natural); an artificial spot (made of kaajal , &c., for ornament, or to ward off the effects of the malignant eye)'. (Platts p.485)


thaa;Ng : 'lit. 'The exact spot or place' (of a thing lost or sought); a den of thieves: trace of stolen property; trace, track, clue, information; —stolen property'. (Platts p.346)


lipa;Tnaa : 'To cling (to), adhere (to); to twine or coil (round, -me;N ); to mix (with), unite (with); to harmonize (with); to stick close (to) ..., to follow, pursue; ... —to be embraced; to be wrapped or folded (in), to be encased; to be enclosed, be encased (in); to be rolled up (or made) into a ball; to be involved; to be implicated (in)'. (Platts p.950)


hand : 'Way, road, manner, law, custom, usage'. (Steingass p.1513)


daa;Ng : 'A small denomination of money ...; side or quarter (of a town); a side'. Platts p.503)

S. R. Faruqi:

thaa;Ng = a house of thieves
hand = (rhymes with band ) road
daa;Ng = side

In the verse, several words are uncommon. The word hand , meaning 'road', is Persian, but it's so rare that in many dictionaries it's not found. Then, thaa;Ng and daa;Ng are not obvious words. So just look at the affinities: a mole is black [kaalaa], and kaalaa also means a 'thief'; in this regard he's said that within the down there's a ;xaal -- so to speak, a thief has made a dwelling.

Thieves make their dens in forests, or else they stay hidden behind thickets along the road; in this regard to call the 'down' (keep in mind that it's also called 'the greenery of down' [sabzah-e ;xa:t]) a den of thieves also has a great affinity. With regard to the 'blackness' of the down, siyaah has an affinity with ;xa:t and of course with 'mole'. Then, the expression ;xa:t-o-;xaal (meaning 'form and face') too is part of the idiom. And daa;Ng is a small coin; thus there's an affinity between it and lip;Tii hai .

At the first sight of hand , the thought occurs that this will probably be hind . And one meaning of hind is also 'black' (as in hind-e ;hinaa meaning 'the blackness of mehndi'; and from hind the attention goes toward 'Hindu', which is used in the meanings of both 'thief' and 'watchman'. In short, it's hardly a verse-- it's a wonder-house of affinities. And with playfulness, in addition!

[For discussion of this ghazal as a whole, see {263,9}.]



The down on the beautiful boy's cheek is the thicket, behind which the black mole (i.e., the highway robber) hides in his den, waiting for victims. By now, the road-- apparently hand has been taken as feminine in Urdu-- is surrounded with thickets in every direction, so that the hapless traveller has no chance of escape.

And of course, the verse may also tease the boy about the way his beard is growing in; in the ghazal world, this marks the end of his attractiveness as a beloved.

The verse also deserves credit, as SRF notes, for several 'fresh words' that rarely appear in the ghazal world.

I thank Zahra Sabri for giving me (July 2014) a push in the right interpretive direction, on this one.