ek chashmak hii chalii jaatii hai gul kii merii or
ya((nii baazaar-e junuu;N me;N jaa))uu;N kuchh saudaa karuu;N

1) only/emphatically a single/particular/unique/excellent wink of the rose goes out/along in my direction
2) that is, I would go into the bazaar of madness, and do some merchandising/madness



chashmak : 'Winking, a wink; looking askance (at), coldness, misunderstanding'. (Platts p.433)


saudaa (Persian): 'Goods, wares; trade, traffic; marketing; purchase, bargain'. (Platts p.695)


saudaa (Arabic): 'The black bile (one of the four humours of the body), atrabilis; melancholy; hypochondria; frenzy, madness, insanity'. (Platts p.695)

S. R. Faruqi:

A flower goes into the bazaar, then it's of course sold. Ghalib has called this 'the greed for gold' [in G{173,8}], and Mir has called it 'the claim of beauty/excellence' [taqaa.zaa-e ;xuubii]:


But here he's saying something entirely new: that when a flower goes into the bazaar and seeks a buyer, then this is not 'the claim of beauty', but rather 'the claim of passion'. That is, passion makes the claim on the flower that if she wants to bring her existence to its proper goal, and arrive at a good conclusion, then she should go into the bazaar of passion and be sold to some connoisseur. Thus the moment the flower opens her eyes, she signals to the speaker: 'I am aware of my destiny, I have to go into the bazaar and be sold. You are living a petty and artificial life-- you come along too, do your own merchandising/madness, seek out some connoisseur.'

With regard to the 'bazaar of madness', saudaa is extremely superb, because its other meaning (madness) too is fully operative.

There can also be the meaning that the flower's signal is in reality a movement of the speaker's mind and heart. That is, having seen the flower, the speaker thinks, 'She has of course to go into the bazaar-- why don't I, like her, do my own merchandising? When a being as beautiful as a flower can come into the bazaar in order to achieve its goal, then I too ought to do likewise.' That is, the flower is not in reality making a signal, but the flower's conclusion is in the view of the speaker. Thus he is construing this as the flower's signal and incitement. For example, we say 'The river's flow is signalling that time doesn't pause'. That is, something from which a conclusion might be drawn, we construe as the source of the conclusion. This is a principle of signals.

Another meaning can be that in the spring season, when the speaker sees that the flowers have bloomed, his madness is awakened. (The intensity of madness in springtime is among the established conventions of the ghazal.) Because of the awakening of his madness, he goes into the bazaar of madness and wants to offer himself on the auction block; for this, he makes the wink of the rose an excuse.

In ek chashmak hii there's also the point that previously too there was sometimes, on the part of the rose (or on his own part), an incitement to madness; but for some reason the speaker was not able to act on this incitement (perhaps wisdom had suppressed it). Because of this failure of the speaker's, the flower looks at him with sarcastic glances, or in the language of its condition, winks at him. If this is the case, then another meaning of chashmak , 'to look askance at', also becomes extremely effective. It's an extraordinarily fine verse.



This is an 'A,B' verse; although the ya((nii seems to offer a forthcoming explanation, it's by no means a very helpful one. Just to start with, we can't even tell whether the 'I would go and do' is (mentally) uttered (?) by the signaling rose or the perceiving lover. So just look at the range of possibilities surrounding that 'wink' of the rose:

=The rose is winking to convey her own intention of going into the bazaar and doing some 'merchandising'.
=The rose is winking to hint to the lover that he should go into the bazaar and do some 'merchandising'.
=The rose is just winking in a general way, or for some other reason, and the lover misinterprets the wink as directed at him.
=The rose isn't really winking at all, and the lover is just imagining things in his madness.

Then, of course, we need to ask what it means to go into the 'bazaar of madness' and do some 'merchandising'. It could be a cynical exploitation of beauty or passion (something that should be beyond the reach of money is being brought down to a lower or cruder level). It could be an expression of helpless victimization (the rose is sold by the cruel flower-seller, the lover is coerced by his passion). Or it could be that the 'bazaar of madness' is no ordinary commercial bazaar, but instead has its own crazy rules that only lovers and beloveds understand. Or of course in a mystical, Sufistic sense, in such a 'bazaar of madness' one might 'sell' one's beauty or passion through complete self-sacrifice, to attain the invaluable state of literal 'self-lessness'.

A further brilliance of baazaar-e junuu;N is the way it fully activates both senses of saudaa (see the two definitions above), as SRF notes. This means that we can always read the verse as describing commercial transactions (merchandising in a bazaar), and/or we can always read it as describing madness (a 'bazaar of madness' sounds like an ideal venue for the crazed lover). For another such example, see {25,15}.

Finally, ek and hii work their usual multivalent magic, opening up still a wider set of interpretative possibilities. They highlight the power of gesture, and the ultimate uninterpretability of gesture. Compare the 'smile' in the incomparable