kaavish se un palko;N kii rahtii hai ;xalish sii jigar me;N ab
siidhii na:zar jo us kii nahii;N hai yaas hai apnii na:zar me;N ab

1) from the digging/menace of those eyelashes there remains something like a pricking/apprehension in the liver now
2) since she doesn't have a straight gaze, despair is in our gaze/view now



kaavish : 'Digging; excavation; —investigation, inquiry, research, meditation; intentness; —menacing; disputing, fighting; enmity'. (Platts p.808)


;xalish : 'Pricking, pain; care, solicitude, anxiety; apprehension, suspicion, misgiving'. (Platts p.492)

S. R. Faruqi:

The opening-verse is by way of introduction.



Well, SRF sets the bar high, and perhaps he's a bit too hard on the verse; there are certainly a few things that can be enjoyed in it. The first line exhibits the ghazal world's irresistible ability to slide back and forth seamlessly (and often unstoppably) between the physical realm and the metaphorically extended one. For the first line either complains of a physical injury and a physical effect (the beloved's sharp eyelashes keep 'digging, excavating' in the liver, so that it keeps feeling a 'pricking, pain'), or else of a mental/emotional transaction (the beloved's 'menace, enmity' causes the lover to feel an 'anxiety, apprehension' in his liver).

In either case, the prime cause is the beloved's failure to have 'a straight gaze', which means either that her eyelashes failed to dig cleanly through the lover's liver (so that the failure left her prey wounded and suffering), or else that she averts her eyes in hostility and evil intent, which shows that the lover's apprehensiveness is all too well warranted.

And because of this ominous absence of the 'straight gaze', the lover's situation is truly dire: for him despair is 'in our gaze/view' either metaphorically, as the most probable outcome of the situation, or else literally: when he looks at her averted eyes he sees the loss of all his hopes and longings, he sees 'despair'.

Compare Ghalib's lighter and more playful take on the failure of the beloved to make a clean kill, and the ;xalish that results: