Ghazal 3, Verse 7x


((aalam jahaa;N bah ((ar.z-e bisaa:t-e vujuud thaa
juu;N .sub;h chaak-e jeb mujhe taar-o-puud thaa

1) where the world was presenting the spread/carpet of existence
2) like dawn, the tearing/fissure of the collar was to me a warp and woof


((ar.z : 'Presenting or representing; representation, petition, request, address; — ... Breadth, width'. (Platts p.760)


bisaa:t : 'Anything that is spread out; surface, expanse, expansion; carpet; bedding; chess-cloth or chess-board, dice-board; --goods, wares, &c.'. (Platts p.154)


jeb : 'The opening at the neck and bosom (of a shirt, &c.); the breast-collar (of a garment); the heart; the bosom (the Arabs often carry things within the bosom of the shirt, &c.; and hence the word is now applied by them to) 'a pocket'.' (Platts p.412)


Where the whole world was presenting the expanse of its existence-- that is, on the day of creation, when the world and the people of the world were about to come into existence-- the tearing of my collar even at that time was in threads, like the dawn. That is, when the world didn't even exist, even then I was mad.

== Asi, p. 51


He says that when in the bazaar of creation the shop of the goods of existence was opened, then in it the fabric of my existence had as its warp and woof only the tearing of a collar-- exactly the way the garment of the dawn has become only the tearing of a collar. (For the tearing of the collar of the dawn they use the metaphor of the tearing of the woof, because the light of dawn first appears in a single line.... The idea is that tearing my collar and being a madman in passion had been written in my destiny since the eternity before time.

== Zamin, p. 28

Gyan Chand:

chaak-e jeb is chaak-e garebaa;N , which is a sign of madness. In the field of the eternity-before-creation, where the whole world was waiting for the coming of the carpet/spread of existence, for me only the tearing of the collar was a garment. The way they say that with the coming of the crack/fissure of dawn, the collar of the night becomes torn, and on the horizon the whiteness of dawn becomes visible. Thus they call the dawn the 'tearing of the collar'. The gist is that even before the creation of the world I was absorbed in madness.

== Gyan Chand, p. 65



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Apparently the vision is of a primal world spread out in darkness, like a carpet or floor-sheet of some kind. The 'crack' or fine white line of dawn then appears on the horizon, tearing apart this darkness, giving the world definition, opening out the prospect of light and day. For discussion of the motif of the tearing of the collar, and more examples, see {17,9}.

In a similar way, the speaker's act of tearing open the neck of his kurta is the 'warp and woof', the basic weaving threads-- the very fabric-- of his life. Here, the act reveals not the white light of dawn, but the lover's resolve to pass through and beyond every possible barrier. His 'tearing open' (of his collar) is thus, to him, a form of 'weaving' (of the wild and crazy fabric of his life). This claim is of course paradoxical, and perhaps mad-- but it's still no stranger than many other aspects of the lover's existence.

There's also an excellent wordplay between ((aalam , 'world', and jahaa;N , which besides being a relative pronoun also means 'world'.