Ghazal 4, Verse 13x


shab na:zaarah-parvar thaa ;xvaab me;N ;xiraam us kaa
.sub;h maujah-e gul ko naqsh-e boriyaa paayaa

1a) at night, her gait/walk was, in a dream, a protector/cherisher of sight
1b) at night, her gait/walk was, in a dream, protected/cherished by sight

2a) at dawn, I found the wave of the rose [to be] the image/picture/print of a reed-mat
2b) at dawn, I found the image/picture/print of the reed-mat [to be] a wave of the rose


na:zaarah : 'Sight, view, look, show; inspection; --amorous glance, ogling'. (Platts p.1142)


parvar : 'Nourisher, cherisher, supporter, protector, patron; nourished, cherished, reared, brought up, educated'. (Platts p.256)


naqsh : 'Painting; colouring; drawing; designing, &c.; --delineation; --embroidery; --a painting, a picture; portrait; drawing; a print; a carving, an engraving; a map, or plan (com. naqshah ); a design; --an impression; a stamp; a mark'. (Plats p.1145)


At night I saw her in a dream, and she protected/cherished my sight. At dawn, the effect of this was that my reed-mat had become a wave of the rose.

== Asi, p. 54


At night when I saw the beloved in a dream, before my eyes a garden of beauty was waving; but when dawn came, instead of a wave of the rose (that is, a wave of the flower of beauty) I saw the signs/traces of a reed-mat. That is, whatever I saw was only dream and imagination.

== Zamin, p. 33

Gyan Chand:

At night I saw in a dream the sight of her spirit-protecting gait. At dawn, I rose and looked at the wave of flowers in the flower-bed. By comparison, it looked so pallid/colorless [phiikii], as if it would be the image of a reed-mat.

Asi and Sandelvi have written that at dawn we found the image of our reed-mat to be a wave of roses-- although in the verse this has not been said. Sandelvi has also raised one more matter: that at night in a dream whatever wave of roses there was, when the eyes opened there was nothing but an image of my reed-mat. But the true meaning is the one that I have noted at the beginning.

== Gyan Chand, p. 69


DREAMS: {3,3}
NIGHT/DAY: {1,2}

SYMMETRY verses: {1,4}; {1,5}; {1,7x}; {4,13x}**; {4,15x}; {6,5}; {10,6}**; {11,1}; {11,5x}; {12,7x}; {15,2}; {15,8x}; {16,7x}**; {16,9x}; {17,5}; {18,7x}*; {20,5}** classic case; {24,3}; {25,1}*, commentators illustrate it; {28,5x}; {33,8x}*, Gyan Chand; {39,5x}; {44,3x}; {44,4x}; {45,6x}, Gyan Chand; {47,3x}; {53,12x}, Gyan Chand; {58,1}; {61,7}*; {64,8x}; {67,1}; {67,4x}; {75,2}; {87,9}**, discussion; {95,2}*; {105,2}*; {105,4x}**, commentators illustrate it; {113,1}; {113,9}; {119,7}; {138,1}; {138,6}**; {145,7x}; {145,13x}; {145,14x}*; {147,3}**; {147,7x}; {149,6x}; {149,7x}; {149,8x}; {152,1}; {152,2}**, proof; {152,4}; {154,3}; {155,1}; {155,4x}; {155,5x}*; {156,2x}**, max.; {165,1}*; {165,2}; {166,1}*; {169,13}; {172,1}; {172,5x}; {181,6}; {188,1}; {194,3}; {194,4}*; {203,1}; {203,2}; {206,3}; {208,8}; {214,7}; {221,1}; {221,3}**; {222,1}; {228,2}, Faruqi notes; {228,3}; {229,6}; {230,7}; [{234,1}, evidence] // {244x,7}, Gyan Chand; {286x,1}; {298x,4}; {312x,6}; {321x,2}; {332x,8}; {360x,1}; {361x,2}; {389x,4}***, commentators vs. SRF; {389x,6}**; {399x,7}*; {417x,1}*, commentators illustrate it; {436x,4}, semantic fit; {438x,8}, used to create ambiguity

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}.

In the first line, the ambiguity between the active and passive senses of parvar opens two possible readings: in the speaker's dream, her gait was either a 'protector of' sight (in that it kept the sight happy and mystically satisfied and attuned to beauty even in dreams) (1a), or else 'protected by' sight (in that the sight refused to let go of the vision of her gait, and continued to savor it in dreams too) (1b). As usual, both readings set us up elegantly for the second line.

The second line is a piquant example of what I call 'symmetry'. 'I found A [to be] B' is, in principle, merely a special case of 'A is B', which in Urdu can equally well be read as 'B is A'. Gyan Chand insists on 'I found A [to be] B'; but he notes with some irritation that Asi and another commentator choose the reading 'I found B [to be] A'. The existence of such controversies shows the genuineness of the 'symmetry' effect, since different commentators choose opposite readings (though almost never do they recognize more than one possible reading).

Like a true mushairah verse, this one withholds its punchy effect until the last possible moment, and then gives us the plebeian, humble, flat, motionless little 'reed-mat' (for more on these mats see {10,3}). The contrast between it and the graceful, swaying 'wave of the rose' as it ripples in the breeze (and thus recalls the beloved's gait) could hardly be clearer-- and yet the two are also related, even if only as opposites. Here are some of the possibilities:

=When the speaker awoke he found the bed of waving roses in the garden to be so inferior to his dream of her gait, that it seemed to be a humble flat little 'reed-mat' by comparison (2a).

=When he awoke he found that his vision of her gait that was like the 'wave of the rose' had been nothing but an evanescent dream, and what he really had before his eyes was just the humble 'reed-mat' on which he'd been sleeping (2a).

=When he awoke he found himself still under the spell of the vision of her gait, so that through its influence the humble 'reed-mat' on which he'd been sleeping seemed to him to be a 'wave of the rose' (2b).

Still more possibilities arise if we read naqsh as 'stamp' or 'impression' or 'print'. Then, thanks to the power of the i.zaafat , the naqsh-e boriyaa can be an impression flattened into the reed-mat. By the body of the sleeper? Perhaps the dream of her rose-wave gait is so real that it might be almost that she, or it, tramples the sleeper into the ground, leaving an impression on his reed-mat. Was the impression left by her dream-gait itself? Perhaps her rose-wave dream-gait has left a wonderfully real trace (or, alas, only a trace) on the reed-mat beside the sleeper's charpai.