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 straw-mat
2b) at dawn, I found the image/picture/print of the straw-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)


boriyaa : 'A mat made of palm leaves'. (Platts p.175)

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 palm-mat. Asi and Sandelvi have written that at dawn we found the image of our palm-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 palm-mat. But the true meaning is the one that I have noted at the beginning. (69)


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

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices.

In the first line, the ambiguity between the active and passive senses of parvar opens two possible readings: in my dream, her gait was either a 'protector of' sight (in that it kept the sight happy and esthetically satisfied and attuned to beauty even in dreams) (1a), or '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, a special case of 'A is B', which in Urdu can equally well be read as 'B is A'. The question in this case is what, if any, difference the ko makes. Gyan Chand maintains that the postposition restricts us to 'I found A [to be] B', with no symmetry; but he notes with some irritation that two other commentators disagree, and offer the reading 'I found B [to be] A'. To me it seems that Gyan Chand's reading (2a) is the first one that occurs, but I'm inclined to accept the other one also as a secondary possibility (2b). I'll think about this further, and consult with others.

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 'palm-mat'. The contrast between it and the graceful, swaying 'wave of the rose' as it ripples in the breeze (and thus recalls, even if by contrast, 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 I awoke I found the 'wave of the rose' to be so inferior to my dream of her gait, that it seemed to be a humble flat little 'palm-mat' by comparison (2a)

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

=when I awoke I found myself still under the spell of the vision of her gait, so that through its influence the humble 'palm-mat' on which I'd been sleeping seemed to me 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 palm-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 me into the ground, leaving an impression on my palm-mat. By her dream-gait itself? Perhaps her rose-wave dream-gait has left a wonderfully real trace (or, alas, only a trace) on the palm-mat beside the sleeper's charpai.

For more verses about the straw mat, see {26,5}.