Ghazal 13, Verse 6


kaavish kaa dil kare hai taqaa.zaa kih hai hanuuz
naa;xun pah qar.z is girah-e niim-baaz kaa

1a) the heart makes a claim/exaction for digging/investigation, for there is now/still
1b) the heart makes a claim/exaction for digging/investigation, [saying], 'There is now/still

2) a debt on the fingernails-- of this half-open knot


kaavish : 'Digging; excavation; --investigation, inquiry, research, meditation; intentness'. (Platts p.808)


kare hai is an archaic form of kartaa hai ; GRAMMAR.


taqaa.zaa : 'Demanding or exacting payment (of a debt), dunning; pressing the settlement of a claim; demand, requisition, claim; exigence, urgency, importunity'. (Platts p.329)


kih : 'interrog. and rel. pronoun, Who? what? which? wherefore? why? (called kaaf-e istifhaam ; it is sometimes used, like kyaa , as the untranslated sign of interrogation); —who, which, that, as, whoever (called kaaf-e bayaan or bayaaniiyah , or kaaf-e .silah ); —conj. That, in order that, to the end that, so that, for that, in that, because, for; if; and; or; whether; namely, to wit, saying, thus, as follows... ; lest; when; but even; —God grant that (called kaaf-e du((aa))iyah ); —than (expressing comparison,= az ). (In some cases kih is untranslatable but idiomatically indispensable; and in some cases it might be omitted without violence to the idiom.)'. (Platts p.866)


That is, my heart, which through 'narrowness' [tangii] and 'captivity' [giriftagii] has turned into a knot, makes a claim on the fingernails of grief for digging, the way someone would demand payment of a debt. And from the word 'half-open' it's clear that the digging of grief took place previously, but was incomplete. (14)

== Nazm page 14


Urdu text: Vajid 1902 {13}

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, the beloved's knot-belted robe has been half-opened by us; it wasn't able to be opened completely. In this guilt our heart is making a claim on us for scratching, and the nails owe the debt to the knot-belted robe. It's better that we scratch away our heart with this fingernail that was not able completely to open the belted robe. What worse revenge can be taken upon it for this failure? (28)

Bekhud Mohani:

1) The heart makes a claim on the fingernails of contriving or the hand of kindness [to finish opening the knot and ease its grief].

2) Some heart-captured one says to the fingernails of grief [to please scratch the knot away and thus finish him off].

3) My heart is such a seeker of pain [that it never gets enough and always demands more]. (28-29)



ABOUT kih : Two of the many possible ambiguities of kih have been well exploited here. It can mean 'since, because' (cf. kyuu;Nkih ), or it can introduce a direct quote; for the full range of its possibilities, see the extremely complex definition above. Thus the rest of the verse becomes either the reason (apparently endorsed by the speaker) for the heart's claim, or the exact words, unvalidated, that the heart speaks. Other examples: {15,8}, as 'which'; and {45,4}, extremely flexible.

Further ambiguities arise about whether the 'half-open' knot is to be fully opened by the 'Fingernails of Contriving' [naa;xun-e tadbiir], a well-known Persianized figure of speech for untangling or solving a problem, or else is to be scratched away entirely, and thus mercifully obliterated, by what Nazm calls the 'fingernails of grief'. The word kaavish can be read in either way. For another exlorations of its possibilities, see the next verse, {13,7}.

Even more ambiguities arise from hanuuz : is the claim only 'now' a debt, based on the fact that half the kaavish has been done and the fingernails ought for that reason alone, like good workmen, to finish the job; or is it 'still' a debt, like a mortgage not as yet fully paid?

Perhaps ultimately the heart doesn't care which way the problem is resolved, perhaps in its desperation it will make every claim at the same time.