Ghazal 15, Verse 3


vaa;N ;xvud-aaraa))ii ko thaa motii pirone kaa ;xayaal
yaa;N hujuum-e ashk me;N taar-e nigah naa-yaab thaa

1) there, Self-adornment had the thought of stringing pearls
2) here, in the crowd of tears, the thread of the glance/gaze was unfindable


pironaa : 'To pierce, transfix, thrust in, penetrate; to spit, fix on a spit or skewer; to string (pearls, &c.); to thread (a needle, &c.)'. (Platts p.257


That is, on the thread of the glance so many tears had been threaded that that it itself became hidden and obscured, the way pearls hide the string. Look, the whole simile is found [in earlier poetry], but the freshness is in this, that he does not wish to give the simile. The poet mentions the similar elements, and then does not give the simile. (15)

== Nazm page 15

Bekhud Dihlavi:

There, for her self-adornment and decoration she was string pearls, and in that occupation her promise was also forgotten. Here, I was in such a state that while waiting I had wept and wept to the degree that the profusion of tears had obscured even the thread of vision. The point is that the beloved wanted no lack or shortful in outward beauty to remain; and the lover's ardor demanded that the time of union should come quickly. A picture of self-adornment and the restlessness of passion cannot be drawn in better words than these. (32)


There, her adornment and decoration never came to an end; and here, so many tears have been strung on the thread of the glance that because of the abundance of tears the thread of the glance itself can't be seen. For the wordplay of tear-shedding, in the first line mention has been made of stringing pearls by way of adornment; and by way of comparison, although the desired simile is not present, the pleasure of the simile has been created. (69)


GAZE: {10,12}

This verse reminds me of {10,12}, which also relies on the thread of the glance or gaze. In that case, the look provides a stitching-together of the scattered pages of our life by binding them into our clear-sighted progress toward fanaa, or oblivion (in God, if you're sufistically inclined). In this case, the enjoyableness comes from the parallel and yet utterly contrasting situations of lover and beloved.

Nazm's point is a good one: we ourselves have to put together the relationship between the lines. But look at the wonderfully multiple, overlapping possibilities. The beloved thinks of stringing pearls because she's always one for self-adornment (in fact, she is 'Self-adornment'), and because she's so indifferent to her lover's plight. But she also thinks of it because the tears shed by her lover are available in such quantity and might as well be put to use (the tears are her pearls). She herself is able to string pearls at will; the lover is surrounded by tear-pearls but is so distraught that he can't even find the 'thread' of his glance (because his eyes are blurred with tears); she can do as she likes, and can make luxurious choices; he can do nothing but weep.

This verse is part of a sort of quasi-'verse-set' that begins with {15,2}.

It is also an example of that same 'mutual causality' so evident in {15,2}. Her indifference to me, her preoccupation with the details of self-adornment (possibly to show herself to others), cause me to weep; my lavishly available pearl-tears cause her to become more devoted to self-adornment and more interested in stringing pearls. As we know from {10,2}, her eyelashes pierce blood-drops to make a set of coral prayer-beads; no doubt the process of piercing and stringing tear-pearls would be similar, and equally effortless.