Ghazal 24, VersE 10x


havas-gustaa;xii-e aa))iinah takliif-e na:zar-baazii
bah jeb-e aarzuu pinhaa;N hai ;haa.sil dil-rubaa))ii kaa

1) the {desire/lust}-insolence of the mirror, the burden/trouble of the 'gaze-game'
2) hidden in the neck-slit of longing/hope/design is the substance/profit/result of heart-stealing


gustaa;xii : 'Presumption, arrogance, insolence, audacity, assurance, sauciness, rudeness; contempt (of court); cruelty'. (Platts p.910)


takliif : 'Ceremony; the imposition of a burthen (upon); burden, difficulty, trouble, distress, inconvenience'. (Platts p.332)


na:zar-baaz : 'One who plays with or deceives the eyes; an ogler; a juggler'. (Platts p.1143)


baazii : 'Play, sport, game, trick; game of chance, hazard; gaming; stake (at play), wager, bet'. (Platts p.122)


jaib : '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' (in which sense the Turks, Persians, and Indians pronounce it jeb )'. (Platts p.412)


aarzuu : 'Wish, desire, longing, eagerness; hope; trust; expectation; intention, purpose, object, design. inclination, affection, love'. (Platts p.40)


;haa.sil : 'Result, issue, ultimate consequence; ... acquiring, acquisition, advantage, profit, gain, good; sum, sum and substance, substance, purport, import, object'. (Platts p.473)


'Oh desire-insolence of the mirror ( havas-gustaa;xii is a reversed [maqluub] i.zaafat construction; that is, gustaa;xii-e havas-e aa))iinah ), oh burden of the gaze-game, in the neck-slit of longing is concealed the substance/profit of heart-stealing.' That is, she will look into the mirror, and this very looking into the mirror is the essence/gist of heart-stealing.

Or else, 'Oh desire-insolence of the mirror, don't give her the burden/trouble of the 'gaze-game', because as yet the substance/profit of heart-stealing is concealed in the neck-slit of longing'.

== Asi, p. 61


That is, the mirror's insolent expression of desire is that it stares intently at the beloved's beauty; and in reaction, the beloved stares into the mirror. This very thing is the 'burden of the gaze-game' and the substance/profit of heart-stealing and belovedness: that if there would be the springtime of beauty, then there would also be viewers of this beauty. But here, in a reversal, the viewer of the springtime of beauty is the beloved herself. Thus along with this, the substance/profit of the burden of the gaze-game and and heart-stealing is hidden in the neck-slit of longing. That is, having seen in the mirror her own beauty and heart-stealingness, the beloved feels a longing that others too would see her, would fall in love with her, and would pay the tribute due to beauty.

The meaning of jeb is 'neck-slit' [chaak-e garebaan]. Earlier generations used to attach a small pouch [thailii] (pocket [paaka;T]) to the neck-slit; thus now jeb commonly means only 'pocket'.

== Zamin, p. 50

Gyan Chand:

From being beautiful and being a heart-stealer, what does the beloved get? The mirror stares at her with insolence, and the lovers give her trouble with the 'gaze-game'. They both do this from their longing for a sight, and their ardor for the beloved. So to speak, the substance/profit of heart-stealing is hidden in the neck-slit of the lover's longing. That is, the glory of belovedness is bestowed only/emphatically by the lover.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 88-89


GAZE: {10,12}
MIRROR: {8,3}

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 present verse, the first line is a verb-less 'list' of two items; these can be read either as two independent clauses (as shown in the translation) or as an implicit 'copulative construction' in which clause A 'is' clause B (and thus of course equally clause B 'is' clause A).

On havas-gustaa;xii as an 'inverted izafat' construction, see {129,6x}.

There's a very similar use of something hidden in a neck-slit in {24,9x}; see that verse for discussion of it as meaning 'hidden deep within'.

There are also remarkable structural similarities between the second line of the present verse and the second line of {24,9x}. In both cases we get bah jeb-e something pinhaa;N hai ;haasil something else kaa . The ambiguity of ;haa.sil , with its possibilities (see the definition above) of 'substance, purport', and 'advantage, profit', and 'result, consequence', is crucial. In {24,9x}, it creates the unresolvable question of whether 'road-showing' is always successful, or always futile (so that in either case a Khizr is not needed).

Clearly, in the present verse, the results of 'heart-stealing' are painful and wearisome. The mirror is lustful and insolent; the 'gaze-game' of flirtation loses its charm over time and becomes a burden. The obvious person who would have these experiences is the beloved (since the lover would hardly be subject to the insolence of a lustful mirror). The substance/profit/result of her heart-stealing makes the beloved rueful. Her ruefulness and regret are hidden deep within her aarzuu -- which nowadays most commonly means 'longing', but in principle has a range of other possibilities as well (see the definition above). She may be inclined to repent of her heart-stealing, but she may not (it might be part of a 'result' or 'object' that she seeks).

Here the beloved certainly seems not to be God; on this see {20,3}.