Ghazal 29, Verse 7x


tapish-e aa))inah pardaaz-e tamannaa laa))ii
naamah-e shauq bah baal-e par-e bismil

1) the agitation/palpitation of the mirror brought the completion/perfection of longing
2) it tied the letter of ardor to a wing with wounded/slaughtered feathers


tapish : 'Heat, warmth; distress (esp. that caused by heat); affliction; agitation; palpitation'. (Platts p.309)


pardaaz : 'Performing, accomplishing, finishing, completing, ... ;--finish, accomplishment, perfection'. (Platts p.246)


baal : '[Persian] Wing, pinion: arm'. (Platts p.124)


par : 'Pinion, feather, wing, quill'. (Platts p.233)


bismil : 'Sacrificed, slaughtered'. (Platts p.156)


He says that the flight of longing-- that is, the abundance of longing-- created the writhing of the mirror, and the writhing of the mirror is only a trick of the eye; so to speak, our inappropriate expression of longing is as if someone would tie a letter of ardor to the wing of a wounded bird that cannot bear it to the addressee.

Mirza Bedil says [in Persian],

i.z:tiraab-e par-o-baal aa))inah-e parvaazast
baaz gardiidan-e mizhgaan na:zare mii;xvaahad

[restlessness of wing and feather is a mirror of flight
the turning back of the eyelashes desires sight]

== Zamin, p. 39

Gyan Chand:

For calling the mirror restless, there can be two reasons. It has a brightness like that of mercury [which is used for the backing of glass mirrors], and mercury is a prime example of restlessness. Or again, in a metal mirror the polish-lines look as if they are writhing....

My nurturing of longing made me restless like a mirror. This longing is the gift of the mischievousness of the beloved. Thus I sent to the beloved a letter of ardor, in which the purport of writhing was expressed. Letters are sent by being tied to the wing of a pigeon. In order to express my writhing, I have tied the letter to the wing of a wounded/slaughtered pigeon. Because a wounded/slaughtered bird is nothing but writhing-- as is the contents of the letter, so is the letter-bearer!

== Gyan Chand, pp. 75-76


MIRROR: {8,3}
WRITING: {7,3}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}. This verse is from a different, unpublished, formally identical ghazal, {259x}, and is included for comparison. On the presentation of verses from unpublished ghazals like this one along with formally identical divan ghazals, see {145,5x}.

For more on the literary sense of baa;Ndhnaa , see {29,2}.

The connection between the lines seems not to be fully effective. It seems plausible that the verse wants to rely on the idea of the mirror as a wounded parrot, discussed in {29,2}. About that verse the commentators say that the polish-marks on a metal mirror seem to move as the mirror and the beholder's gaze move; thus they might be said to writhe. According to Nazm, the polish-marks also look green (though I don't see why, since surely they wouldn't normally show verdigris) like a parrot. Also, mirrors are used to train parrots to speak. And we could say that parrots are 'mirrors' of speech, the way mirrors are 'mirrors' of vision. But still, there's nothing remotely bird-like in the first line-- so we have to import all the wounded-parrot lore for ourselves, just on the strength of the word 'mirror', in order to make the connection with the second line.

But then, there's something odd and fascinating about the first line. The word pardaaz is surely correct (Arshi, Raza, Gyan Chand, and Zamin all agree on it). But it's only one letter away from parvaaz ('flying, flight', Platts p.255). And the independent forms of daal and vaa))o -- the ones at issue here-- are so similar that I've seen educated native speakers mistake them (even when reading their own handwriting). Are we not perhaps meant to feel, in view of all the flight imagery in the second line, that parvaaz somehow hovers over its close visual and phonetic cousin, pardaaz ?

The second line has a colloquially omitted subject (with ne of course): the most plausible candidate is the 'agitation' [tapish] that is an active agent in the first line, and that 'brings the completion of longing'. Perhaps it's the act of writing/sending that remarkable letter in the second line, that itself brings or even constitutes the 'completion of longing'? Or perhaps the 'bringing', and the 'composing' (with a wounded quill-pen) or 'binding' (to a wounded messenger bird) of the letter, are two separate things done by the 'agitation'.

Still, the extreme abstraction of the imagery (not even the 'mirror' writes/sends a letter, but the 'agitation' of the mirror does) reduces the impact. Compare the much more effective {43,5}.