Ghazal 41, Verse 5

{41,5}*

vaa kar diye hai;N shauq ne band-e naqaab-e ;husn
;Gair az nigaah ab ko))ii ;haa))il nahii;N rahaa

1) ardor has opened the ties/bindings/closings of the veil of beauty
2) other than the gaze/sight/attention, now no hindrance/hinderer remained

Notes:

nigaah : 'Look, glance, sight, view, regard; consideration; --look, aspect (of); --watching, observation, attention; --custody, care'. (Platts p.1150)

 

;haa))il : 'Intervening, interposing; preventing, hindering, restraining; --one who or a thing which interrupts, or prevents, preventer, hinderer; hindrance, obstacle, impediment'. (Platts p.474)

Nazm:

That is, the distinction between beholder and beheld that remains, this is the obstacle, because the eye cannot see it; and the veils that were there in addition to it, extreme of ardor has lifted. (39)

== Nazm page 39

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, ardor for self-display has opened the ties of the veil of beauty-- that is, every grain, every leaf, every drop is the expression of the Divine Glory. But the difficulty is that the beholder's outer eye cannot see it. Thus it's been said that except for sight, no veil remains between them. If the outer eye would open, then the outward veils can be lifted. (77)

Bekhud Mohani:

The word 'ardor' applies to both the beloved's ardor for self-display and the lover's ardor for sight. The lover's ardor for sight, or the beloved's ardor for self-display, has opened the ties of the veil of the beloved's beauty, and now nothing is an obstacle except sight. Sight has been called an obstacle because the eye cannot see it. (95)

FWP:

SETS
GAZE: {10,12}
VEIL: {6,1}

The real question of course is what kind of obstacle now remains between the lover and beauty. Is 'other than the gaze' an indication of how little, or how much, of a barrier there still is? Is the gaze itself a form of distancing, a barrier? Or does the gaze merely signify the (illusory?) belief in duality when there is really only oneness? If there were no obstacle at all, would I actually see beauty? Or would I cease to exist?

After all, we should remember the complexities of the famous {32,1}. Moreover, isn't it also possible that the beloved's radiance burns out the gaze like lightning, like barq-e na:zaarah-soz , as in {214,7}? As usual, all such questions are carefully left unanswered-- and unanswerable. For it may well be the beloved herself, or the divine Beloved, who has permitted the opening of the veil, so the possibilities of mystery and bafflement, and revelation too, are very real.

Even the word 'other' [;Gair], with its overtones in the ghazal world of the Other who competes with the lover for the beloved's attention, is perfectly chosen.

Note for grammar fans: This is another case of the skewed correlation between Urdu and English tenses (despite their seeming parallelism); for discussion, see {38,1}. In English, considering the present perfect in the first line, we'd say 'has remained'. If Ghalib had wanted to, he could easily have arranged the first line to say 'opened', to accord with the refrain; the fact that he didn't feel any need to, is evidence of the kind of skewed correlation that I'm talking about.