Ghazal 50, Verse 8x


bas rutbe me;N baariikii-o-narmii hai kih juu;N gul
aatii nahii;N panje me;N bas us ke na:zar angusht

1) 'enough!'-- in quality, there is fineness and delicacy such that like a rose
2) on her hand-- 'in short'-- fingers are not to be seen


bas : 'Enough, sufficient, plenty; very much, too much, a great many; very;—adv. And so; in short, in a word;—intj. Enough! that will do! hold! stay!'. (Platts p.154)


rutbah : 'Station, standing, honour, rank, condition, quality, degree, dignity; high station or dignity, &c.'. (Platts p.587)


baariikii : 'Fineness, minuteness, niceness, subtlety; nicety, delicacy'. (Platts p.121)


narmii : 'Softness, smoothness, sleekness; —pliancy; —tenderness; delicacy'. (Platts p.1133)


This is an excessive [;Guluu kaa] verse. He says, 'No telling how fine and delicate the beloved's fingers are-- as with a rose, on her hand no fingers are to be seen'.

== Asi, p. 99


In the second line, the word bas is disgraceful padding [;hashv-e qabii;h], through which a swing [jhuul] has been created in the construction, and the meaning has not been augmented. He could have said, aatii hii nahii;N panjah me;N us ke na:zar angusht .

== Zamin, p. 141

Gyan Chand:

For the petals of a flower the simile of a 'hand' is used, but on it there are no fingers. The excellence of fingers is fineness and delicacy. In the beloved's fingers these excellences have such intensity that because of the fineness on her hand fingers cannot be seen, as is the case with the 'hand' of a flower.

The poet didn't reflect that a hand without fingers will become like the hand of a leper. Poets have spoken with exaggeration of the narrowness of her waist and mouth by making them vanish entirely. Ghalib has made her fingers vanish.

== Gyan Chand, p. 173



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting in a bizarre way and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

How could I possibly fail to include such a weird and off-putting verse? As Gyan Chand notes, it's commonplace for the beloved to have no mouth (on this see {91,4}) or no waist (on this see {99,4}), but-- no FINGERS? It seems considerably more grotesque. Gyan Chand suggests that this may be because it evokes the effects of leprosy. But that hardly helps! The imagery just doesn't work.

However, it's probable that we're overlooking what was meant to be a special kind of wordplay with bas . This little interjection has an idiomatic meaning of 'Enough! That will do!' (see the definition above). In the present verse it calls attention to itself by appearing in both lines. So could it imply that the beloved's beauty was 'quite enough!' without any need of fingers, or that 'in short' her hands were short? Perhaps any more beauty would be too much?

Even so, it's still an awful image. It's easy to see why he might have chosen to omit this one from the divan!