Ghazal 50, Verse 8x

{50,8x}

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

Notes:

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)

Asi:

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'. (99)

Zamin:

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 . (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

FWP:

SETS == GROTESQUERIE; PETRIFIED PHRASES

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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 even otherwise-- it just doesn't work.

However, it's possible 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? If so, bas would be treated as a kind of petrified phrase; for more on the use of such phrases, see {62,7}.

Even so, it's still an awful image. I'm glad he chose to omit this one from the divan!