Ghazal 53, Verse 13x

{53,13x}

hai sivaa neze pah us ke qaamat-e nau-;xez se
aaftaab-e roz-e ma;hshar hai gul-e dastaar-e dost

1) it is 'beyond a spear's-length', through his new-risen stature

2a) the sun of Doomsday is the rose on the turban of the friend/beloved
2b) the rose on the turban of the friend/beloved, is the sun of Doomsday

Notes:

sivaa : 'Besides, other than, over and above, further than'. (Platts p.690)

 

nezah : 'A short spear, a lance, javelin, dart pike'. (Platts p.1167)

 

nau-;xez : 'New-risen, newly sprung up; fresh; tender'. (Platts p.1157)

Asi:

The single flower that is in the friend/beloved's turban-- it is the sun of the dawn of Doomsday that has come up to beyond a spear's length; and, so to speak, his stature is greater than a spear. (99)

Zamin:

They say that on Doomsday the sun will come to '[a bit] beyond a spear's length' [sivaa neze par]. This tale is the basis of the verse's theme. The cause of similitude between the rose of the turban and the sun of the dawn of Doomsday is revolving and radiance. To give as a simile for the stature of the beloved, the mischief of Doomsday; and for his gait, Doomsday, is to arrive at the limits of lowness/carelessness. But by giving as a simile for the rose of the turban, the sun of Doomsday, he has made even that fresh. (142)

Gyan Chand:

It is well-known that on Doomsday, the sun will come down to 'beyond a spear's length' in height. The beloved is a youth [nau-javaan]; as yet he has only newly reached his full height-- but this too will be 'beyond a spear's length' in height. The beloved has, for adornment, placed in his turban a flower that is like the sun of Doomsday.

Through this beautiful stature, and because of the flower, the situation has come to be entirely that of Doomsday-- that is, the beholders are writhing the way they will writhe on Doomsday.

== Gyan Chand, p. 174

FWP:

SETS == MUSHAIRAH; SYMMETRY; WORDPLAY
DOOMSDAY: {10,11}

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 This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself.For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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 belongs to the group in which the beloved is a beautiful youth; for others, see {9,2}

The Islamic folk tradition to which the commentators allude is well known in South Asia; Intizar Husain refers to it in 'Basti' (Chapter 11).

Here the wordplay-- and meaning-play-- work irresistibly together. The first line tells us that something unspecified (since the subject has been colloquially omitted) is 'beyond a spear', meaning 'somewhat beyond the length of a spear', because of someone's (and of course we guess that it may be the friend/beloved's) newly-achieved stature. We are then made to wait (under mushairah performance conditions) before being allowed to hear the second line.

Then even in the second line, we have to wait till the last possible moment for the 'punch'-word that suddenly makes the whole verse explode into meaning: it's the rose in the friend/beloved's turban! And how elegantly the 'symmetry' works! On one reading, the sun of Doomsday is the rose on his turban (2a)-- triply so, since it is 'beyond a spear's length' in height; and is a 'newly-risen' dawn like his newly-achieved stature; and is devastating in its effect. The cosmic teleology itself cooperates in adorning him.

Or as the other, equally possible reading, the rose on his turban is the sun of Doomsday (2b)-- it is more than a spear's length high; it is fresh and new like his stature; and it is as radiant and devastating to the lover as the sun of Doomsday. His self-adornment is so potent that it actually takes on a cosmic and teleological nature.

For another verse that plays with the beloved's height, see {169,4}.