Ghazal 81, Verse 7x


baskih har yak muu-e zulf afshaa;N se hai taar-e shu((aa
panjah-e ;xvurshiid ko samjhe hai;N dast-e shaanah ham

1) {since / to such an extent} every single hair of the curl is, through 'gold-dust', the thread of a ray
2) we have considered the rays/'five-fingers' of the sun [to be] {the hand of a comb / a 'hand-comb'}


afshaa;N : 'Scattering, strewing, dispersing, shedding, pouring out (used in compn.) ... ; Strips of gold and silver leaf or tinsel, or threads of muqqaish (q.v.) chipped very fine, pasted as ornaments on the forehead or the cheeks of women, or on books, letters, &c. '. (Platts p.62)


taar : 'Thread, string; the warp or threads extended lengthwise in a loom'. (Platts p.304)


panjah : 'The hand with the fingers extended; claw, paw (of a tiger, &c.); clutch, grasp, possession, power'. (Platts p.271)


panjah-e ;xvurshiid : 'The rays of the sun'. (Steingass p.257)


shaanah : 'A comb; a (cock's) comb, a crest ...; the shoulder-blade'. (Platts p.719)


dast-shaanah : 'A kind of comb, with which the threads of silk are kept separated when twisting them into ropes'. (Steingass p.523)


Since every single hair of her curls seems, because of tinsel-dust, to be the thread of a ray, in this regard we consider the rays/'five-fingers' of the sun to be the 'hand' of a comb-- that is, a hand that would act as a comb; or else we consider it simply a comb.

== Asi, p. 157


That is, the glitter of afshaa;N has caused the strands of the curls to glitter like rays of the sun; thus the comb is mistaken for the rays/'five-fingers' of the sun.

== Zamin, p. 223

Gyan Chand:

afshaan is thin strands of gold or silver lace [go;Taa] or brocade [muqqaish] that are sprinkled [chhi;Raknaa] on curls for decoration. dast-shaanah , without an i.zaafat , is a kind of comb that they use to straighten out tangled silk threads. Here the 'hand' of the comb means the teeth. Because of the afshaan , every hair in her curls seems to be a ray of sun. For this reason we've resolved to consider the rays of the ray-possessing sun to be the comb of the beloved's curls.

== Gyan Chand, p. 252

S. R. Faruqi:

[See his commentary on Mir's M{321,4}.]


CURLS: {14,6}
SUN: {10,5}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Here's a classic case of the pursuit of wordplay to the max. It lays out for us an extremely clever and densely interwoven network of imagery-- hands, fingers, threads, hair, comb, 'hand-comb', gold-dust (literally, in Persian, a 'scattering'), sun-ray (from an Arabic root meaning 'to be scattered').

It's also a nice mushairah verse, because it delivers a very clever two-fold closural punch at the last possible moment: the 'doubly activated' reading dast-e shaanah (with an optional i.zaafat ) or dast-shaanah (without one). Both readings make perfect sense: Asi and Zamin are quite content with the 'hand of a comb' (which has an excellent semantic logic within the verse), while only Gyan Chand seems also to know the technical meaning of dast-shaanah (see the definition above), which is perfectly invoked by the afshaa;N (see the definition above) in the first line.

In fact the technical terms remind me of Mir's M{7,12}, in which the beloved's wrists are described as 'silver' in the first line, and then the second line ends in ;xaam , which is also a technical term describing raw silver.