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 'tinsel-dust', the thread of a ray
2) we have considered the rays/'five-fingers' of the sun [to be] the hand of a 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)


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. (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. (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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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, combs, tinsel-dust (literally, in Persian, 'scattering'), sun-ray (from an Arabic root meaning 'to be scattered'). Yet it remains static in its feeling, and trivial in its meaning.

It's so much less compelling than {23,1}, which uses the same kind of imagery but feels dynamic and provocative, even thrilling, in its combination of swift movement and extreme helplessness. By comparison, how exciting can it be to simply tangle us up in a net of wordplay about beautiful hair? (Hey-- could it be called a hair-net, perhaps? Sorry, sorry.)

Or else just have a look at the next verse, {81,8x}, for more impressive example of the nineteen-year-old poet's developing skills.