Ghazal 82, Verse 4x


bahaar dar girah-e ;Gunchah shahr-jaulaa;N hai
:tilism-e naaz bah juz tangii-e qabaa ma((luum

1) springtime, in/on the knot of the bud, is city-wandering
2) the enchantment of coquetry, except for the tightness of the robe, is 'known' [to be nothing]!


jaulaan : 'Wandering up and down, wandering about; moving or springing from side to side... moving round ... coursing; ... Fetters, irons'. (Platts p.398)


ba-juz : 'With the exception (of), excepting'. (Platts p.381)


tangii : 'Straitness, narrowness, tightness, closeness'. (Platts p.340)


That is, springtime wanders haphazardly in the whole city-- in streets and lanes, in garden after garden, in the desert and foothills-- but it is a captive of the bud! Thus it's clear that the whole enchantment of airs and graces is connected to the tightness of the robe. (Beauty used to be seen in a tight angarkhaa and a tight achkan , through which the limbs of the body would be separately visible; now, the beauty of coat and pants is of a completely different order.)

== Zamin, p. 222

Gyan Chand:

Compared to a bud, an opened flower seems more beautiful. The simple and more colorful aspect of the petals is contained within the bud-- so to speak, springtime is bound up within the knot of the bud. In the city, here and there many buds have come out, as if springtime, bound up in the bud, is taking a stroll through the whole city. For its manifestation, springtime has preferred a tight place (the knot of the bud). The reason for this is that 'fashion'-worshipers and coquettish boys wear trim clothing and tight robes. In loose clothing they do not show off their beauty.

== Gyan Chand, p. 251



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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Here is one more illustration of the protean range of the ghazal verse, especially in the hands of a master. The key here is the word girah , 'knot'. Zamin feels that springtime is a 'captive' of the bud, bound tightly within its closed petals. Gyan Chand feels that spring has 'preferred' to show itself within the tight space of a bud. Both commentators emphasize the idea that tight garments are figure-revealing, and thus are sexy. (Although of course, the tight closed-up little bud is the very opposite of revealing.) For other verses of erotic suggestion, see {99,4}.

We should also consider the word :tilism , the idea of an 'enchantment'. In the immensely popular dastan genre (dominated by the Dastan-e Amir Hamzah), a :tilism was a whole magical world, created and maintained by a powerful magician (who usually died when the enchantment was finally broken). The :tilism was a closed world of its own: those inside couldn't escape, while those outside had no access to it. The second line of the verse tells us that coquetry is nothing but a :tilism , and that its power is only that of the opaque, tightly-closed (even 'knotted') robe. The imagination is, in short, the one true source of erotic obsession. When spring comes to the city, the access-denying bud (imagine what might be inside it!) is sexier than the wide-open, fully available rose. For other verses of erotic suggestion, see {99,4}.