Ghazal 84, Verse 3x


aa ay bahaar-e naaz kih tere ;xiraam se
dastaar gird-e shaa;x-e gul-e naqsh-e paa karuu;N

1) come, oh springtime/flourishing of coquetry, so that from/through your gait/pace
2) I would make the turban-sash {dust of / surround} the rose-branch of the footprint


;xiraam : 'Pace, gait, walk, march; stately gait, graceful walk; strut'. (Platts p.488)


dastaar : 'A sash or fine muslin cloth wrapped round a turban'. (Platts p.516)


gird : 'Round; circle, orbit; circumference; circuit; environs, parts adjacent; —adv. & postpn. Around, about; near, in the vicinity'. (Platts p.903)


gard : 'Dust; —the globe; —fortune'. (Platts p.903)


Addressing the beloved, he has said, 'Come, oh springtime of coquetry-- for the Lord's sake, come! So that as soon as you come I might offer up my turban-sash to the branch of the rose of the footprint-- and become its dust, or sacrifice my life for it.' (161)


The beloved is from head to foot a springtime/flourishing of coquetry; that is, thanks to her there is a springtime of the garden of airs and graces. When she, like the dawn breeze, moves, then from her footprint flowers bloom on the ground. When flowers would bloom, then a branch too is necessary for them; this branch has come from the wave of movement. Now the dust that has flown up from that footprint-- that is, the dust that flies up from her movement-- the lover has considered it to be a turban and wrapped it around his head. (229)

Gyan Chand:

From the second line three interpretations can emerge.

1) Oh beloved, if you would walk this way, then all around your footprint I would spread my turban-sash. To place the turban-sash on the ground is an extremity of weakness/submission.

2) To place flowers in the turban-sash is an adornment of the turban-sash. Your footprint is like a flower, I bring the turban-sash close to it so that having touched it, roses will come into my turban-sash. Which rose? That of the footprint.

3) A turban-sash is tied by some Shaikh or elder or venerable one. Your footstep too is of such venerableness that I will tie a turban-sash around it.

== Gyan Chand, p. 258



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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

The 'branch' seems to be problematical. Zamin's idea that the branch is the wave of the beloved's movement is not persuasive, and adds problems of its own. Is the 'branch' merely padding? (For a general discussion of repetition and padding, see {17,9}.) It did occur to me briefly that one very literal way to read the branch would be as the beloved's leg(s)-- but the thought is ludicrous, and I only mention it here because it's so amusingly awful. What price poetic tact!

However, the second line contains four i.zaafat constructions. Leaving aside the first one for the moment, the tendency is to read 'branch of (rose of (print of foot))'. If we instead read '(branch of rose) of (print of foot)' as I have done above, the footprint itself becomes a rose-branch-- it seems to be planted in the earth, and the beloved herself is the rose who has in some sense emerged from it (by 'planting' her foot on the ground as she walks?).

Asi and Zamin read gard , 'dust'; Gyan Chand reads gird , 'around' (see the definitions above). I go with Asi and Zamin; the 'dust' reading works better with the footprint as a rose-branch. Nothing works ideally, though; the imagery is just not that tightly knit.

Along similar metaphorical lines, compare {158,5}.

The only other verse that mentions a dastaar is {72,6}. Here's what a variety of princely turbans looked like around 1920: