Ghazal 93, Verse 2x


kis dil pah hai ((azm-e .saf-e mizhgaan-e ;xvud-aaraa
aa))iine ke paa-yaab se utrii hai;N sipaahe;N

1) at/'on' which heart is the aim/intention of the row/rank of self-arraying eyelashes?
2) through the ford of the mirror, armies have crossed over


((azm : 'Determination, resolution, decision, intention, fixed purpose, bent, aim; undertaking'. (Platts p.761)


.saf : 'A rank, row, line, file, series, order; a company of men standing in a rank, &c.; ... β€” .saf-aaraa , adj. & s.m. Arraying, marshalling; arrayed, marshalled; β€”one who arrays, a marshaller (of troops): β€” .saf-aaraa))ii s.f. The marshalling of troops; array; battle-array, parade; tactics'. (Platts p.745)


paa-yaab : 'A ford; β€” paa-yaab utarnaa v.n. To cross by fording, to ford (a river, &c.)'. (Platts p.213)


sipaah : 'Soldiery, soldiers; troops, forces, army'. (Platts p.634)


After all, on which heart are your self-arraying and battle-seeking eyelashes intending to advance for an attack, since your glances are now crossing through the ford of the mirror? .... The meaning is that you are looking into the mirror-- after all, on which heart are these eyelashes arrayed in ranks intending destruction?

== Asi, p. 169


He says that through the ford of the ocean of the eyes, armies of eyelashes have crossed-- on which heart will they make an assault? Or this: that at the time of adornment, the reflection of the eyelashes that has emerged from the mirror-- for this he has given the simile of an army crossing through a ford.

== Zamin, p. 250

Gyan Chand:

Imagine a scene. An army wants to cross a river and seize some settlement. A search is made for some place in the river where the water will be fordable. Having crossed the river at this place, the ranks are arrayed from another direction, so that an attack would be made. The poet has confronted this attack in the face of the beloved. He has given the shiningness of the mirror as a simile for water. This water is a ford, because there's no fear of drowning in it.

To sit down before the mirror and adorn herself, and then to rise from there, is as if to cross the river of the mirror. While looking in the mirror the eyelashes are arrayed-- because of which the poet has asked, on which heart will she make an attack? It's clear that it's the poet's heart.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 272-73


[Compare his discussion in Mir's M{731,4} and M{172 3,6}.]


MIRROR: {8,3}

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

Gyan Chand paints the scene vividly for us. The great pleasure of the verse is the unexpected but also captivating vision of the mirror as a kind of ford. The hapless victim on whom the serried ranks of eyelashes are bearing down might indeed be the speaker, as Gyan Chand maintains, so that the question in the first line would be rhetorical. But it might also be someone else, since we know the beloved is an insatiable hunter of fresh prey; the speaker might be a rueful or even sympathetic observer (since he has good cause to know exactly what deadly fate is in store for the next victim).

There's also an enjoyable wordplay involving the concept of .saf-aaraa))ii , the 'arraying of ranks' performed by an army before a traditional, formal battle. The eyelashes are not quite described as .saf-aaraa , 'rank-arraying', but they are a 'row, rank' that is 'self-arraying', so that the military sense at once springs to mind (see the definition of .saf above). The same suffix aaraa of course also commonly means 'adorning', as in so many women's names (Jahan-ara, Husn-ara, etc.). So the ranks of eyelashes are both arraying themselves in enhanced beauty, and by the same action arraying themselves for battle.

Indeed, these martial rows of eyelashes are surely especially deadly, since unlike the usual army they don't even require a chieftain or commander to array their ranks. Instead, they do the job themselves, thus showing what eager and formidable warriors they will be.

Once we have the idea of the mirror as a ford, it evokes so many other mental images as well. Perhaps the mirror is a kind of twilight zone, a bridge between our world and-- what exactly? Another dimension? A 'through the looking-glass' world? The 'unseen' [;Gaib]? One sees things in the mirror, and they both are and aren't really 'there'-- just as the beloved's eyelashes both are and aren't well-arrayed 'armies' bearing down steadily on their prey.