Ghazal 96, Verse 2


dil-aashuftagaa;N ;xaal-e kunj-e dahan ke
suvaidaa me;N sair-e ((adam dekhte hai;N

1a) those who are heart-distracted by the beauty spot at the corner of the mouth
2a) see in the suvaidaa , a show/spectacle of nonexistence

1b) the heart-distracted ones, in the beauty-spot-at-the-corner-of-the-mouth's
2b) suvaidaa , see a show/spectacle of nonexistence


aashuftah : 'Distracted, disturbed, distressed; disordered; uneasy, wretched, miserable'. (Platts p.57)


suvaidaa : 'The black part or grain of the heart, the heart's core; --original sin. (Platts p.704)


The undetectable [i.e., vanishingly small] mouth's beauty spot, is the suvaidaa of people who have given away their hearts. They are taking a stroll through nothingness, in the heart. sair is an Arabic word, and in Arabic it's used with the meaning of 'moving, walking'. But in Persian and Urdu, it's used with the meaning of 'spectacle' [tamaashaa]. Here, he has versified it according to the taste of the people of Persia, and for this reason the i.zaafat on the word sair is correct. (97)

== Nazm page 97

Bekhud Dihlavi:

Poets construct the mouth and waist of the beloved as nonexistent. He says, those people who have become lovers of the sign of the mouth, in the suvaidaa of their heart see the spectacle of nonexistence. (147)

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, those people who are her lovers, see their own death. Mirza Dagh says:

maut mujh ko dikhaa))ii detii hai
jab :tabii((at ko dekhtaa huu;N mai;N

[death is visible to me
when I see the temperament] (192)


The mention of 'nonexistence' has come in because of the 'mouth', and the mention of suvaidaa has come in because of the 'beauty spot'. From this kind of affinity the beauty of the verse comes into being. (187)


TAMASHA: {8,1}

I think there's some kind of affinity between aashuftah and suvaidaa , because they also occur together in {3,2}. But I can't quite fathom what it is. Even though Faruqi has commented extensively on {3,2}, it's such an obscure verse that the whole thing remains murky to me. For discussion, and more examples, of the use of suvaidaa , see {3,2}.

One way of reading this verse (1a and 2a) takes the two lines as separate and end-stopped, in the usual ghazal way. Another possible reading (1b and 2b) shows an unusually radical kind of enjambement-- a postposition has actually been separated from its object. On this reading the phrase at the end of the first line, ;xaal-e kunj-e dahan ke , modifies suvaidaa at the beginning of the second line.

If we imagine the verse being performed under mushairah conditions, what a tantalizing delay the listeners would be forced (on either reading) to endure! And when the object finally came, I think they would experience a pleasurable jolt of surprise. For 'the beauty spot at the corner of the mouth' suggests that the next thing coming will be some general term like charm, or blackness, or tyranny. Our minds have already seized on 'beauty spot' as the physical anchor for the imagery, and as we move to the corner, and then the mouth, we seem to be moving outward-- away from the beauty spot, and into larger and wider spaces.

But then after that long wait, we are suddenly plunged without warning as far as possible in the other direction-- not just into the heart of the beauty spot, but into the suvaidaa in the center of the heart of the (barely visible) beauty spot (which itself is located at the corner of a vanishingly small mouth). And now we see the affinity of the 'heart' in 'heart-distracted ones'.

Since the 'heart-distracted ones' have wretched or disordered hearts, they no longer have the a fitting and suitable place for a suvaidaa . Instead, their tiny black suvaidaa is located in the tiny black heart of the beloved's tiny black beauty-spot. And in that (external) center of the center of their being, what do they see? Why, nonbeing, of course! The 'nonexistence' is so perfect, and so poetically overdetermined, that the audience must surely have laughed out loud.

Why do they see nonexistence? Because the beloved's mouth is, by convention, (virtually) nonexistent; her beauty spot must be even smaller; the tiny heart of her beauty spot must contain a suvaidaa that is less than infinitesimal. And of course, the suvaidaa provides mystical connections of one or another kind, or various kinds, which lead directly to the lover's usual death-wish and death-bound condition, and the rapture of (mystical) love-in-death.

And all this swooping around among invisibles and minutiae is, of course, a 'show' or 'spectacle' that is 'seen' by the lovers. But surely we aren't surprised. Lovers can also, after all, be 'lamp-displays in the bedchamber of the heart of the moth' ({81,3}).