Ghazal 96, Verse 8x


;xa:t-e la;xt-e dil yak-qalam dekhte hai;N
mizhah ko javaahir-raqam dekhte hai;N

1) the line of the heart-fragments, [as] a whole/'penful', we see
2) the eyelashes, [as] a calligrapher/'jewel-writer', we see


;xa:t : 'A line, a streak, or stripe, a mark; lineament; — writing, character, handwriting chirography; a letter, epistle; — down on the face, incipient beard, &c.'. (Platts p.491)


javaahir : 'Jewels, gems, precious stones; a jewel, gem; — essences, substance'. (Platts p.395)


raqm , or raqam : 'Mark, sign, price-mark; writing, hand-writing, character'. (Platts p.596)


The drops of blood that have come and settled on the eyelashes, he has construed as lines of heart-fragments. yak-qalam is a wordplay with ;xa:t -- that is, 'from end to end'.

== Zamin, p. 234

Gyan Chand:

yak-qalam = entirely, wholly. In tears we see a line of heart-fragments-- that is, along with the tears, pieces of the heart come and pause on the eyelashes. Thus our eyelashes in the true sense have become a 'jewel-writer'. Calligraphers are given the title of 'jewel-writer'-- that is, their writing shines like a jewel. On the eyelashes the heart-fragments are like jewels; thus the eyelashes have become 'jewel-writers'.

== Gyan Chand, p. 262


WRITING: {7,3}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

On expressions compounded with yak , see {11,1}.

Well, it's not too inspiring a verse. The eyelashes are like miniature pens, and they drip with a radiant red 'ink' consisting of bloody tears containing small bits of the heart; thus they practice a kind of 'jewel-writing'. The verse has only wordplay (including 'we see' to go with the eyelashes). It's not even vivid enough to rise to the level of grotesquerie.

Another verse with calligraphy imagery: {76,3x}.

The work of a modern Pakistani calligrapher, 'Maqsood Ali Jawahir Raqam':