Ghazal 106, Verse 4


tire javaahir-e :tarf-e kulah ko kyaa dekhe;N
ham auj-e :taala((-e la((l-o-guhar ko dekhte hai;N

1) as if we would see jewels in the border of your cap!
2) we see the height/ascendance of the fortune of ruby and pearl


kulaah : 'A cap, hat, bonnet; cowl; tiara, crown; mitre'. (Platts p.842)


auj : 'The highest point, top; summit, vertex; zenith'. (Platts p.118)


:taala(( : 'Rising, appearing (as the sun), arising; --s.m. Star, destiny, fate, lot, fortune; prosperity'. (Platts p.750)


The meaning is clear, and there's freshness in the construction. (111)

== Nazm page 111

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, as if we would see those jewels that are attached to her cap! We see the loftiness of the fortune of ruby and pearl, that those bits of rock and drops of water, by good fortune, have attained this elevation. (161-62)

Bekhud Mohani:

The jewels that are attached to her cap-- we don't see them. We are expressing surprise at their good fortune-- my God, my God, their fate is such that they would ascent to your head! That is, they do not adorn you, but rather their honor comes from you. (213)


In this pattern, please listen to some of my little herbs and greens too:

;Gala:t hai yih mire za;xm-e jigar ko dekhte hai;N
sab is bahaane se un kii na:zar ko dekhte hai;N

[it's incorrect that these look at the wound in my liver
they all, with this excuse, look at her glance]

sab us kii turrush-e te;G-e na:zar ko dekhte hai;N
yih log kyuu;N nahii;N mere jigar ko dekhte hai;N

[they all look at the harshness of the sword of her glance
why do these people not look at my liver?]... [and three more verses]...

The readers should please absolutely not form the opinion that, God forbid, I am presenting these verses as worthy. Where is a complete poet like Ghalib, and where is a petty versifier like me! Can the ground ever be equal to the sky? I only feel that if this commentary finds approval, then thanks to it, these few verses-- or rather these few versified lines-- will remain as memorials of my foolishness. Because I didn't preserve even my brief poems. I remember thirty or forty verses, and that's all. Since the time when I understood that I don't have a nature suited to poetry, I've ceased to compose verse. (282)


Compare {169,4}. (232, 303)



This verse, like {106,1}, plays with paradoxes of seeing. The first line, in proper mushairah-verse style, is strange and puzzling. Even as the lover is obviously seeing, or at least looking at (a distinction impossible to make in Urdu), the jewels in the beloved's elaborate cap or turban, he indignantly denies that that's anything he would do (unusually, kyaa has only its negative exclamatory meaning). After duly waiting in suspense for the second line, we discover that what he's really looking at, or seeing, is the height of the fortune of ruby and pearl.

As the commentators note, the lover sees the jewels not as adornments (and thus in some sense as 'jewels'), but as (unworthy?) recipients of a lofty destiny. Instead of their adorning the beloved, he or she adorns them. Surely it's a loftier destiny than they deserve! They are allowed to be close to the beloved's beautiful head, and to remain there in intimate contact-- which is far more access than the lover may ever be allowed to have. Thus the speaker looks at them not as jewels but almost as Rivals, and can't help but feel envious of their good fortune.

An equally clever meaning, one that the commentators ignore, is a complimentary allusion to the beloved's tall, graceful stature. By being placed atop the beloved's head, the jewels are raised to a literal as well as a figurative 'height' of fortune. (The word :taala(( plays on this idea too.) For more on the beloved's tall stature, see {38,4}.

And speaking of commentators, Shadan is in a class by himself, isn't he? He's a favorite of mine. He so often plaintively laments that he doesn't understand a verse-- and then proceeds to rewrite it, to show how Ghalib could have made it clearer! In his commentary on the present verse, he inserts some formally identical verses of his own-- but only, he says wistfully, because he now realizes that he has no gift for poetry, so his only chance to preserve a few of his verses is through his commentary! For someone who has no pretensions to interpretive talent to spend so many hours of his life writing a commentary-- isn't that a very real labor of love?

The verse cited by Arshi, {169,4}, is in fact very similar; it contains the word auj and the same cleverness about 'heights' of fortune.