Ghazal 113, Verse 5


nikohish maan((a-e berab:tii-e shor-e junuu;N aa))ii
hu))aa hai ;xandah-e a;hbaab ba;xyah jeb-o-daaman me;N

1) contempt/reproach forbade the irregularity/disorder of the tumult of madness
2) the companions' smile has become the stitching in neck-opening and garment-hem


nikohish : 'Spurning, rejecting, despising; chiding; reproach, blame; scorn, contempt; rejection'. (Platts p.1149)


maan((a aanaa = maan((a honaa , 'to be a forbidder' (a translated Persianism).


be-rab:t : 'Irregular, contrary to rule'. (Platts p.203)


shor : 'Cry, noise, outcry, exclamation, din, clamour, uproar, tumult, disturbance'. (Platts p.736)


The blame of companions forbade the tumult, as if the companions' smile became the stitching of the collar [garebaa;N]. But by 'smile' is meant 'teeth-baring smile' [;xandah-e dandaan-numaa], so that it would acquire a similitude with stitching. (122)

== Nazm page 122

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, my companions' blame has proved to be a halting force for the tumult of madness, and their teeth-baring smile has become the stitching of my torn collar [chaak-e garebaa;N]. The meaning is that the taunts of friends have prevented me from wandering. (172)

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, when from fear that the companions would laugh at my desperate condition, I didn't rip the collar and garment-hem into shreds, then it was as if blame had halted the anxious state of the tumult of madness.

[Or:] The tumult of madness did not become less because of companions' blame. That is, every time they laughed, my madness increased, so that it was as if the stitching of collar and hem had become the companions' smiles. That is, on the one hand their lips opened, on the other hand the stitching of my collar was taken out. (229)


MADNESS: {14,3}

The commentators assume that the contempt is felt by the companions for the lover; but it's also possible that the reference is to the contempt or rejection that he feels toward them; perhaps they aren't worthy of the sight of the full effects of his passion. Consider {19,1} and {7,6}, in which the lover seems to take a patronizing, superior attitude toward his naive and incompetent friends: what a lot of things he knows that they don't! In the present verse too, he is perhaps secretly glorying in their fatuous unawareness of his future collar-ripping plans. (Mutual contempt between him and them, of course, would be the most piquant situation of all.)

Why did the companions' smiles become stitching in the collar and garment-hem? Possibly because they were 'teeth-baring smiles' of contempt, as Nazm says, so that the rows of white teeth were like stitches; and the intimidated lover thought it better to hide his madness. Or possibly because the lover's patronizing, disdainful desire to keep his naive companions happy and smiling caused him to temporarily, outwardly, restrain his madness.

But above all, because his companions' smiles, like the stitches in the lover's collar, are doomed to last only a very short time. Just as the lover persistently and incorrigibly rips open his collar, so will he persistently and incorrigibly (and disdainfully?) disappoint and baffle his friends, turning their short-lived, hopeful (?) smiles to frowns of frustration. If their smiles are later renewed, so will be their frustration, since the lover's fate is ineluctable. Their smiles, like his own sighs (as in {111,11}), can only make a vain show of 'stitching up' the constantly renewed rips in his garments.

This verse gave me the urge to check on some occurrences of 'smile'; every single one I've found has been in a context of hostility, pity, contempt, or some other kind of negative emotion. For a list, see {27,4}.

Smiles join people together, they sew up or mend any rips in the social fabric; as stitching-up and covering-over devices, they are the opposite of 'disorder' or 'irregularity' [be-rab:tii]. As symbols of decorous, compliant self-presentation in public, smiles are also the opposite of 'tumult' and 'madness'. They achieve something-- a limited something, for a limited time. Then they are doomed, like the stitches in the lover's collar with which they are identified. The tumult of madness, and also the presence of real (and maybe even mutual?) contempt, will soon undermine any show of cheerful social conformity. 'Contempt' [nikohish] is, after all, a remarkably strong and stark word.