Ghazal 115, Verse 4


dashnah-e ;Gamzah jaa;N-sitaa;N naavak-e naaz be-panaah
teraa hii ((aks-e ru;x sahii saamne tere aa))e kyuu;N

1a) the dagger of the glance/gaze is life-stealing, the arrow of coquetry is un-eludable
1b) the life-stealing dagger of the glance/gaze, the un-eludable arrow of coquetry--

2) even if it would be the reflection of only/emphatically your own face-- how/why would it come before you?!


((aks : 'The reverse (of), the converse, or the contrary (of); counterpart; inversion; reflection... , a shadow, a reflected image (as in a mirror, or water, &c.)'. (Platts p.763)


kyuu;N : 'Why? wherefore? how? what? well?'. (Platts p.890)


The meaning is that nobody is able to come before you, whether it be some other, or your own reflection. Even if in a mirror your dagger and arrow come before you, then what state will you be in? (123-24)

== Nazm page 123; Nazm page 124

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, with such a face in which the dagger of the glance is life-stealing, and the arrow of coquetry is un-eludable, it's not good for anybody to come face-to-face with you. That is, whoever comes will be slain. Now if the mirror comes before you, and in it your reflection bearing dagger and arrow confronts you, then tell me, what state will you be in? (175)

Bekhud Mohani:

The dagger of your glance is life-taking, and the arrows of coquetry are un-eludable. Nobody should come before you; and even if the reflection of your own face comes before you, then it won't be well for it. (233)


ARCHERY: {6,2}
GAZE: {10,12}
MIRROR: {8,3}
SWORD: {1,3}

For general discussion of the structural qualities of this ghazal, see {115,1}.

Here's a beautiful twist on the old puzzler about the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. The beloved's glance is a fatal dagger; her airs and graces are un-eludable; anyone or anything rash enough to come before her and look her in the eye is done for. (In fact, this makes the beloved sound like the proverbial basilisk, or a Medusa.)

So what happens if what comes before her is a mirror, bearing her own image? When the dagger of her glance duels with the reflected dagger of her glance, can there be a winner? Can there even be a survivor of such a collision-- might they not explode each other, like matter and anti-matter? Why would the reflection take such a risk and come before her? Why would she take such a risk and let the reflection come before her? Thus the hii works beautifully-- either it's 'only' her own reflection, or it's 'emphatically' her own reflection, that's in question.

This is a classic mushairah verse, ideal for oral presentation-- the first line is uninterpretable until we hear the second, and the second is uninterpretable until the 'punch' at the very end.

On the colloquial sahii , see {9,4}. As for the awkward 'un-eludable', I made it up because 'inescapable', the obvious choice, is too fossilized as a general adjective in English; it has mostly lost the sense of the chase. The literal meaning of be-panaah is 'without refuge'-- something from which there is no refuge, something that hunts you down no matter how desperately you flee.

Compare {438x,6}, a less powerful presentation of a similar idea.