Ghazal 118, Verse 3


huu;N mun;harif nah kyuu;N rah-o-rasm-e ;savaab se
;Te;Rhaa lagaa hai qa:t qalam-e sar-navisht ko

1) why would I not be turned/disaffected/oblique from the path and custom of religious-merit?
2) the nib has been cut/attached crooked, to the pen of destiny/'head-written'


mun;harif : 'Turned, or altered (from); changed; inverted; turning or departing from allegiance, turning aside (from), disaffected; --crooked; oblique'. (Platts p.1073)


rasm : 'Marking out, delineating, designing; --sketch, outline, model, plan; way followed (in respect of doctrine and practices of religion, &c.)'. (Platts p.592)


qa:t : 'Cutting (a thing) transversely, sideways, or across; cutting or making a pen, cutting the nib of a pen; --the nib of a pen'. (Platts p.792)


qalam : 'A reed; reed-pen, pen; a pencil; a painter's brush; --an engraving tool; --a mode of writing, character, hand-writing'. (Platts p.794)


sar-navisht : 'Written on the forehead'; destiny, fate, lot, fortune'. (Platts p.649)


That is, in my very destiny is that I would remain turned aside from the path of religious merit. (126)

== Nazm page 126

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'Why would I not remain turned away from the path and way of religious merit? The pen with which the writer [kaatib] of destiny writes, its nib was crooked.' (179)

Bekhud Mohani:

This verse can be understood as a rakish [rindaanah] joke. (239)


Compare {161,4}. (248)


WRITING: {7,3}

This verse is an encyclopedic collection of wordplay of all kinds about writing. The word mun;harif comes from the same root as ;harf , which can mean 'nib of a pen' and 'letter of the alphabet' (Platts p.476). Then rasm means not only the usual 'custom', but also 'sketch' or 'outline'; most centrally, qa:t means the nib of a pen; the cutting of the nib of a pen; and a sideways cut. In addition, not only does qalam mean 'pen', etc., but qalam honaa means 'to be cut off'. And then the final major effect: sar-navisht , 'destiny, is that which is 'written on the forehead'.

For 'writing' wordplay, probably the only real rival to this verse is {1,1}. They are similar in their general line of thought as well: both maintain that we humans are like lines (of words or images) on paper, helplessly 'drawn' or 'written' by a casual, careless writer with a crooked pen and a taste for mischief. If we are badly drawn, not only do we acknowledge no guilt-- we firmly lay the responsibility where it belongs: on the pen-wielder.

For after all, it's we who suffer the consequences; remember {110,3}.