Ghazal 120, Verse 3


nah niklaa aa;Nkh se terii ik aa;Nsuu us jaraa;hat par
kiyaa siine me;N jis ne ;xuu;N-chakaa;N mizhgaan-e sozan ko

1) not a single tear fell from your eye, over that wound
2) [the wound] that, in the stitching/breast, made the eyelashes of the needle blood-dripping



By 'needle' is meant the 'needle of grief', the place of which is inside the breast. And if we don't take 'needle' as this metaphor, then the verse will become commonplace [((aamiyaanah], the way unintelligent poets versify unreal [;Gair-vaaqi((ii] things. Here, if in place of 'breast' [siinah] you consider it to be 'stitching' [siinaa], then there's no need of a metaphor. (128)

== Nazm page 128

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, having heard the state of those wounds, not even a single teardrop fell from your eye-- the wounds in my heart that caused blood to flow from the eyes of the needle of grief. (181-82)

Bekhud Mohani:

How pitiless you are! You're human, yet you didn't weep over a wound over which the eye of the needle, which is soulless, wept blood. (242)


EYES {3,1}

'DOUBLE ACTIVATION' VERSES: {13,1}, pardah ; {16,4}; {18,7x}; {20,3}, ((ahd ba;Ndhnaa ; {26,4}, gaaliyaa;N khaanaa ; {27,10x}, ;Gubaar ; {48,10}, havaa ; {49,5}; {50,3}, ;harf ; {58,5}, saudaa ; {62,10}, naale ; {77,4}*, shor ; {81,5}, nikalnaa (evoked); {81,7x}; {84,3x}, gird/gard; {89,3}, qasam khaanaa ; {100,2}, muqaddar ; {100,3}, man;zuur ; {100,4}; {120,3}, siine ; {120,6}**, kaa;N ; {121,1}; {152,1}; {156,2x}, Zamin explains; {166,7x}**; {167,6}, qalam honaa ; {169,14x}; {172,3}; {180,7}, kaam ; {183,6}**, triple; {183,7}; {193,2}, aab ; {217,2}; {217,5}**, u;Thaanaa ; [227,2}, fashaar ; {229,6} // {428x,6}*

ABOUT 'DOUBLE ACTIVATION': The present verse is a clever, enjoyable example of wordplay. And in classic mushairah-verse style, it not only refuses to yield its full meaning until the very last moment, but actually misdirects the reader or hearer. For after the first line speaks of what is obviously a grievous wound, the second line seems at first simply to locate it: it's found, naturally, 'in the breast' [siine me;N], where the lover's mortal wound must always be.

Not until we hear, at the last possible moment, the word 'needle' [sozan], do we realize that we need to go back and revise our reading. And not substitutionally revise it (by replacing one meaning with another), but expand it into two separate readings. For the heart (sorry, sorry) of the verse is siine me;N , which contains the oblique forms of both siinah , 'breast, chest', and siinaa , 'to stitch, to sew'. Since both nouns look the same in the oblique, they aren't even homonyms as they normally are, but must be undecideably both present at once, like the properties of light. And since both nouns would yield a completely, equally, fine and appropriate meaning in that position in that sentence, neither can be at all preferred over the other. This makes it an excellent example of what I have decided to call 'double activation'.

For discussion of such 'double activation' examples in Mir, see M{15,1}. And here is a piquant modern example by Nasir Turabi (from ((aks-e faryaadii , p. 112, with thanks to Zahra Sabri):

yih bhii hai ek zindagii yuu;N bhii sahii kabhii kabhii
apnaa to bojh utar gayaa , apnii to haar ho chukii

The sahii can be from sahnaa , or else it can be part of the idiomatic expression yuu;N bhii sahii .

Either 'in the breast' (where the wound is located), or 'in stitching' (while the process of sewing up the wound was under way), the wound made the eyelashes of the needle 'blood-dripping'. It did this either by (1) bleeding so grievously that the needle's eye became physically saturated with blood; or by (2) offering such a melancholy sight that the eye of the needle actually wept tears of deep emotion and compassion-- the proverbial 'tears of blood' such as lovers constantly weep-- at the sight of it.

Equipping the needle not only with an 'eye'-- which it always has, in Urdu just as primally as in English-- is supplemented by equipping the needle's eye with 'eyelashes', which it normally doesn't have in Urdu any more than in English. That might seem at first glance (so to speak) to work in favor of the 'pathetic fallacy' meaning (2); but the matter is not so simple. The polish-marks on a mirror can seek to be metallic 'eyelashes' too, as in {17,4}, in response to the beloved's radiance, but without any such quivering, emotional anthropomorphism.

This verse has two beautiful cousins {97,11} and {97,12} whose greater glory of metaphor might seem to overshadow it; but if they have glory, this one has wit.