Ghazal 120, Verse 4

{120,4}

;xudaa sharmaa))e haatho;N ko kih rakhte hai;N kashaakash me;N
kabhii
mere garebaa;N ko kabhii jaanaa;N ke daaman ko

1) may the Lord bring shame upon the hands-- that keep in {tug-of-war / distraction / difficulty}
2) sometimes my collar, sometimes the beloved's garment-hem!

Notes:

kashaakash : 'Repeated pulling; pulling backwards and forwards, or to and fro; jostling, hustling;... great unpleasantness, or grief, or pain; distraction, dilemma, perplexity, difficulty, struggle, contention, wrangle, squabble; attraction, allurement'. (Platts p.835)

 

jaanaa;N , while technically plural, can be poetically used in the singular (as it is here)

Nazm:

That is, at the time of leave-taking, her garment-hem; and in the state of separation, my collar. (128)

== Nazm page 128

Hasrat:

Although jaanaa;N ke daaman is an accurate translation of daaman-e jaanaa;N , it is not eloquent [fa.sii;h]; it's surprising that Ghalib considered its usage permissible. (102)

Bekhud Dihlavi:

In this verse Mirza Sahib has accomplished this full measure of mischievousness: that he has placed the blame for his turmoil of passion and tumult of ardor, upon the innocent hands. (182)

Bekhud Mohani:

Oh God, give these hands a sense of shame! Because at the time of leave-taking they keep in kashaakash the beloved's garment-hem; and in separation, my collar. (242)

FWP:

SETS == EXCLAMATION
CHAK-E GAREBAN: {17,9}
SHAME/HONOR: {3,5}

As Bekhud Dihlavi observes, it's amusing how virtuously the speaker denounces the shamelessness of those evil hands! (Just as though he were not hopelessly attached to them.) May the Lord bring shame upon them, he exclaims. Which is a self-fulfilling prophecy, since they're engaged in scandalous behavior that will bring shame upon them in the normal course of events, even without any divine intervention.

Is the Lord being asked to bring shame upon them in the eyes of others-- finger-pointing, gossip, a humiliating public scandal-- to punish them? Or should they be subject to shame in their own eyes-- giving them a 'sense of shame'-- so that they'd be moved to behave better?

And what exactly is the shameful part? Tugging on the collar? Tugging on the beloved's garment-hem? Tugging on both in turn? Or keeping on tugging (on any or all of these), when the limits of propriety have already been exceeded?

Or maybe 'tugging' itself isn't the real issue, or is only part of the problem: consider all the other possible, and variously and enjoyably relevant (why are we not surprised?) meanings of kashaakash .

Good verses for comparison: {106,1} and {106,2}.

 

And from the sublimely elegant to the truly ridiculous--

(by Wahab Haidar)