Ghazal 124, Verse 4


ubhraa hu))aa naqaab me;N hai un ke ek taar
martaa huu;N mai;N kih yih nah kisii kii nigaah ho

1) there has sprung up within her veil, a single/particular/unique/excellent thread
2) I die, that-- 'may this not be somebody’s gaze!'


ubharnaa : 'To rise, swell, be inflated; to come out fully, be developed;... to run over, overflow; to be or become excited or inflamed;... to be puffed up, be conceited'. (Platts p.6)


That is, I don't care to have anyone's eye to light on the beloved. I even suspect a thread of the veil of being the Rival's glance. This illusion could have been expressed in other ways, but the author has adopted the thread of the veil. (133)

== Nazm page 133

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'In her veil, a thread has sprung up. Having seen it, fear arises in me that the glance of some lover of beauty may have obtained entry within the veil.' Mirza Sahib has written the first line of this verse as an illustration [mi;sl]; by way of a proof of the claim, it would be impossible for a better thought to come to hand. (187)

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, in love, illusion has reached the limit that when within her veil one thread springs up, then I die of envy/jealousy: may it not be the glance of someone eager for sight, that has become entangled in the veil and remained there!


VEIL: {6,1}

The 'thread of the glance' [taar-e nigaah] is a common idiomatic expression; see {15,3} for an example of its use. Here, it is cleverly not quite present: we in the audience must assemble it for ourselves from its two parts divided among the two lines. In proper mushairah-verse style, the second element of it is withheld until the last possible moment, so that we can't really interpret the verse at all until we hear the whole of it. For one and a half out of two lines, we have no idea what is going on in the verse; then suddenly it comes together at the end, and the metaphor yields a delicious burst of flavor.

We might also ask, how does he know what's going on inside her veil? In {97,9}, a mechanism is provided: he knows she's frowning inside her veil because a wrinkle appears on the surface. Here, we might assume that the thread is on the surface of the veil, and thus 'in' the veil only in the sense of being part of the fabric, not in the sense of being concealed by it. And how suitable are the various meanings of ubharnaa (see the definition above) to the various possible situations we're envisioning! It has the scope for a loose thread coming out of the fabric, and/or a desirous or arrogant glance. When combined with the multivalence of ek , the ambiguities further proliferate.

Or we might say that he's imagining the whole thing-- that with the preternaturally keen eyes of a jealous lover he thinks he can see through her veil, and can even find a single thread/gaze lurking there. In which case we realize that the 'thread' of his own gaze has penetrated the veil. Could it be his own gaze that he (thinks he) sees? There's no end to the complexities that this simple little verse can generate.