Ghazal 125, Verse 9


bataa))o us mizhah ko dekh kar kih mujh ko qaraar
yih nesh ho rag-e jaa;N me;N faro to kyuu;Nkar ho

1) tell me-- having seen those eyelashes-- [whether/how] I would have composure/patience!
2) if this lancet/sting would be buried/subdued in the jugular vein, then how would it occur/be?


nesh : 'Sting (esp. of a venomous animal); —a lancet; a probe'. (Platts p.1167)


faro : 'Down; below, beneath, under; — faro karnaa , v.t. To put or keep down, to restrain, subdue, suppress, quell: — faro honaa , v.n. To go down, to subside; to become low, to be reduced'. (Platts p.780


According to the Urdu taste, to shorten [the zhah syllable] of mizhah seems bad. Here the author has followed the Persian-speakers. In this verse is extreme convolutedness; in prose we'll say it like this: having seen her those eyelashes, tell me-- if such a lancet would be buried in an artery, then how would I have any composure? (135)

== Nazm page 135

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, oh Hazrat Advisor, your counsel that I should not be restless, that I should show endurance-- I receive it most respectfully. But please just look at that cruel one's eyelashes and tell me: when such a lancet has penetrated the heart, how can there be endurance and composure? (190)

Bekhud Mohani:

In this verse there is convolutedness; but Mirza wants to say so much in one verse, that it can fit only with difficulty into the meter. The phrase bataa))o us mizhah ko dekh kar is the life of the verse, and it is also the cause of the convolutedness. The fact is that compared to the excellence of the theme, Mirza and all the elders in olden times didn't care about the words.

[Shortening the zhah syllable] was exactly the Urdu taste. Shaikh Nasikh says: [an example of the same usage]. (254)



On the ambiguities of kyuu;Nkar , see {125,1}.

Bekhud Mohani is right that the vigorous exclamatory energy of bataa))oo us mizhah ko dekh kar is the heart of the verse. Colloquially, the verb is omitted from the first line; we readily supply the subjunctive ho , but then the 'whether' or 'how' is also missing, and that too we have to add-- probably in the form of kyaa-- to fulfill the intention of the line. These multiple omissions are what Nazm and Bekhud Mohani refer to as 'convolutedness' [ta((qiid]; it's a sort of allusive sketchiness of grammar that requires work on the part of the reader-- a preliminary task, even before the usual interpretive work we must do once the grammar has been established.

The grammar of the first line also makes possible the attribution of the 'midpoint' absolutive dekh kar to either the speaker ('Tell me-- once I've seen... ') or the addressee ('Now that you've seen them, tell me... ').

A lancet [nashtar] was used in early medical practice to make an incision in a vein and let out blood, to relieve feverishness or delirium; thus bleeding would be an appropriate treatment for a hysterical lover crazed by the nearness of the beloved. For more on lancets, see {166,2}. The variant form nesh can also mean 'sting', as in a snakebite, but a lancet (which aims for a vein) offers more connection than does a sting (which has no special aim), so the 'sting' meaning seems secondary.

Bleeding of course involved minor veins and not the jugular vein (literally, 'vein of life'); but then, the lover is a special case, and for him this ultimate treatment might be the only genuinely effective one. It would most probably prove fatal; but then, that might be part of what makes it so fascinating and desirable for him to speculate about.

The grammar of the second line, like that of the first, offers some enjoyable ambiguities. Here are some possible readings:

='If this lancet would be buried in my jugular vein, what would that be like?!' Because I'm thinking this so thrillingly all the time, I naturally can't have any composure.

=If this lancet would be buried in somebody's jugular vein (as it is in mine) then how would it be possible for that person to maintain composure? You just take a look at it, and tell me!

=If this lancet would be inserted into my jugular vein to bleed me, then indeed after that drastic medical treatment I might be less delirious and have some composure; but how could this be arranged?

=Since this lancet penetrates deep in my eyes and veins and heart, I can't have any peace or composure. If only it could be plunged fatally into my jugular vein, and thus put me out of my misery, it would be a real kindness! But how could this be arranged?