Ghazal 128, Verse 2x


yaa;N rah ga))e hai;N naa;xun-e tadbiir ;Tuu;T kar
jauhar :tilism ((uqdah-e mushkil hai aa))inah

1a) here, the fingernails of contrivance have become and remained broken
1b) here, we have remained with the fingernails of contrivance broken

2) it is an enchantment of polish-lines, a difficult knot, the mirror


jauhar : 'The diversified wavy marks, streaks, or grain of a well-tempered sword; — adj. Bright, shining, glittering'. (Platts p.399)


:tilism : 'A talisman; enchantment, magic; a mystery; mystical devices or characters; an image (or other object) upon which such devices or characters are engraved or inscribed'. (Platts p.753)


That is, a difficult knot can't by any means be opened; its enchantment is the enchantment of the polish-lines of a mirror. He has expressed this meaning like this: ((uqdah-e mushkil kaa :tilism jauhar aa))iinah honaa aa))iinah hai . But because of convolutedness in the construction, [one reads it as] aa))iinah ((uqdah-e mushkil ke jauharo;N kaa :tilism hai . But in this case the verse will be meaningless, because to try to open the threads of polish-lines is not the act of a person who is right in the head.

== Zamin, p. 307

Gyan Chand:

In the second line he has said: our difficult knot, which is jauhar-:tilism , is like a mirror, because a mirror too is jauhar-:tilism . And jauhar-:tilism is a kind of enchantment that would be made up of jauharii sand-grains. Our difficult knot is not a collection of threads or ropes, that would/could be opened with the fingernails. It is, like a mirror, an enchantment of jauhar . Just as the polish-lines of a mirror cannot be separated out, in the same way we, with the fingernails of contrivance, are making a thousand attempts, but we don't manage to open our difficult knot. Our contrivance has remained useless.

== Gyan Chand, p. 315


JAUHAR: {5,4}
MIRROR: {8,3}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

In Persian and Urdu ghazal, the heart is metaphorically a mirror (see for example {12,4x})-- a metal mirror, so that it must be polished in order to reflect clearly the glory of the Lord, and/or the beauty of the beloved. To be polished, its dirt and verdigris must be (painfully) scrubbed away with something like steel wool, so that the face of the mirror becomes covered with tiny scratches and lines.

The melancholy, suffering heart is also, in another famous Persian-Urdu metaphor, a 'knot' that is difficult or impossible to open, even with the 'fingernails of contrivance'; for more on 'knot' verses, see {8,2}.

The present verse has jammed the two metaphors together: the small thread-like polish-lines on the 'mirror' of the heart cannot be untangled as if they were parts of the 'knot' of the heart. Instead, the 'fingernails of contrivance' are left 'broken' by the effort. In an 'enchantment', no rational 'contrivance' will work; Ghalib was a great fan of the :tilism -filled 'Dastan of Amir Hamzah'.

Of course, as Zamin observes, 'to try to open the threads of polish-lines is not the act of a person who is right in the head'. And surely that's part of the point: the crazed lover is behaving like a madman. In his world, 'here' [yaa;N], things are radically confused: he is baffled by his inability to unravel the polish-lines, and believes that the mirror is (under) some kind of 'enchantment' or magic spell.

On the grammar of jauhar :tilism , see {129,6x}.