Ghazal 143, Verse 7x

{143,7x}

baskih viiraanii se kufr-o-dii;N hu))e zer-o-zabar
gard-e .sa;hraa-e ;haram taa kuuchah-e zunnaar hai

1) {although / to such an extent} through desolation, unbelief/infidelness and belief/faith became topsy-turvy
2) the dust of the desert of the Ka'bah is as far along as the street/lane of the sacred-thread

Notes:

viiraanii : 'Desolation, depopulation, destruction, ruin, dilapidation; desert place'. (Platts p.1209)

 

taa : 'To, until, as far as; as long as, whilst; even to'. (Platts p.303)

 

kuuchah : 'A narrow street, a lane, a narrow passage, an alley'. (Platts p.860)

 

zer-o-zabar : 'Topsy-turvy, higgledy-piggledy, turned upside down, overturned, ruined'. (Platts p.620)

Asi:

Since because of desolation unbelief and belief have become entirely topsy-turvy, today things are such that the dust of the desert of the Ka'bah is found as far as the street of the sacred thread. The meaning is that the revolving of time has spread decline/decay to such an extent that today infidelness and Islam have become the same. (237-38)

Zamin:

The meaning is that when there were idols in the Ka'bah, then it was populated; when the idols were expelled, it became desolate. Desolation made unbelief and belief topsy-turvy, and dust began to fly; this dust flew along and arrived as far as the street of the sacred thread.

But for the Ka'bah to become desolate and be a desert, and for the dust of that desert to fly along and arrive at the street of the sacred thread-- what meaning is has, only Mirza [Ghalib] would know. (359)

Gyan Chand:

Asi did not give, in the meaning of this verse, any cause for the desolation, although the poet did not call unbelief and belief a 'desolation' for no reason. For dust to fly around in the desert is a symbol of desolation. kuuchah-e zunnaar = the circle of the sacred thread; that is, the sacred thread itself.

In the Ka'bah, idols used to be kept; there was great pomp and circumstance. The idols were expelled from there; so to speak, unbelief became desolate. Along with that, through the expulsion of the idols from the house of the Ka'bah the pomp and circumstance steadily departed. Thus the courtyard of the Ka'bah became desolate. If the courtyard of the Ka'bah would be taken as a sign of faith, then in faith too a state of desolation came about. So to speak, from the Ka'bah to the sacred-thread-wearing idol-worshipers, there is nothing but desolation.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 365-366

FWP:

SETS == BASKIH
RELIGIONS: {60,2}
ROAD: {10,12}

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}.

On the zunnaar , see {60,8}.

The verse takes clever advantage of baskih with its possible meanings of either 'although' or 'to such an extent' (on these see {1,5}). By no coincidence, they both work intriguingly with the second line. If we take baskih to mean 'although', then despite the fact that unbelief and belief have been inverted or overturned somehow, they still remain in touch with each other. And if we take baskih to mean 'to such an extent', the effect is that unbelief and belief have been jumbled together so radically that their dust has mingled.

What kind of viiraanii would have created these effects? The commentators unanimously maintain that the cause is the expulsion of the idols from the Ka'bah. Nothing in the verse requires us to think so, but it's surely the most piquant possibility. And it has the advantage of accounting for the direction of travel: sacred desert-dust reaches the precincts of idol-temples, rather than the other way around.

Gyan Chand to the contrary, the long, narrow sacred thread as a long, narrow (and dusty) 'road' is perfectly plausible. In fact in {60,8} the same metaphor is used very explicitly.