Ghazal 149, Verse 4

{149,4}

kartaa hai baskih baa;G me;N tuu be-;hijaabiyaa;N
aane lagii hai nak'hat-e gul se ;hayaa mujhe

1) {since / to such an extent} you do unveilings/immodesties in the garden
2) I have begun to feel shame before the scent of the rose

Notes:

be-;hijaabii : 'Appearing unveiled, immodesty, indecency, shamelessness'. (Platts p.202)

Nazm:

That is, I used to consider the scent of the rose to be immodest, since the moment a gust of wind comes, it's out of its robe. But you turned out to be even more immodest than it. The beloved's being immodest and shameless and mischievous too is a style, the way being bashful and remaining in pardah is also a style. (161)

== Nazm page 161

Bekhud Mohani:

I used to consider that the scent of the rose was very immodest, since the moment a gust of wind comes, it's out of its robe. But you turned out to be even more immodest than it.

[Or:] Since you practice immodesty before the scent of the rose, I consider it a Rival and am embarrassed.

[Or:] Refined people don't admit to their houses women who wander from house to house and door to door. That is, you practice immodesties before the scent of the rose, that wanders from street to street; thus I'm embarrassed before the scent of the rose: it will wander around telling everybody about my shamelessnesses.

[Or:] He says that this is not the scent of the rose, it's your perfume. That is, it's not the scent of the rose, it's the perfume of your body. If you don't practice immodesties in the garden, then why does this perfumed scent arise? And since the scent travels a long distance with the wine, and makes no distinction between lovers and non-lovers, I am embarrassed by its freedom. (289)

Faruqi:

Now let's reflect on the reason for being ashamed before the scent of the rose. One reason is the one that Bekhud Dihlavi, etc., have mentioned: that I used to consider the scent of the rose to be freely-moving, and the beloved to be the very essence of shame/modesty. But when the beloved too adopted immodesty, then I was ashamed before the scent of the rose. But a more refined meaning is this: that if somebody has seen you, or someone near to you, doing something objectionable (for example, someone sees your son, or you yourself, commiting a theft), then you'll have cause to be ashamed in front of that person. You won't be able to meet that person's eyes. Thus since the beloved (whom we hold in honor, and about whom we think every good thing) has begun to be unveiled/immodest in front of the flowers, we have thus begun to be ashamed before the scent of the rose.

Here the question can arise, since the beloved was unveiled/immodest before the flowers, why is the shame felt before the scent of the flowers? The reply to this is that the scent of the flowers wanders around and flies from house to house, thus it's possible that it will tell people this secret. It's possible that the scent of the rose might have told this secret even to me myself. Thus it's inevitable to feel shame before the scent of the rose. Then there's this too: that be;hijaabii is equal to 'becoming beside/outside oneself' [aape se baahar ho jaanaa]. For the scent of a flower to fly around is for it to become 'beside/outside itself'. Thus there's the same relationship between the beloved's unveiledness/immodesty and the beloved, as there is between the flower's scent and the flower. (1989: 273) [2006: 296-98]

FWP:

SETS == BASKIH
VEIL: {6,1

Ghalib has cleverly left it up to us to supply the causal logic by which the first line gives rise to the second one. Most fundamentally, we have to decide whether it's because of similarities between the wanton beloved and the wanton rose-scent; or because of differences between the (theoretically at least) secluded beloved and the wanton rose-scent; or simply because the rose-scent is a wandering tale-bearer who will too easily reveal too many secrets. The commentators have laid out a number of possibilities, and I don't have any others to add.

What I especially enjoy is suggestive, provocative energy of be;hijaabiyaa;N -- it's so much more lascivious-sounding than the more commonplace be-hijaabii . It suggests a variety of wanton actions, perhaps of many different kinds, perhaps repeated many times; it invites us to fantasize. For more on such pluralized abstractions, see {1,2}.