Ghazal 153, Verse 6


garchih hai :tarz-e ta;Gaaful pardah-daar-e raaz-e ((ishq
par ham aise kho))e jaate hai;N kih vuh paa jaa))e hai

1) although the style of heedlessness is the veil-keeper of the secret/mystery of passion
2) we are [caused to be] lost in such a way that she/He {finds us / finds out}


ta;Gaaful : 'Unmindfulness, heedlessness, forgetfulness, neglect, negligence, inattention, inadvertence, indifference, listlessness'. (Platts p.328)


pardah-daar : 'Confidential, secret;... Kept, or remaining, behind a curtain; modest'. (Platts p.246)


jaa))e hai is an archaic form of jaataa hai (GRAMMAR)


Having gone before her, we become lost in such a way-- that is, become transported out of ourselves-- that she finds us. That is, she understands that we are under a magic spell-- although she maintains the style of heedlessness, so that some concealment of the secret of my heart would remain. It should be remembered that kho))e jaanaa with hai is for the meaning of self-obliviousness; if one would say kho jaanaa then this meaning will not arise. (165)

== Nazm page 165

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, although her averting of her eyes-- that is, inattention-- is a veil-keeper of the secret of love, before her we become senseless and outside ourselves in such a way that she becomes aware of the secret of passion. kho))e jaane se [sic] and paa jaanaa -- he has used such idioms in this verse that sufficient praise is impossible. (221)

Bekhud Mohani:

In this verse he has covertly [dar-pardah] expressed the idea that she is so beautiful that we want a hundred thousand times to keep hold of our senses, but we are not successful.

[The commentator] Shaukat says: 'Although the beloved's style of heedlessness is the veil-keeper of the secret of passion-- that is, the secret of passion is not revealed to anyone-- still, when she practices heedlessness before us, we don't remain in our senses, so that she guesses.' The Lord knows how he came up with this meaning!

[Or:] Because of the beloved's style of heedlessness, a curtain still covers the secret of my passion-- that is, the people of the gathering don't realize. Or she herself, in order to keep me restless or prevent me from being insolent, practices heedlessness. But I understand this much: that she certainly understands the state of my heart. (296-97)


Momin has expressed the theme like this:

shab bazm-e ;Gair me;N jo vuh aa;Nkhe;N churaa ga))e
kho))e ga))e ham aise kih a;Gyaar paa ga))e

[last night, in the gathering of the Other, when she averted her eyes
we became lost in such a way that the Others found out/us] (662)


VEIL: {6,1}

Whose is the 'style of heedlessness', and whose is the 'secret of passion'? We can assume that the 'passion' belongs to the lover, but either the lover or the beloved may know the 'secret of passion'; and either the lover or the beloved may feign 'heedlessness' in order to maintain a proper public facade. Some of the resulting possible permutations are explored by the commentators. If we add in mystical interpretations, the possibilities multiply further.

Bekhud Dihlavi points to the witty, idiomatic use of expressions for 'losing' and 'finding'. Ghalib has done this kind of thing before: for examples, see {4,6}. In particular, paa jaanaa can have the double sense either of 'finding the speaker' (since he's been lost, either by the finder or by some other agent); or of 'finding out' (information, such as the 'secret of passion'). For another example of this double use of paanaa , see {4,1}.

Note for grammar fans: Some confusion might arise in this case because khonaa can be either a transitive (taking ne ) or intransitive (not taking ne ) verb, with no change in its spelling. But the grammar is clear: it's the transitive form of the verb (in the passive present habitual), since only the transitive form can be made into a true passive. (Well, with a few rare exceptions, but not the kind we see here.) It's possible to confuse the true passive kho))e jaate hai;N , made from the transitive, with the compound-verb form kho jaate hai;N , made from the intransitive-- but not if you're a grammar fan. There's also, just conceivably, the reading kho))e hu))e jaate hai;N -- we 'go around in a state of having been lost'-- with the hu))e colloquially omitted, but the ordinary passive reading is more plausible here.