Ghazal 155, Verse 4x

{155,4x}

((ishq ke ta;Gaaful se harzah-gard hai ((aalam
ruu-e shash-jihat-aafaaq pusht-e chashm-e zindaa;N hai

1) from the heedlessness of passion, the world is a chatterer/gossiper

2a) the aspect/face of the 'six-directions'-horizon is the disdain/'back of the eye' of/toward a prison-cell
2b) the disdain/'back of the eye' of/toward a prison-cell is the aspect/face of the 'six-directions'-horizon

Notes:

harzah : 'Vain, futile, idle, frivolous, absurd, nonsensical; —s.m. Nonsense, twaddle; —trifles, bagatelles; ... — harzah-gard , s.m. A gad-about, a gossip'. (Platts p.1225)

 

aafaaq : 'Horizons; quarters of the heavens; quarters of the world; regions'. (Platts p.61)

 

pusht-i chashm tang (naazik) kardan : 'To look at with coquetry, with feigned or real disdain, with pride'. (Steingass p.251)

Zamin:

That is, from the side of the living he has looked all around, and now his task has remained only chattering, of which the mover is the heedlessness of passion (the beloved). (387)

Gyan Chand:

pusht-e chashm = ta;Gaaful karnaa . Two meanings are possible. (1) Since lovers have adopted heedlessness toward the world, the world is lost in nonsense-gossip. What are the six directions of the horizon? The heedlessness of the rakish ones.

(2) Since passion has adopted heedlessness toward reality, it is doing nonsense-gossip in the world. From where does the radiance of the horizons come? From the heedlessness of the lovers-- heedlessness that, to them, is from their beloved. The second meaning is closer to the tradition of the ghazal.

== Gyan Chand, p. 388

FWP:

SETS == A,B; SYMMETRY; WORDPLAY
BONDAGE: {1,5}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

The first line makes an assertion, but it's so abstract and vague that we can only hope for clarification from the second line. And do we get it? Ha ha ha, dream on!

The second line only compounds the confusion and amplifies the ambiguities. On the 'back of the eye' [pusht-e chashm] as expressing (arrogant or coquettish) disdain, see {61,5}; see also the definition above of the related Persian idiom. On the 'six directions', see {41,4}. The prison cell is a small, dim place, usually windowless, and presumably its back part is the darkest. What could be a greater contrast to it than the whole, broad, bright, open 'six-directions horizon'? Of course, they're linked by the enjoyable wordplay of 'face' and 'back' and 'eyes'.

So what readings of the first line can explain the equation, in the second line, of what seem to be extreme opposites? Here are two possibilities:

=Because passion is heedless, to it the world seems foolish, narrow, and full of nonsensical gadding about-- the [attention deserved by the] aspect of the whole horizon is the [same as the] disdain shown toward the darkest corner of a prison cell (2a).

=Because passion is heedless, to it the world seems foolish, narrow, and full of nonsensical gadding about-- the disdain shown toward the darkest corner of a prison cell is [the same as that deserved by] the aspect of the whole horizon (2b).

It could also be argued that the unusual harzah-gard has the power of a 'fresh word'.

Not the best verse, but not the worst either. It's the kind in which he sort of over-rotates the abstractions.

Note for grammar fans: In the second line, what of the shash-jihat-aafaaq ? I take the 'six-directions-horizon' to be what I call a noun compound, which is officially called an 'inverted i.zaafat '. For discussion, see {129,6x}.