Ghazal 158, Verse 7


na:z:zaare ne bhii kaam kiyaa vaa;N naqaab kaa
mastii se har nigah tire ru;x par bikhar ga))ii

1) there, even/also vision did the work of a veil
2) through intoxication, every gaze became dispersed/scattered on your face


bikharnaa : 'To be scattered, strewn, spread, dispersed; to be sown broadcast; to be disordered, disarranged, tossed, dishevelled (as hair); to be wasted, spoiled, ruined'. (Platts p.161)


That is, by the time it reached your face, the glance was so intoxicated that it became scattered, and its every thread became separated, and those scattered threads, like a veil, blocked the gaze. The simile of a thread for the glance is well-known. The freshness is that the threads of the glance have been opened out and a veil has come into being out of them.... [Such an apt simile] produces an effect of astonishment in the listener's mind. Here, the author has used the word har to make the whole veil. The meaning of the verse is that, seeing your face, such self-transcendence occurred that everyone remained deprived of the pleasure of sight. (170)

== Nazm page 170

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, reaching the beloved's face, the glance became so intoxicated that, like her curls, it became disordered and scattered. And like the skirt of a veil, the gaze was blocked, as if it itself had become a veil. (227)

Bekhud Mohani:

That is, the observer became so self-less that he could see nothing. It's a matchless idea. (304)


Compare {53,2}, {115,3}, {152,5}, {214,7}. (196, 262, 277, 307)


GAZE: {10,12}
VEIL: {6,1}

Ghalib famously, or infamously, loves to play with paradox, and here's a fine example. The beloved's face is so intoxicating that everyone is irresistibly drawn to look at her, but also so intoxicating that nobody can see her. (Or Him, since this verse so strongly invites a mystical reading as well.) Vision itself acts as a veil.

Ghalib plays with this kind of paradox of vision versus invisibility in many other verses as well. My favorite in this context is {115,3}, in which the beloved's face doesn't intoxicate the glance (like wine), but actually melts it down (like the sun). Then there's also {214,7}, in which the beloved's face dazzles the glance (like lightning).