Ghazal 164, Verse 6


dil havaa-e ;xiraam-e naaz se phir
ma;hsharistaan-e be-qaraarii hai

1) the heart, from the {desire for / breeze of} the gait of coquetry, again
2) is a {Doomsday/collection}-place of restlessness/instability


ma;hshar : 'A place of assembly or congregation; .... the day of the place of congregation, the day of judgment'. (Platts p.1009)


be-qaraarii : 'Restlessness, uneasiness, anxiety, discomposure, disquietude; instability, inconstancy, variableness, fluctuation'. (Platts p.203)


The cause for affinity is that they always use ma;hshar as a simile for ;xiraam . (177)

== Nazm page 177

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, in ardor for the beloved's gait of coquetry, again our heart has become, for restlessness, a field of Doomsday/collection. (237)

Bekhud Mohani:

In the longing to see the beloved's gait of coquetry, again the heart has become a Doomsday/collection place. That is, in the heart are a crowd of restlessnesses. (They give as a simile for the gait of the beloved, the mischief of Doomsday.) (319)


DOOMSDAY: {10,11}

This is a lovely verse of wordplay. The word havaa can mean either 'desire' or 'breeze'; for a verse that plays (even more clearly) with this double sense, see {8,3}.

If we take havaa to mean 'desire', then we have the heart longing to see the beloved's coquettish style of walking. This desire makes the heart a 'Doomsday' of restlessness. Although ma;hshar literally means 'gathering-place', it's often used, by extension, synonymously with qiyaamat , for the Day of Judgment, and thus metaphorically for any great, terrible, catastrophic situation. This 'Doomsday' scenario is doubly appropriate because it's so common in the ghazal world for everything the beloved is or does to be referred to as a 'Doomsday' in its power and effect: for many examples, see {10,11}. So the lover's heart is a final gathering-place, beyond the grave, of all the 'restlessness' in the world, all collected together in one ultimate, doomed, desire: not even to possess the beloved, but merely to behold her deadly, irresistible way of sauntering along.

If we take havaa to mean 'breeze', then we have an actual physical effect: as the beloved walks along, the breeze of her passage (bearing, as it always does, traces of her intoxicating perfume) reaches the lover. And just as the same breeze disorders the wounded lovers in {8,3}, causing them to writhe, here too it inwardly disorders the lover, causing him to feel all the restlessness in the world: he is 'blown' into a state of 'instability' and 'fluctuation' that is itself very like the movement of the breeze.

Also enjoyable is the word- and meaning-play involving the two poles of being 'collected' or 'gathered', versus being 'restless' or 'unstable'. (For an intriguing parallel, see the use of pareshaan in {111,8}.) The heart is a 'collection-place' for a state in which one can't 'collect' oneself.

And what is the midpoint between these two poles of collectedness and instability? Surely a process of steady movement-- a process of walking, a 'gait'. Walking will take one to a gathering-place; walking will also express, or channel, or exhaust, one's 'restlessness'. So it's the beloved's 'gait'-- not her glance, her curls, her henna-ed fingers, etc.-- that operates here so appropriately on the lover.

Since mahshar already explicitly contains the idea of 'place', why do we need to call it a mahsharistaan , a 'gathering-place-place'? I can't see any benefit to the verse from the redoubled 'place' information. Could it be that we're actually catching Ghalib in a small bit of 'padding'? On the question of padding in general, see {17,9}. And for a much more egregious case of adding istaan , see {226,8x}.