Ghazal 169, Verse 4


gauhar ko ((aqd-e gardan-e ;xuubaa;N me;N dekhnaa
kyaa auj par sitaarah-e gauhar-farosh hai

1) {look at / to see} the pearl in the knot/collar at the lovely ones' neck--
2) at what a height is the fortune/'star' of the pearl-seller!


((aqd : 'A tie, knot; —(prob. corr. fr. A. i((qd ) a necklace, a collar'. (Platts pp.762-63)


dekhnaa has two meanings: one is an imperative, addressed to a listener; and the other is an infinitive, and in that case 'for the pearl-seller to see' is meant, and he has expressed jealousy/envy of him. (189)

== Nazm page 189

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'To see a pearl garland on the necks of beautiful ones has been vouchsafed-- at what a height is the star of the pearl-seller!' (244)

Bekhud Mohani:

Look at how glittering nowadays is the fortune of the jeweler, that the beloved has worn around her neck a pearl garland brought by him! That is, he feels jealousy/envy of his fortune: that 'He's better than we are'. (331)


Compare {106,4}. (232, 303)



Compared to the dense, unresolvable knot of meanings in {169,3}, how clever, controlled, and charming this little verse is. It's really a nicely turned display of wit. It has a very enjoyable double meaning, but not a triple or quadruple or indefinitely complex one. (We deserve a break.)

The first meaning is the one the commentators all emphasize. The pearl-seller is very lucky. Since astrological influences pervade the world of the ghazal, this means that his 'star is in the ascendant', his star is at a 'height' that brings him good fortune. He is lucky because the beloved has condescended to wear his pearl in a necklace, and even luckier because he seems perhaps to have the chance actually to see her doing so. The commentators tend to insist on the poet's jealousy/envy of him, but even if we don't overdo that possibility, the very idea of the pearl-seller's own (metaphorical or real) presence-- so un-obvious, so unnecessary or even inappropriate-- adds another implicit gaze besides the speaker's, and thus creates a piquant complication in the verse.

The second meaning hinges on the beloved's tallness; for more on this, see {38,4}. The beloved is wearing the pearl not in a long garland such as the commentators mostly envision-- they use maalaa -- but specifically in a 'knot' at her neck, something like a choker or collar. Thus the pearl-seller's finest pearl, the 'star' of his collection, is at a 'height' off the ground that moves the lover to rapturous admiration of the beloved's tall, elegant, cypress-like stature.

Moreover, the beloved herself is also perhaps a pearl-'displayer'; on the meaning of farosh as 'displayer', see Faruqi's commentary on {67,2}. So conceivably the pearl-seller doesn't have to enter into it at all; the speaker could simply be admiring both the beloved's own height, and the 'height' of her-- or his, since pearls were worn by both sexes-- good fortune and wealth.

Note for grammar fans: ;xubaa;N is technically plural, but it often seems to be used as a kind of abstract singular. And dekhnaa , the infinitive, can of course also act as a neutral imperative.

For another verse that plays with the beloved's height, see {53,13x}.