Ghazal 172, Verse 2


dekhnaa ;haalat mire dil kii ham-aa;Goshii ke vaqt
hai nigaah-e aashnaa teraa sar-e har muu mujhe

1) look at the state of my heart, at the time of embracing
2) it is a familiar/knowing/known gaze, the tip/'head' of your every hair, to me


aashnaa : 'Acquaintance; friend; associate; intimate friend, familiar; lover.... knowing, known; attached.... friendly, attentive'. (Platts p.57)


Among poets who compose in Persian and Urdu the idea has grown up that they always tangle up hearts in curls. From this, the author has extracted the theme that when the heart has remained for years entangled in curls, then there's a longtime friendship between the curls and the heart, and the end of every hair of the curls has become a familar gaze, and it well knows the heart's familiar condition. And if we take 'the tip of every hair' as unrestrictive [((aam], then the meaning is still suitable-- that is, at the time of embracing your every hair-end will become a familiar glance to see the condition of my heart. (192)

== Nazm page 192

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, at the time of embracing, the state of my heart will be worth seeing-- that is, this is the very heart that has already been enchained for years by your curls. Thus it considers your every hair to be a familiar gaze, and a friend very well knows the state of a friend's heart. (248)

Bekhud Mohani:

In the midst of union, the lover is saying to the beloved, at this time the state of my heart is worth seeing: your every hair seems to me to be a familiar gaze. That is, your every hair is is acting as a gaze full of love. That is, when merely one gaze full of love from you used to render me mad, now your every hair has become a loving glance. Now you yourself guess what the state of my heart is right now. He expressed it, and expressed it very well.

[Disagreeing with Nazm:] Persian and Urdu poets may certainly have taken up that idea, but that has not a hair's breadth [baal baal] of relevance to this verse. The meaning he has presented is nothing more than a far-fetched account; his second meaning too doesn't appeal to the heart. The Lord knows what he gains from all this scratching away with his pen!....

[The commentator Shaukat says:] 'When my heart will embrace you, then your every hair will become the thread of a glance of familiarity-- that is, you'll obtain enjoyment, and you yourself will become familiar with the drawing power of the heart.' The idea that 'you'll obtain enjoyment'-- although it's true, it's not worthy of being said. (337)


GAZE: {10,12}
‘UNION’: {5,2}

There are an unusual number of ways to put this verse together. Taking the first line alone, how should we connect the adverbial 'midpoint' phrase of time with the main verb? Here are several possibilities

='While we are embracing, look at the state of my heart' (adverbial phrase applies to 'look').
='Look at the state my heart gets into during an embrace' (adverbial phrase applies to the heart's state).
='Look at the state of my heart-- while we are embracing, the tip of every...' (enjambment takes the adverbial phrase on into the second line).

Then there's also the classic 'A,B' decision: how to connect the second line with the first? One reading: 'Look at the state of my heart while we are embracing-- it considers your every hair-end to be a familiar gaze' (because lover and beloved are so intimate, and/or because the lover is mad). Another reading: 'Look at the state of my heart while we are embracing; I'm sure you can see it clearly, because your every hair-end is a familiar gaze (since you know me so well)'.

And what is the 'objective correlative' of all this? It's the well-established likening of the gaze to a thread-- or, in this case, a hair. On the 'thread of the gaze' [taar-e na:zar] see {171,1}; on general 'thread' imagery see {10,12}.

This might certainly seems to be a verse of erotic suggestion, since it speaks of a '(mutual) embrace' [ham-aa;Goshii]. If I understand Bekhud Mohani correctly, he's reproaching Shaukat for hinting at some kind of sexual pleasure to be experienced by the beloved. (He agrees that it's there, but doesn't feel that it ought to be mentioned.) For more on verses of erotic suggestion, see {99,4}. However, the extreme abstraction and complexity surely prevent it from being sexy in any direct and emotional way.

The sound-play of sar-e har and muu mujhe also adds a small nice fillip.