Ghazal 176, Verse 5


yih ((umr bhar jo pareshaaniyaa;N u;Thaa))ii hai;N ham ne
tumhaare aa))iyo ay :turrah'haa-e ;xam bah ;xam aage

1a) these confusions/disarrangements that we have borne for our whole life--
1b) since we have borne these confusions/disarrangements for our whole life--

2) oh curls with twist upon twist-- may they come before you!


pareshaanii : 'Dispersion, scattering, confusion, disorder, derangement, perplexity, bewilderment, perturbation, distraction; distress, embarrassment, trouble, misery'. (Platts p.259)


aa))iyo is the third-person future imperative of aanaa (GRAMMAR)


:turrah : 'Hair, or a fringe of hair, on the forehead; a forelock; a curl, ringlet.... (met.) the best, of the cream (of a thing)'. (Platts p.752)


May they come before you, and may you yourself suffer for it, and you're welcome to them, etc. (197)

== Nazm page 197; Nazm page 198

Bekhud Dihlavi:

'May it come before you' is a kind of curse.... Mirza says, oh beloved's curls full of twists, since we have [jo ham ne] endured confusions/disarrangements our whole life long because of you, may it come before you-- that is, may the Lord avenge your giving us this trouble. (256)

Bekhud Mohani:

Alas, fie upon you, love! Even if the tyrant cursed, then it was in such a way that the curse turned into a blessing. Because confusion/disarrangement is itself a quality of curls. (347)


CURLS: {14,6}

This is one of the many verses that engage in wonderful word- and meaning-play involving pareshaanii , in its literal sense of 'disorder, disarrangement', juxtaposed to its metaphorical sense (by an obvious extension) of 'worry, anxiety'-- mental disorder or arrangement. The commentators point out that 'may X come upon you' is a kind of curse. The speaker wishes that the pareshaaniyaa;N may come 'upon' (literally, 'before') the beloved-- or, more precisely, upon her curls. Why such an apparently hostile wish? Needless to say, we're left to figure out for ourselves exactly what is going on. Here are some possibilities:

=Since we've suffered all our life from 'anxiety and trouble' over you, oh entirely twisting curls, may we have justice: may the same 'disorder and disarrangement' afflict you in your turn! (Since the curls are so entirely twisting, if they became disordered it would be a truly alarming task for them to sort themselves out again, so this would make a very satisfactory punishment for them.) This reading emphasizes a quest for justice.

=Since we've already endured these pareshaaniyaa;N for a whole lifetime, and now they've finally killed us, it's your turn, oh curls-- you're a perfect home for them, you take them on! This reading expresses the passing on of a legacy; it doesn't tell us anything about whether this legacy is a favor, a curse, or something else; and it glosses over the double sense of the word most elegantly. (For more cases in which the lover worries about what will happen to this or that when he's gone, see {57}.)

=These very pareshaaniyaa;N that have been afflicting me-- may these very ones be passed on to you! (This is a kind of literal-minded curse.)

=Since we've borne a lifetime full of 'anxiety and trouble', oh curls, may we be rewarded by appearing before you-- you who have such an affinity with 'disorder and disarrangement', you might appreciate us at last.

The versatile little jo can be read in two ways. It can be taken as the relative, yih jo pareshaaniyaa;N ham ne , so that it directly applies to the pareshaaniyaa;N (1a). Or it can be read more freely as a kind of 'since' or 'in that': jo ham ne yih pareshaaniyaa;N (1b). By now I hardly have to point out that both senses work very cleverly-- though differently-- with the second line.

For another wonderful parallel drawn between the beloved's long dark curls and the lover's long dark thoughts, see {71,2}; though the word pareshaanii doesn't literally appear in the verse, it hovers noticeably right in the background. A subtler case in point is {111,8}, which again juxtaposes-- by the strong power of implication-- the beloved's tangled curls and the lover's anxious thoughts.