Ghazal 187, Verse 4x


ba((d az vidaa((-e yaar bah ;xuu;N dar tapiidah hai;N
naqsh-e qadam hai;N ham kaf-e paa-e nigaar ke

1) after the leave-taking of the friend/beloved, we are agitated/palpitating in/through blood
2) we are the footprints of the sole of the foot of the image/beloved


tapiidah : 'Agitated, distressed (esp. with heat), heated; palpitating, fluttering'. (Platts p.751)


naqsh : 'Painting; colouring; drawing; designing, &c.; —delineation; —embroidery; —a painting, a picture; portrait; drawing; a print; a carving, an engraving; ... —an impression; a stamp; a mark'. (Platts p.1145)


qadam : 'The foot; sole of the foot; a foot's length; a footstep, step, pace'. (Platts p.789)


kaf : 'Froth, foam ... ; the palm of the hand; the sole of the foot'. (Steingass p.1036)


nigaar : 'A picture, painting, portrait, effigy; an idol; —a beautiful woman, beauty; mistress, sweetheart'. (Platts p.1150)


naqsh-o-nigaar : 'Decoration, embellishment; — designs; decorations, ornaments; — paintings, pictures'. (Platts p.1145)


After the leave-taking of the friend/beloved, we are writhing in blood, and it seems as if we are her henna-ed footprints. Because a footprint too writhes in the dust-- because of this fallenness he has called himself a footprint, and because of the writhing in blood he has given as a token the henna-ed foot. (230-31)


The reason for giving to the footprint the simile of bloody writhing is that the beloved's feet are henna-ed. In bah ;xuu;N dar the bah is superfluous, and this construction is from Persian. Was the burden of dar tapiidah itself not enough for the shoulder of Urdu, that another bah should be added to it? (347)

Gyan Chand:

After the friend/beloved's going, I am rolling in blood, and am writhing as though I am the footprint of the beloved's red footsteps, because that too rolls, and because of the redness of the foot it writhes in blood.

== Gyan Chand, p. 354


HENNA: {18,4}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Why is the lover (like) the beloved's footprints? Because after her departure the lover writhes in pain; while her gait is gracefully swaying, so that her footsteps might seem to have a side-to-side movement. And most especially because the lover writhes in his heart's blood; while the soles of her feet are reddened with henna, which is more or less blood-colored. For more about henna, see {18,4}.

And also because metaphorically she tramples the lover, crushing him and his heart, reducing him to a bloody writhing footprint. The lover as roadkill-- isn't it kind of a grotesque vision?

There's an enjoyable wordplay about painting between naqsh and nigaar , so that the common paired phrase naqsh-o-nigaar (see the definition above) hovers invisibly above the second line.