Ghazal 189, Verse 9


chaahte hai;N ;xuub-ruuyo;N ko asad
aap kii .suurat to dekhaa chaahiye

1) you want beautiful-faced ones, Asad
2) your 'face'/aspect/guise/situation is worth seeing!


.suurat : 'Form, fashion, figure, shape, semblance, guise; appearance, aspect; face, countenance; prospect, probability; sign, indication; external state (of a thing); state, condition (of a thing), case, predicament, circumstance; effigy, image, statue, picture, portrait; plan, sketch; mental image, idea;--species; specific character, essence;--means; mode, manner, way'. (Platts p.747)


When some individual would seek to transgress beyond his limit, then to chasten him they say, 'just look at your 'face' [;zaraa mu;Nh to dekho]-- is this worthy of that?'. (211)

== Nazm page 211

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, here's something new-- just look at the spectacle! Hazrat Asad too claims to be attracted by beautiful ones! Just please consider his face/aspect. That is, when would any beautiful-faced beloved feel attraction for such an unappealing face? (271)

Bekhud Mohani:

Here's something new-- you want beautiful ones! Just please look at your face. That is, it's a miracle of the Lord-- love between you, and beautiful ones! (370)



This verse marks the beginning of a two-verse verse-set that includes {189,9-10}. Many editors, including Hamid, not only don't mark this verse-set, but also reverse the order of the final two verses of the ghazal. As always, I follow Arshi.

On the grammar of dekhaa chaahiye , see {1,3}.

The wonderfully protean .suurat is a word that ranges constantly from the physical ('face') through the all-purpose ('aspect') to the abstract ('state of affairs'). And here the second line is so vague, yet so charged and forceful-- it's really a moral imperative, something like 'ought to be seen'-- that the whole effect is to call attention to the crucial importance of .suurat (with of course the wordplay of 'looking at' [a face] as a piquant reminder of its literal meaning).

But what is it exactly about the first line that demands the disdainful, exclamatory corrective of the second line? Here are some possibilities:

=you want beautiful ones-- but your own 'face' is 'worth seeing' for the sheer contrast with such beauty
=you want aristocratic ones-- how do you have the 'face' to (or, the nerve to; or, the gall to) aspire so high?
=you want disdainful ones-- but your 'situation' or 'condition' is one of humility and powerlessness
=you present yourself as a lover-- you, in the 'guise' or 'semblance' of a lover, provide a sight worth seeing!
=you aspire to be a lover-- it will be amusing to see how your 'plan', your 'idea', turns out!

And so on, and so on. The perfect verse for comparison: {161,1}, in which .suurat plays an almost equally protean role in making the verse slippery and multivalent.

But then, this verse is also the beginning of a verse-set; so it should also be read in conjunction with {189,10}.