Ghazal 192, Verse 4


mai-kadah gar chashm-e mast-e naaz se paave shikast
muu-e shiishah diidah-e saa;Gar kii mizhgaanii kare

1) if the wine-house would find defeat/'breaking' from/through the eye of the one intoxicated with coquetry
2) the 'hair' of the glass would act as an eyelash for the eye of the wineglass/flagon


shikast : 'Breaking, breakage, fracture; a breach; defeat, rout; deficiency, loss, damage'. (Platts p.730)


saa;Gar : 'Cup, bowl, goblet'. (Platts p.625)


shiishah : 'Glass; glass-ware; a glass bottle; a looking-glass, mirror'. (Platts p.740)


The eye that is becoming intoxicated with the wine of coquetry-- if in comparison to it the wine-house would be defeated, then the lines that are in the glass would become eyelashes for the glass, and with that eye the wineglass would see her intoxicated eye and become amazed. So much embellishment [ta.sannu((]-- and the theme is nothing at all. (216)

== Nazm page 216

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, 'If her eye intoxicated with coquetry would break apart the wine-house, then the lines that would be in the glass of wine would become eyelashes for the eye of the flagon, and with that eye the flagon of wine would see her eye that is intoxicated by the wine of coquetry and would become amazed'. (275)

Bekhud Mohani:

That eye that is intoxicated not with wine, but with the wine of coquetry-- if the winehouse would be broken by it, then those lines that would be made on the wineglass would act as eyelashes for the eye of the wineglass. That is, the wineglass would let down, as a curtain, the screen of the eyelashes of the wineglass-lines. That is, it would become ashamed and lower its eyes. In brief, the meaning is that from the effect of the sharp glances emerging from her intoxicated eye, lines would be made on the wineglass, and would be put on the glass and flagon-- that is, while she is there, no one would any longer even have any need for wine. (379)


He has given for a wineglass the simile of an eye, but an eye that's naked because it doesn't have the shadow of eyelashes. An eye that's naked can't hide its face in shame, because it is eyelashes alone that do the work of covering the eye. Now when the eye of the wineglass became ashamed, how would it hide its shame, when it doesn't even have any eyelashes? Thus with the breaking of the wine-house, the wineglass too becomes broken (it breaks-- that is, lines appear in it). Now that there are lines in it (that it, having appeared on the face of the wineglass), they work as eyelashes to hide the eye of the wineglass. That is, a mental mood (shame) influenced a bodily state. Such a thing often happens: a mental mood manifests itself in the form of a change in the physical or bodily elements.

In the light of this commentary the aspect of 'delicacy of thought' has come into the verse, but even now no special excellence has appeared. Because to give for a wineglass the simile of an eye is no very eloquent [badii((] or suitable thing. Furthermore, to declare a line, or some lines, appearing in a wineglass to be eyelashes is suitable neither with regard to form nor with regard to meaning. By hook or by crook one can give for a wineglass the simile of an eye, but the lines don't appear on the wineglass's face or on the lip of the wineglass, so that the idea of eyelashes would be able to be completed. Lines appear in the body of the wineglass, while the essence of eyelashes is that they would create shade for the eye, or would be able to do so. Thus this simile is very loose.

But there's still one aspect more. In the first line, please consider 'if'. It's clear that this is a conditional marker. That is, by means of it we make it clear that the utterance that comes after it is not real, but rather gives information about the possibility of the event.... That is, the eye intoxicated with coquetry may endure thousands of intoxications, but there's no assurance that it will break the wine-house. Indeed, if it would break it, then the lines of the wineglass will protect the wineglass the way eyelashes protect an eye. If the question would be raised as to how in the world the lines in the wineglass would protect the wineglass, the answer is that the thing in which lines appear is not in fragments, but is only crazed or cracked, and the possibility remains that if it had not cracked, then it would have broken into fragments. After the lines have appeared, then the possibility of breaking into fragments becomes less.

Despite this kind of hair-splitting [muu-shigaafii] about the theme of the 'hairline cracks' [muu] in the wineglass, [Nazm] Tabataba'i's view remains to a large extent correct. It's evident that unless the affinities are appropriate and the theme has depth [tah-daarii], the verse doesn't work.

== (1989: 314-15) [2006: 342-44]


EYES {3,1}
WINE: {49,1}
WINE-HOUSE: {33,6}

I agree with Nazm and Faruqi; this kind of thing makes even me tired. If one extreme of classical ghazal style is flat and boring simplicity, the other extreme is this kind of wildly obscure, convoluted, and unrewarding tangle of meanings. What's really remarkable is how rarely Ghalib strays unattractively far toward either end of the spectrum.

Compare {81,6x}, which also features a muu-e shiishah (and which provides more discussion of lines in wine-containers). Like the present verse, that one too features wordplay about breaking that has an affinity with the 'hairline crack'.