Ghazal 195, Verse 3x


;Ga.zab sharm-aafirii;N hai rang-reziihaa-e ;xvud-biinii
sapedii aa))ine kii punbah-e rauzan nah ho jaave

1) it's disastrously shame-creating, the color-applyings of 'self-regard'--
2) may the brightness/'whiteness' of the mirror not become the cotton of the crevice-work!


;Ga.zab : 'A curse, calamity, affliction, woe, a fearful thing, an awful event'. (Platts p.771)


rez : 'Pouring, scattering, dropping, shedding, infusing, applying, &c. (used in comp.)'. (Platts p.611)


;xvud-biinii : 'Self-conceit, vanity, pride'. (Platts p.495)


sapedii : 'Whiteness, purity'. (Steingass p.654)


rang-rez = A painter , a sculptor. rang re;xtan = To lay the foundation for something. In Urdu, rang-rez is also the name for someone who dyes cloth. Here Mirza has used rang-rezii in the meaning of 'to cause to fade' [rang utaarnaa], and this meaning emerges from the fact that the whiteness of the mirror-- that is, the mirror's brightness and luster-- becomes dim and, like a wad of cotton, loses its shine.

But if the cotton of the crevice-work is assumed to be colorful-- whether because the cotton itself has been dyed, or because the sun-rays in the crevice-work are color-creating-- then the meaning will emerge that the color-scattering of self-regard makes the mirror colorful. But this will be a forced extension [of the meaning]. (367)

Gyan Chand:

He's composed a fine verse. sharm-aafiriin = Shame-creating. rang-reziihaa-e ;xvud-biinii = To do 'make-up' [mek-ap]. punbah-e rauzan = So that no lover would peek in through the room's holes, cotton would be stuffed into them.

Having sat down before the mirror, the beloved applies to her face various kinds of color and rouge. And after this, she begins to feel shame about appearing before her lovers, so she goes around stuffing cotton into the cracks in the door-panels. In this way the whiteness of the mirror that has helped in her self-adornment becomes the cotton of the crevice-work.

== Gyan Chand, pp. 373-374


MIRROR: {8,3}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

On the nature of a rauzan , see {64,4}; for more on the punbah-e rauzan in particular, see {87,4}.

I take this verse a bit more abstractly. When we look into a mirror, we should be able to see ourselves clearly. But our vanity and pride get in the way; what we see is always 'colored' by our own egotism. The danger is that we might end up not seeing ourselves at all. For the cotton in the crevice-work may look bright white, such that we think we're seeing the sky outside, in fact all we're seeing is cotton. Similarly, we may think the mirror is showing us in our 'true colors'-- but maybe it's not; maybe we're locked so firmly into our self-coloring conceit that we have no such insight at all. If this is the case, it's a cause for 'shame'-- an emotion we feel when we are exposed to the gaze of others.

Thus I take the center of the verse to be ;xvud-biinii , which is used both literally (for the act of looking at oneself in the mirror) and metaphorically (for conceit, vanity, pride). Fortunately 'self-regard' captures something of both senses.

But on behalf of Gyan Chand's 'anti-makeup' reading, there's {18,4}, which does seem to scorn the use of cosmetics.