Ghazal 199, Verse 5x


shafaq bah da((v;aa-e ((aashiq gavaah-e rangii;N hai
kih maah duzd-e ;hinaa-e kaf-e nigaarii;N hai

1) sunset is, for the claim of the lover, a figurative/ornate/'colorful' witness
2) that the moon is a 'henna-thief' of the palm/hand of the adorned one


shafaq : 'The redness of the sky between sunset and nightfall, evening twilight'. (Platts p.729)


rangiin : 'Coloured, ... of various or many colours, variegated; fine, showy, gaudy; adorned, ornamented; elegant, ornate, flowery, florid (as language or style); figurative, allegorical, metaphorical'. (Platts p.602)


duzd : 'A thief, robber'. (Platts p.515)


nigaariin : 'Embellished, adorned, beautified; — beautiful, lovely; — A beloved object'. (Platts p.1150)


Having seen the sunset-stained moon, the lover claims that the moon has stolen henna from the adorned palm of his beloved, and a 'colorful' witness is the sunset, which is telling of this state of affairs.

A second [meaning] is that the moon is a 'henna-thief', and that is a thief who has remained in my beloved's adorned palm. A 'henna-thief' is what they call the whiteness that remains on the hand when henna is applied, or that is [deliberately] left because of jewelry and ornaments. Calling this empty place, or this shape, the 'moon', he has made the sunset a witness to his claim. With regard to the 'henna-thief', the sunset's being a witness is extremely harmonious and fitting. This second meaning seems to be more fitting.

== Asi, p. 297

Gyan Chand:

duzd-e ;hinaa = For some uncolored spot to remain amidst the henna. Amidst the sunset, the moon seems like a 'henna-thief' amidst the henna . Whose henna? The henna of the beloved's colorful hand.

Now the poet has intended, along with the figurative [majaazii] meaning of 'henna-thief', the dictionary meaning as well, and has said that the lover has claimed that the moon has stolen, and made off with, the beloved's henna. The sunset has given support to this claim-- that is, that the moon really is a 'henna-thief'.

The meaning of the verse is dependent on both meanings of 'henna-thief'. If a verse like this would be translated into another language, then it will remain worthless [muhmal].

== Gyan Chand, p. 437


HENNA: {18,4}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

Gyan Chand here comes through most creditably. He makes exactly the key point: that the duzd-e ;hinaa has been used both idiomatically (the moon looks like-- or actually is?-- a pallid, uncolored spot on beloved's otherwise henna-ed hand), and literally (the moon at sunset steals its reddish tint from the beloved's henna-ed hand). Another 'henna-thief' verse: {436x,1}.

This verse, with its elegant duality of meaning (either the moon is undesirably white, or else it is culpably red), belongs to the set of verse that make snide remarks about the natural world; for others, see {4,8x}. But the natural world also cooperates with the lover, for the sunset itself becomes a 'figurative', or 'ornate', or 'colorful' (see the definition of rangii;N above) witness to the lover's claim. That final superb bit of wordplay is like icing on the cake. In my view, this verse fully deserves to be in the divan.