Ghazal 200, Verse 4x


dil saraapaa vaqf-e saudaa-e nigaah-e tez hai
yih zamii;N mi;sl-e nayastaa;N sa;xt naavak-;xez hai

1) the heart is entirely {an endowment of / intent upon} the madness of the sharp glance/gaze
2) this ground, like a reed-thicket, is extremely/'severely' arrow-producing


vaqf : 'Standing, stopping, staying, halting, waiting; pausing (over); being intent (upon), endeavouring fully to understand; — bequeathing for pious purposes; tranquillity; firmness; constancy; permanency; ...  a bequest or legacy for pious purposes, a religious or charitable endowment (as habitations for the poor, books for the use of learned men, &c.)'. (Platts p.1197)


nigaah : 'Look, glance, sight, view, regard; consideration; — look, aspect (of); — watching, observation, attention; — custody, care'. (Platts p.1151)


tez : 'Sharp, keen, acute; penetrating, piercing (glance, &c.); hot, pungent, strong, acrid; caustic, corrosive; fiery, passionate, impetuous, violent; swift, fleet'. (Platts p.351)


sa;xt : 'Hard, stiff, rigid, firm, fast; strong, solid; tight;... wretched; difficult, arduous, troublesome; painful, grievous; severe, intense, vehement, violent;... austere, stern, harsh; very cruel, fell; --adv. Very, intensely, violently, severely, excessively extremely, &c.'. (Platts p.644)


[His text has a different first line, which he considers almost meaningless.] Then, yih zamii;N too-- the Lord knows in which realm this 'ground' is! (368)

Gyan Chand:

The heart has a madness for being the destination of the beloved's sharp glances. Just as a bamboo-thicket is a producer of arrows, in the same way my heart is a place of arrows. The beloved's gaze is like an arrow. Since harsh/violent glances fall on the heart, it is an arrow-garden.

== Gyan Chand, p. 374


ARCHERY: {6,2}
MADNESS: {14,3}

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 For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

In what sense is the heart a vaqf (see the definition above)? Is it 'intent upon' the sharp glance, or 'endeavoring to understand' it, or an 'endowment' made by it? In a verse so abstract, it's really impossible to narrow down the meaning. (Compare {15,11}, in which vaqf is used in a similarly unresolvable way.)

But in any case, we learn that the heart is a 'ground' that is, like a reed-thicket, 'severely' or 'violently' or 'extremely' arrow-producing. Gyan Chand points out that arrow-shafts have traditionally been made from reeds (on reeds see {10,3}), so the analogy works well. And the word sa;xt is a true gem of wordplay and meaning-play; for an even more effective use of it, see {167,2}.