Ghazal 201, Verse 4


zahe kirishmah kih yuu;N de rakhaa hai ham ko fareb
kih bin kahe bhii u;Nhe;N sab ;xabar hai kyaa kahiye

1) bravo, {wink / side-glance}! that {like this / casually / at her pleasure} she's seduced/tricked us
2) that even/also without its being said, she knows everything-- what can you say?


kirishmah : 'Wink, nod, glance; looking languishingly through half-shut eyes, amorous look or gesture, side-glance, ogling, blandishment, coquetry (Platts p.825)


fareb : 'Deceiving, cheating; alluring, seducing, captivating, winning'. (Platts p.780)


That is, her side-glances and hints to me are such that I've been seduced; and the account of the seduction comes in the second line-- that is, in my heart I realized that without anything being said, she knew all about my love; there was no need to say anything. (225)

== Nazm page 225

Bekhud Dihlavi:

He says, all her airs and graces express the idea that she knows the state of our heart. So what need remains to tell her the state of our heart? (283)

Bekhud Mohani:

How can the signs/hints of the beloved's eyes be described [kyaa baat hai]! They are such that we are deceived into thinking that she herself knows our condition, and we remain without telling the state of our heart.

He has said fareb in the sense that now the lover is aware that she constantly goes around showing such attractions to everybody; in her heart there's no love for anybody. (394)



What a lovely, playful, subtly clever verse! It takes excellent advantage of the possibilities of fareb as meaning either 'seducing, captivating' or 'tricking, deceiving'. For more on the complexities of fareb , see {71,3}.

It also makes good use of the even more complex possibilities of kih as being either a loose connective meaning (in this case) something like 'since, because, in view of the fact that', or else a more general 'quotation' marker that can identify not only words spoken, but also thoughts entertained or ideas conveyed. In this latter sense it does the duty of quotation marks in English (or in modern Urdu) but a broader duty as well, since it can apply to indirect discourse as well as direct. For further discussion of such complex uses of kih , see the next verse, {201,5}.

Thus we're provided with two enjoyable readings:

=with her side-glances she has seduced us in such a way that she in fact knows everything about our situation, without anything being said (because we're so utterly and transparently smitten)

=with her side-glances she has tricked us into thinking (erroneously) that she knows everything about our situation, without anything being said (because her side-glances convey such an illusion of empathy and intimacy)

And on either reading, kyaa kahiye is made to work doubly, to brilliant effect. First, it works as an idiomatic exclamation of astonishment at her behavior, which is beyond all words (the inexpressibility trope). And second, it works as an actual question: in such a situation, what should or would one say? Perhaps nothing at all: on the first reading, there's no need for words because she knows it all already; and on the second reading, words would be of no use, because she's such a heartless conniver (as Bekhud Mohani suggests).

For more on yuu;N , see {30,1}. On bin kahe , see {191,2}.