Ghazal 217, Verse 7x


shor-e tim;saal hai kis rashk-e chaman kaa yaa rab
aa))inah bai.zah-e bulbul na:zar aataa hai mujhe

1) the clamor/fame of the image/semblance-- of which envy-of-the-garden is it, oh Lord?
2) the mirror appears as the egg of a Nightingale, to me


shor : 'Cry, noise, outcry, exclamation, din, clamour, uproar, tumult, disturbance; renown'. (Platts p.736)


tim;saal : 'Resemblance, likeness, picture, portrait, image, effigy'. (Platts p.336)

Gyan Chand:

The way for Ghalib a peacock's egg is a symbol of the colorfulness and flourishness of the coming spring, in the same way a Nightingale's egg is a symbol of the yet-to-be-created lover. Who, having looked at a mirror, practiced adornment, such that there is the clamor/fame of the picture of that envy-of-the-garden? This adornment will create some ardent ones; for this reason he has decreed that the mirror is responsible for this. The mirror is white; for this reason too he has called it a Nightingale's egg. (385)


MIRROR: {8,3}

For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices.

Since shor is masculine and tim;saal is feminine, grammatically the question is about the clamor/renown. But since the phrases are bonded into an i.zaafat construction, and since the clamor/renown is obviously produced by an 'image/semblance' of some kind, it's really hardly possible to separate the two nouns. So the question really goes both ways: 'which beautiful woman's clamorous fame (for her image) is it?' and also 'which beautiful woman's image is clamarously famous?' Naturally we're hoping for further insight from the second line.

And as so often, the second line refuses us all satisfaction: it starts afresh with a completely different pattern of imagery. What are the connections among the garden's envy, the image, and the fame in the first line, and the mirror and the Nightingale's egg in the second line?

Gyan Chand proposes one reading: that the beautiful woman uses a mirror while adorning herself, so that the mirror is complicit in her beauty. And her beauty creates or generates lovers among those who behold her, the way the Nightingale becomes a lover of the rose. Thus the mirror (as an accomplice) helps to create new (human) lovers, the way a Nightingale's egg is a means for creating new (avian) lovers.

Gyan Chand's reading can't make any use of the clamor/fame [shor]. But is it possible to do much better? Even if we confine ourselves to the second line, what do the mirror and the Nightingale's egg have in common? Should we think of a glass mirror (on this see {16,2}), so that both mirror and egg are breakable? Should we think of the mirror as 'opening an embrace' (as in {230,4}), seeking to curve protectively around the beloved's image the way an egg shelters the life within it? After all, we know that the mirror can seek to grow eyelashes (as in {17,4}), can feel agitation (as in {29,7x}), can play host to polish-lines that flutter their wings (as in {113,6}), can become the eye of a prey animal (as in {122,2}), can be capable of speech (as in {173,5}), and can do all sorts of other odd things. The mirror abounds in versatile imagery, but the verse doesn't effectively evoke or engage any particular lines along which the imagery could flow.

Compare this verse to its published cousin, {217,4}, which is much more successful. While {217,4} leaves plenty of 'mood' room for alternative readings, it provides the kind of richly interlocked imagery that forms a satisfying texture, and it also offers a kind of trajectory for the imagination (lament = world = dust-handful; sky = 'dust-handful'-lamenting-bird's egg). Perhaps that's why the poet decided to include the one verse, and not the other, in his published divan.