Ghazal 226, Verse 6x


takalluf-saaz-e rusvaa))ii hai ;Gaafil sharm-e ra((naa))ii
dil-e ;xuu;N-gashtah dar dast-e ;hinaa-aaluudah ((uryaa;N hai

1) the {trouble/pains/elaboration}-{maker/apparatus/ornamentation} of disgrace, {heedlessly / heedless one}, is the shame/modesty of loveliness/grace
2) the turned-to-blood heart in the henna-smeared hand is naked


takalluf : 'Taking (anything) upon oneself gratuitously or without being required to do it, gratuitousness; taking much pains personally (in any matter); pains, attention, industry, perseverance; trouble'. (Platts p.331)


saaz : 'Making, preparing, effecting; feigning; —maker; counterfeiter (used as last member of compounds)... ; —s.m. Arms, accoutrements; apparatus; instrument, implement; harness; furniture; ornament'. (Platts p.625)


sharm : 'Shame, bashfulness, modesty'. (Platts p.725)


gashtah : 'Returned; turned; inverted, reversed; converted; perverted; changed; —become; formed'. (Platts p.910)


aaluudah : 'Defiled, polluted, sullied, soiled, stained, spoiled; smeared, immersed, covered; loaded (with), overwhelmed'. (Platts p.78)

Gyan Chand:

If after adornment and decoration shame would still be felt, then disgrace definitely occurs. Your hennaed hand has turned my heart to blood. After the applying of henna you might feel a thousandfold shame, but from its color it's clear that you've turned someone's heart to blood, and from his blood color has come upon the hands. In this in the hennaed hand the heart that has turned to blood is clearly to be seen.

In the second line both aspects are possible. The heart isn't present in the hand, The color of the hand is estimated through henna, that she has turned someone's heart to blood. The second aspect is that in fact the hand is in the heart. Even if the beloved would wish to hide it, it's not possible. (358)


HENNA: {18,4}

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

Well, something very abstract involving two multivalent i.zaafat constructions is going on in the first line. And just to create further complexities the line asserts that 'A is B', so that 'B is A' is also equally possible. Who could make head or tail of it, without an absurd degree of arbitrariness?

Under the circumstances, we have to be grateful for the relative clarity and simplicity of the second line. It does seem safe to say that the beloved is holding, in her red-stained hand, a blob of blood that once was the lover's heart. The beloved's hand is red-stained because it is smeared with blood, or henna, or both; on the nature and effects of henna, see {18,4}. This heart-blob is 'naked' because it's been removed from the breast that once contained it, and because the beloved's little hand isn't able to conceal it. (On Ghalib's remarkably consistent use of 'naked' [((uryaa;N], see {6,1}.)

Taking both lines together, it seems safe to say that the first line is a cause, or an effect, or a general principle, of the second line. But the interpretive possibilities for it still remains maddeningly vague and obscure. Just consider the word sharm alone-- is this 'shame' in the sense of 'disgrace, humiliation' ('You've caused us such shame!'), or in the sense simply of a commendable 'bashfulness, modesty'? It's easy to imagine variant readings involving the henna/blood on the beloved's hands and the question of whether she should feel any kind of (guilty or modest) 'shame' about this. For what exactly is the shame 'of' loveliness/grace? (A shame identical to it, a shame felt by it, a shame felt about it, etc., are all possibilities.) It's not at all clear whether the line would approve or disapprove, in either case. And then, compare {18,4}, in which the very use of henna is a cause of rusvaa))ii . This verse is a Rube Goldberg contraption with a few too many parts, and no really compelling way to put them all together.