Ghazal 321x, Verse 2


hai dast-e rad bah sair-e jahaa;N bastan-e na:zar
paa-e havas bah daaman-e mizhgaa;N kashiidah huu;N

1) fixity/'binding' of the gaze, is the 'hand of opposition' toward a stroll through the world
2) I am {in a state of having / 'with'} the 'foot of desire' drawn into the garment-hem of the eyelashes


radd (of which rad is a variant): 'Returning; restitution; rejection, repulsion; casting off, turning back, averting; resistance, opposition'. (Platts p.590)


sair : 'Moving about, strolling, stroll, ramble, walk, taking the air, airing, perambulation, excursion, tour, travels; recreation, amusement; scene, view, spectacle, landscape'. (Platts p.711)


bastan : 'To bind, shut, close up; to contract, get, acquire, incur; to congeal, coagulate, clot'. (Steingass p.186)


kashiidah : 'Drawn, pulled, stretched, lengthened, prolonged, long, extended; contracted, pulled in'. (Platts p.838)


To close the eyes on a stroll through the world is to spread a 'hand of opposition' (that is, a hand for turning back)-- that is, it is to make a stroll through the world undesired. For this reason, I have already closed my eyes and sat down with the 'foot of desire' wrapped up in the garment-hem of the eyelashes. That is, having closed my eyes and averted them from a stroll of the world, I sit struck by amazement.

== Asi, p. 173


dast-e rad = the hand that would not permit something to come near it. paa bah daaman kashiidan = to become aloof and indifferent toward something, to become detached and sit still. The meaning is that to close one's eyes toward a stroll in the world is as if 'the foot of desire would be caught up within the garment-hem of the eyelashes', and the relish of the world would be rejected.

== Zamin, p. 255

Gyan Chand:

dast-e rad = a finger of rejection, or a finger of objection. bastan-e na:zar = to fix the gaze. paa bah daaman kashiidan = to abandon coming and going. How would I take a stroll through the world? People raise their hand toward me in opposition, and their hand keeps me from strolling and enjoying the sights. I have caught up the feet of my desire for sight, in the garment-hem of the eyelashes. That is, I have renounced both strolling, and the strolling of the gaze. Asi was not able to understand the idioms of this verse.

== Gyan Chand, p. 281


BONDAGE: {1,5}
GAZE: {10,12}

For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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

On 'foot of' constructions, see {152,3}.

Why does Gyan Chand unnecessarily (and undesirably) import into the verse some 'people' who are admonishing or warning the speaker? I think he's been fooled by the structure of the first line into ignoring the basic Urdu grammatical principle of symmetry (that if A is B, then equally B is A). He reads the 'hand of opposition' (held up by others) as enjoining the 'fixity of the gaze'. But the much better reading (because it has much better connection with the second line) is the other way around: 'fixity of the gaze' is (like) the 'hand of opposition'.

The speaker has fixed or 'bound' his gaze; this is both a sign, and a means, of rejecting the pleasures of the world. The gaze is 'bound' so that it cannot go wandering off for a stroll. An obvious way to bind the gaze is to lower the eyelids. When the eyelids are lowered, the eyelashes form a kind of downward-facing fringe, like the hem of a garment. The hem of a long loose robe is something in which the foot (including the 'foot of desire') could easily become caught up or entangled-- or deliberately wrapped or bound up.

The verse also offers a nice set of body parts: the hand, the eyes with their 'gaze', the foot, the eyelashes.