Ghazal 335x, Verse 5


nigaah-e diidah-e naqsh-e qadam hai jaadah-e raah
guzashtagaa;N a;sar-e inti:zaar rakhte hai;N

1a) the gaze of the eye of a footprint is the path of the road
1b) the path of the road is the gaze of the eye of a footprint

2) the passed-away ones maintain an effect/trace/footprint of waiting/'looking out for'


a;sar : 'Footprint; sign, mark, token, trace, track, vestige, shadow; impress, impression, influence; effect; result, consequence'. (Platts p.22)


inti:zaar : 'Expecting, waiting (anxiously); looking out; expectation; expectancy'. (Platts p.87)


The path of the road is a single gaze of the eye of the footprint. From this it's known that those who have passed away and acted as guides on the road to nonexistence, those whose footprint it is, are waiting for us. For the path of the road he has given the simile of a gaze; the cause of similitude can be length, access, and so on. The footprint he has supposed to be an eye, the gaze of which is the path. Thus the 'effect of waiting' of the passed-away ones has been established.

== Asi, p. 179


That is, those people who have already traversed the road have not left behind footprints; rather, they have left behind in the road a carpet of waiting eyes, the gaze of which is the path. The wait is for those coming after them.

== Zamin, p. 259

Gyan Chand:

a;sar = footprint. If the eye would keep constantly gazing in some direction, then this is a proof of its waiting for someone. Those people who have passed along the road have left their footprints on the road. The roundness of footprints is like an eye, of which the road is like the gaze. Why this continuous gazing? The people passing by are giving a sign of waiting. If the passed-away ones would be taken to mean those who are passing away from the world, then for whom are they waiting? Clearly it's for those who are coming behind them, the living people.

== Gyan Chand, p. 289


EYES {3,1}
GAZE: {10,12}
ROAD: {10,12}

For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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

The word jaadah is a favorite of Ghalib's; it's usually used in combination with a word for road or highway; on this see {9,4}.

The first line frames a clever little puzzle, and the second line resolves it nicely. The commentators are all agreed, and are content, and explain it well. The 'symmetry' rule of Urdu grammar yields two distinct readings for the first line, but in an abstract verse like this it seems that they both work to similar effect.

The whole verse is of course a mesh of wordplay about eyes and seeing, and about roads of passage; in the powerful final position, able to wrap it all up, we find the rhyme-word inti:zaar (from na:zar ), which means 'awaiting, expecting' because it really means 'looking out for, keeping an eye out for'.