Ghazal 347x, Verse 4


tim;saal-e naaz jalvah-e nairang-e i((tibaar
hastii ((adam hai aa))inah gar ruubaruu nah ho

1) the image of pride/coquetry is the glory/appearance of a wonder/trick of confidence/trust
2) existence is nonexistence-- if a mirror would not be face-to-face


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


naaz : 'Blandishment, coquetry, playfulness, amorous playfulness, feigned disdain; dalliance, toying; fondling, coaxing, soothing or endearing expression; — pride, conceit, consequential airs, whims'. (Platts p.1114)


nairang : 'Fascination, bewitching arts, wiles; magic, sorcery; deception; — deceit; trick; pretence; evasion; — freak; — a wonderful performance, a miracle; anything new or strange'. (Platts p.1166)


i((tibaar : 'Confidence, trust, reliance, faith, belief; respect, esteem, repute; credit, authority, credibility; weight, importance; regard, respect, view, consideration, reference'. (Platts p.60)


The image of pride/coquetry is a single glory/appearance of the wonder/trick of confidence. The state of confidence, which is a single wonder/trick, is expressed through the image of pride/coquetry. We call existence 'existence' simply because a mirror is before us; otherwise, in reality existence is a single nonexistence that is no more real than a wonder/trick of confidence, and is an entirely confidence-based and suppositional thing.

== Asi, p. 196


By 'image of coquetry' is meant the physical world. He says that the presences in the world are only a scene of the trick/deceit [fareb] of confidence, like the reflections in a mirror, which have no reality in themselves. It is a trick/deceit of the gaze, which is a ray of the glory/appearance of the mirror. Thus whatever we see in the apparent world has no innate reality [but is a reflection in the Divine mirror].

== Zamin, pp. 289-290

Gyan Chand:

When a person shows pride/coquetry about himself, then that is only the wonder/trick, or deceit [dhokaa], of confidence. He has assumed that he himself is so glorious, he has shown pride/conceit about himself, and has remained subject to the deceit of his own well-believing. In truth, he has no solid foundation. A person believes in his own existence through a mirror-- that through it his essence can be seen reflected. If this mirror would not exist, then there's no presence at all. Ghalib, like the philosophers of 'maya', has rejected the reality of existence. Here he has established existence as only a reflection in a mirror.

== Gyan Chand, p. 306


JALVAH: {7,4}
MIRROR: {8,3}

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

Whose is the 'pride' or 'coquetry'? It might be the pride of the speaker, who fancies himself 'real'; or it might be the coquetry of the beloved, who fancies her charms 'real'. Similarly, whose is the 'confidence, trust'? It might be that of the speaker, or that of the beloved, or that of people in general. The word nairang (see the definition above) strongly suggests-- though it doesn't affirm-- that the 'confidence, trust' is misplaced. That's about as far as we can get, until-- after the usual mushairah-performance delay-- we're finally allowed to hear the second line.

And then-- once more, Ghalib is playing with his mirrors! That gnomic, existential-looking second line offers at least the following possibilities:

=Only the presence of a mirror permits the vainglorious lover to affirm his steadfast, romantic identity.

=Only the presence of a mirror enables the solipsistic beloved to be sure of the charms that constitute her identity.

=Only the presence of a (Divine?) mirror enables human beings to know and feel their existence.

=Only the presence of a (Divine? mystically revelatory?) mirror causes human beings to exist.

Ghalib uses all kinds of mirrors, often as inscrutably as possible; for examples, see {8,3}. In particular, to have an 'idol with a mirror-forehead' sitting before you can both permit and justify self-regard, as in {208,6}. But the one I always think of is {41,4}, with its 'door of the mirror' open in 'six directions', so that the speaker no longer distinguishes between 'the defective and the perfect'.

Then as if all these mirror tricks were not enough, we are also left to decide exactly how to put the two lines together. As we emphasize different words in the first line, the interpretation shifts kaleidoscopically. Is it the 'image, likeness' [tim;saal] that's the key, since it acts as a 'mirror'? Is it the 'pride, coquetry' [naaz] that's the key, since it depends on the encouraging support of a mirror? Is it the 'glory, appearance' [jalvah] that's the key, since the mirror may be cosmic or even divine? Is it the 'wonder, trick' [nairang] that's the key, since a mirror can show astonishing and/or contrived effects? Or is it the 'confidence, trust' [i((tibaar] that's the key, since it makes people believe what they see in the mirror? I wonder how much time Ghalib would have spent in reflecting (!) on what he was doing to our minds.