Ghazal 347x, Verse 7


vaa;N par-fishaan-e daam-e na:zar huu;N jahaa;N asad
.sub;h-e bahaar bhii qafas-e rang-o-buu nah ho

1) there, I am wing-fluttering in/'of' the net of sight/vision-- where, Asad,
2) even/also the springtime dawn would not be a cage of color and scent


na:zar : 'Sight, vision, view; look, regard, glance; observation, inspection; supervision; — favourable regard, favour, countenance; — view, opinion, estimation; — intent, design'. (Platts p.1143)


Oh Asad, my net of sight/vision is wing-fluttering there-- that is, I have spread the net of my gazes-- where even/also the springtime dawn cannot restrain the color and scent; or, where even/also in the springtime dawn there is no scope for color and scent.

== Asi, p. 197


That is, I long for the sight of that one, the sight of whom cannot take place. The words par-fishaan , daam , .sub;h-e bahaar , qafas are for verbal affinity. And they have been brought in because the poet first gave himself the simile of a captured bird who would be confined in a net, then through wordplay with this captured bird he brought out the second line.

But a poet who composes ghazals usually first composes the second line, then brings out a line to go with it. Because generally the foundation-stone of the verses of a ghazal is the rhyme, and imagination/thought is bound by the rhyme. If it would be looked at in this regard, then the second line will be composed first, then through wordplay with it the poet would himself become a captured bird; the result is the same.

The meaning of the springtime dawn not being a cage of color and scent is that there there is neither abundance nor shortage, neither repulsion nor excellence; it cannot be found by the senses. Then in such a place to spread out the net of the gaze/vision-- that is, to desire the sight of somebody-- is fruitless.

== Zamin, p. 290

Gyan Chand:

I am casting the net of sight/vision in a place where there's not even a trace of color and scent, where even the springtime dawn is devoid of colorfulness. qafas-e rang-o-buu honaa = to be brimful of color and scent. In the verse he has shown his own ill-fortune, that 'in my field of vision, even in the season of springtime emptiness/blankness remains'.

== Gyan Chand, p. 307



For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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

The speaker presents himself as a bird; 'I am wing-fluttering' is unambiguous. (For other such lover-as-bird verses, see {126,5}.) If the bird is fluttering around, and a 'net' is involved, then most probably (in the ghazal world, and in the real world too) the bird is 'in' the net. The commentators seem to take it that the bird is itself casting or wielding the 'net of sight/vision'-- by longing or seeking for some impossible object of sight. But this reading can't make much sense out of 'wing-fluttering', or of the speaker's being 'there' where this vision exists.

Surely the bird is fluttering its wings because it's trapped in a net, not wielding one. It's caught in a net of 'sight, vision'; this sight or vision is of a world in which the speaker 'is'; it's a world in which 'even/also the springtime dawn would not be a cage of color and scent'. Uh oh, we think-- here's one more layer of inscrutability!

For it might be a fine thing if color and scent were unbounded and ranged freely, so that even the ravishing springtime dawn would have no monopoly over them, no power to cage them in; the bird might well be captivated, held captive, by the vision of a world like this.

Alternatively, the vision might be of a terrifying netherworld so devoid of color and scent that not even the springtime dawn would contain any; the bird might well be 'wing-fluttering' as it struggled to escape from such a nightmarish world.

It's the elegant versatility of the 'cage of color and scent' that makes the verse hum. For a cage may hold things back, in the sense of restraining them, denying them liberty. But it may also hold things in the sense of containing them, offering them, making them available. Compare {230,5}, in which with similar ambiguity the drab-appearing Nightingale is called a 'cage of color'.

In any case, that super-sensory (or sub-sensory?) world in the 'sight/vision' of which the speaker/bird is trapped, looms as a strange, inaccessible, grandiose dimension. Perhaps only the possessors of advanced mystical knowledge and self-transcendence can find themselves there. That world might offer the radiant jalvah of the divine beloved; or it might be a black or blank void.