Ghazal 348x, Verse 6


sho;xii-e ;husn-o-((ishq hai aa))inah-daar-e ham-digar
;xaar ko be-niyaam jaan ham ko barahnah-paa samajh

1) the mischievousness of beauty and passion is a mutual mirror-holder
2) consider the thorn to be without a sheath; understand us to be barefoot


aa))iinah-daar : 'Mirror-holder (an officer at Eastern courts)'. (Platts p.116)


ham-digar : 'Mutual, reciprocal; — together; one with another'. (Platts p. 1234)


niyaam : 'A sheath, scabbard, case'. (Platts p.1164)


Understand that the mischievousness of beauty and passion are servants and mirror-holders of each other; neither one is heedless of the other. Thus where you would see some thorn, consider that thorn to be a naked sword; and with regard to us, reflect that we too are present there, barefoot, because the connection of passion and beauty requires exactly that.

== Asi, pp. 211-212


They are 'mutual mirror-holders'-- that is, they keep making each other aware of their duties. Thus the pricking of the thorn of side-glances, and our being barefoot, necessitate each other.

== Zamin, p. 314

Gyan Chand:

The mischievousness of beauty is that cruelty would be shown to the lover; the mischievousness of passion is that the lover would be ardent for cruelty, and would feel pleasure in it. In this way the mischievousness of both is dependent on each other. Oh addressee, know the thorn to be a naked sword [te;G-e barahnah]; understand me to be barefoot for it-- that is, to be bent on martyrdom.

== Gyan Chand, p. 326


MIRROR: {8,3}

For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.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

The general interpretation is clear enough, and the commentators explain it well.

But what fascinates me is that the thorn is be-niyaam , 'without a sheath'. Thorns don't have sheaths, and there aren't any obvious metaphorical candidates for the role. If we assume that Ghalib started with the rhyme-word paa , then it's easy to see how he got to the 'thorn'. But there are lots of more obvious things that could have been done with that thorn. (If even I can come up with ;xaar ko nokiilaa jaan , or perhaps ;xaar ko tez tez jaan , then Ghalib would surely have found any number of far superior possibilities.) By denying the thorn a 'sheath', the line seems to turn it metaphorically into a sword-- which would be fine, except that then the 'barefoot' becomes meaningless (the disruption is simply relocated within the line). Ghalib often disrupts his own metaphors like this. It makes life more insecure, but also more thrilling.