This one goes to the Urduphiles, out there.
A proverb was used in a newspaper headline: “Hukmaran Hosh kay Nakhun lain”. Literally: Government should trim the nails (nakhun) of sense (hosh), the Jama’at-i Islami. (Leaving aside the JI from this discussion) Meaning that someone is being stupid, or doing something without much thought, and should change? “Nakhun Laina” is to pare one’s nails.
For the life of me, I cannot figure out 1. Why does “hosh” have nails? Or why would it give those nails? Or why would it trim those nails? What is it about the nails? That is, wth does anything like trimming one’s nails have to do with anything like, being smart? Moreover, why is “hosh” anthropomorphized? My random guess is that there is some verse behind this. That, or Sa’adi. He is behind every non-sensical idiom.
Apparently, in English, “cutting nails” has some associations – Shakespeare name-checked that a few times. From a ditty cited in Dictionary of Proverbs: “Cut them on a Monday, you cut them for health; Cut them on a Tuesday, you cut them for wealth; Cut them on a Wednesday, you cut them for news; Cut them on a Thursday, a new pair of shoes; Cut them on Friday, you cut them for sorrow; Cut them on a Saturday, see your true-love tomorrow; Cut them on Sunday, the devil will be with you all the week”. This being the height of 1830 rhyme-fest.
Cut them in Urdu, you grow sensible?
Any help would be appreciated.
Here is Platt‘s translation of “hosh”:
P هوش hosh [Pehl. hôsh, or hush; Zend ushi, fr. ush = S. उष् (ओषति)], s.m. Understanding, judgment, intellect; sense, discretion;—mind, soul:—hosh uṛnā or uṛ-jānā, or hosh bāḵẖta honā, or hosh parāganda honā, ‘The senses to fly or to be lost’; to lose (one’s) senses; to be or become confounded; to become senseless or silly:—hosh pakaṛnā, v.n. To bethink oneself; to recollect;—to get sense; to arrive at the age of discretion:—hosh jāte rahnā, or hosh daṅg honā, v.n. To lose (one’s) senses, &c. (=hosh uṛnā, q.v.):—hosh sambhālnā (with gen.), To get sense, &c. (i.q. hosh pakaṛnā, q.v.):—hosh-mand, adj. Intelligent, prudent, sensible (syn. ʻaql-mand):—hosh-mandī, s.f. Intelligence, understanding; sensibleness, sense; wisdom:—hosh-meṅ ānā, v.n. To come to (one’s) senses; to come to oneself, to recover (one’s) senses (after intoxication, or fainting):—hosh-o-hawās, s.m. Sense and understanding:—bā-hosh, adj. Intelligent, prudent, sensible, judicious, wise:—be-hosh, adj. Without understanding; unwary, insensible; foolish, insane;—deprived of sense or consciousness; unconscious; in a faint; intoxicated; stupefied;—delirious;—dead:—be-hosh karnā, v.t. To stupefy, make insensible; to intoxicate:—be-hoshī, s.f. Senselessness; unconsciousness; stupefaction; intoxication.
And here is “nakun”:
P ناخن nāḵẖun (nāḵẖ˚ = S. नख+un = ūn = wan = wān = S. वान), s.m. Nail (of the finger or toe); talon, claw:—nāḵẖun-se likhnā, v.t. To write with the finger-nail (considered an accomplishment):—nāḵẖun-gīr, or nāḵẖun-tarāsh, s.m. A small knife, or scissors, for paring the nails:—nāḵẖun lenā, v.t. To pare the nails;—to trip, or stumble (a horse):—nāḵẖun-meṅ paṛe-rahnā, v.n. To be in (one’s) possession; to be lying in the pocket.
S**t I do, when I need to be doing S**t.
Update: I think, I have it: Hosh kay Nakhun lo: Figuratively, Get Some Sense: ‘Even something as trivial a nail clipping’ FROM hosh. Why Hosh is personified? I still don’t know.