kyaa mai;N bhii pareshaanii-e ;xaa:tir se qarii;N thaa
aa;Nkhe;N to kahii;N thii;N dil-e ;Gam-diidah kahii;N thaa

1) how I, through scatteredness/distress of temperament, was connected!
2) the eyes were somewhere, the grief-{affected/'seen'} heart was somewhere [else]



pareshaanii : 'Dispersion, scattering, confusion, disorder, derangement, perplexity, bewilderment, perturbation, distraction; distress, embarrassment, trouble, misery'. (Platts p.259)


qarii;N : 'Joined, conjoined, connected, next, contiguous, adjoining; adhering'. (Platts p.791)

S. R. Faruqi:

The interpretation of the verse is clear, but the wordplay is superb and demands attention: pareshaanii (scatteredness) and qarii;N (near) are not devoid of pleasure. Then, the eyes are somewhere and the heart is somewhere else. Here too the opposition of scatteredness and contiguity appears. Because the eyes may be anywhere and the heart may be anywhere, but they're both housed in one single body. The eyes were somewhere-- this can also mean fixed on some beautiful face or scene. But that beautiful face was not the beloved's; the heart was lost in the thought of the beloved, and the eyes were fixed somewhere else.... The affinity between the eyes and ;Gam-diidah ('seen' by the eyes) is also fine.

Atish has straightforwardly borrowed from Mir on this theme, but he has composed it at a very low level:

dil kahii;N jaan kahii;N chashm kahii;N gosh kahii;N
apne majmuu((a kaa har ek varaq barham hai

[heart somewhere, life somewhere, eye somewhere, ear somewhere
every single page of my collection is disordered]

In Atish's verse, there's no justification for supposing himself to be a collection (that is, there's no creative logic); there's only an assumption. On this basis, to suppose heart, life, eye, ear to be pages of this collection, then to say that these pages are disordered, is not free of incoherence. In Mir's poetry almost all aspects of creative logic and style come together; thus even his ordinary verse seems overflowing.



The first line can be read, thanks to the multivalence of kyaa , not only as a question ('was I connected?'), but also, most enjoyably, as an exclamation or indignant repudiation-- 'As if I was connected! of course I wasn't!'. The bhii here has a special idiomatic, emphatic effect.

Technically, it could also be an affirmation-- 'of course I was connected, how could there be any doubt?!' This final possibility is actually amusingly ingenious, for after all, my various parts exist, they are accounted for-- and they are strongly connected by their shared pareshaanii itself ! Compare


in which Mir calls his divan a 'collection of scatteredness'. (It's not worth arguing for this interpretation to any serious degree, but it can't be ruled out; and isn't it fun sometimes to push the envelope?)