le saa;Ns bhii aahistah kih naazuk hai bahut kaam
aafaaq kii is kaar-gah-e shiishah-garii kaa

1) take even/also a breath gently/slowly, for very delicate/fragile is the work/task
2) of this glass-making workshop of the horizons



naazuk : 'Thin, slender, slim, delicate, tender, fragile; fine; light; brittle; nice; neat; elegant; genteel; subtle; —facetious; gracious; keen; sensitive, touchy, testy'. (Platts p.1114)


aafaaq : 'Horizons; quarters of the heavens; quarters of the world; regions'. (Platts p.61)

S. R. Faruqi:

This theme, with the very same images, he has composed at one other place in the first divan [{539,2}]:

har dam qadam ko apne rakh i;htiyaa:t se yaa;N
yih kaar-gaah saarii dukkaan-e shiishah-gar hai

[every breath/moment and step, take with care, here
this whole workshop is the shop of a glass-maker]

But the present verse is a much better one, because in it the word 'breath' has a special affinity with glass-blowing. (They put the melted glass on the end of a tube and blow, and in this way give it different shapes.) If the wind blows forcefully, then the glass things fall, or clash together, and break; and in the glass-making workshop of the horizons such extremely delicate work is done that even a sharp breath acts on them like a powerful wind. In {539,2}, by means of the word dam he has alluded to the breath, and dam qadam too gives a kind of pleasure. But both these things, compared to le saa;Ns bhii aahistah , don't have as much eloquence [balaa;Gat].

The interpretation of the verse is that when the possessor of insight looks at creation, then when he sees its colorfulness and convoluted delicacy he becomes amazed. Everything is moving by arrangement, nowhere is there any confusion; it seems that it's some extremely delicate and convoluted workshop. The possessor of insight feels that if he even takes a forceful breath, then all this will be thrown into disorder. Or perhaps all this is a dream, that at a small gesture can be disrupted and scattered.

Iqbal's verse below seems to be directly borrowed from the present verse. But Iqbal's verse (from baa;Ng-e daraa , part three) remains a failure, because of unnecessary explicitness and its style of direct address:

zindagii kii rah me;N chal lekin ;zaraa bach bach ke chal
yih samajh le ko))ii miinaa-;xaanah baar-e dosh hai

[move along in the road of life, but take a bit of care as you go
consider that some glass-factory is borne on your shoulders]

On Iqbal's verse the light of a verse of Qa'im Chandpuri's can also be seen to fall. It's possible that Qa'im too might have borrowed it from Mir:

yih dahr hai kaar-gaah-e miinaa
jo paa))o;N rakhe so yaa;N to ;Dar kar

[this universe is a glass-workshop
when you would place a foot, here, then-- warily]

The present verse of Mir's, and the above verse of Qa'im's, I have also given some thoughts about in shi((r ;Gair-shi((r aur na;sr . Qa'im also, in one more place, versified a theme resembling Mir's:

;Gaafil qadam ko rakhyo apne sa;Nbhaal kar yaa;N
har sang rah-gu;zar kaa dukkaan shiishah-gar kaa

[heedless one, put your foot down carefully, here
every stone of the roadway is the shop of a glass-maker]

Here Qa'im's tone of direct address diminishes the force of the verse, and the revelatory style of the second line also is insufficient to justify the phrase 'heedless one'.

Nisar Ahmad Faruqi has raised the point that if this verse is taken mystically, then in it allusions to paas-e anfaas and hosh dar-dam can be seen. But this point seems to be farfetched, because paas-e anfaas and hosh dar-dam are Sufistic thoughts and practices [of breath control]. With regard to them, no delicacy of the works of the horizons is proved.



This is really a striking verse, and the kind that stays with you. It's also an extremely original and unusual theme. I'm glad SRF has found some counterparts to give it context. The association of 'breath' and 'glass-making' almost makes it sound as if we ourselves might be the addressee; using our breath gently and carefully, we might almost be part of the glass-making process ourselves.

A verse in which our world is a kind of thought-making workshop:


A verse in which our world is envisioned as a chaotic, overthrown workshop: