ba;hr kam-:zarf hai bah saan-e ;habaab
kaasah-les ab havaa hai to jis kaa

1) the sea is small-capacitied, in the likeness of a bubble
2) of which the parasite/flatterer/'bowl-licker' is now the air



:zarf : 'Capacity, capability; a receptacle, vessel'. (Platts p.755)


saan : 'Likeness, similitude'. (Platts p.628)


kaasah-les : 'A plate-licker; a glutton; a parasite'. (Platts p.974)

S. R. Faruqi:

This and the following verse are a verse-set [qi:t((ah-band]. The interesting thing about them is that here Mir has alluded to a scientific truth: that the water in a cloud is in reality sea water that through the heating of the sun has turned into vapor and assumes the form of a cloud. Ghalib too has versified this point:


In this smallish and apparently simple verse-set of Mir's there are also a number of verbal excellences. The dictionary meaning of kaasah-les is 'bowl-licker'. And since the sea is very much lower than the level of the land, its shape is like a bowl. Then there's the affinity of 'sea' and 'bubble', and of 'bowl' and 'bubble' (a bubble is like an inverted bowl).

[The discussion is continued in {12,6}.]



This and the following verse, {12,6}, constitute a small 'verse-set' [qi:t((ah].

Why the 'now'? It's inexplicable-- except that it points us toward the next verse for an explanation. In the second verse we learn why we might care about the capacity of the sea: we might be a cloud, looking to add to our store of water.