sar-kashii hii hai jo dikhlaatii hai us ma;hfil me;N daa;G
ho sake to sham((a saa;N diije rag-e gardan jalaa

1) it's only/emphatically arrogance/'high-headedness' that shows wounds in that gathering
2) if it would be possible, then like a candle, the 'neck-vein'/pride should be burned



diije is an archaic form of diyaa jaa))e ; see below for discussion


rag : 'An artery, a vein; tendon, nerve, sinew, fibre; (met.) a confirmed vice; obstinacy, waywardness'. (Platts p.598)


rag-e gardan : ''Vein of the neck'; (fig.) pride'. (Platts p.598)

S. R. Faruqi:

The tone of the verse is sarcastic. On the neck is the wound/scar of slavery to the beloved, or of the rope that she has placed on the lover's neck in order to drag him around. Now it's only arrogance that this wound is glowing and manifest, because to make the wound manifest like this is a form of silent pleading or complaint, and obviously the beloved considers this silent pleading or complaint to be arrogance. Because how would the tyrannical beloved be pleased to have anyone make a plea or complaint?

But the lover says in a sarcastic tone, 'All right, this is arrogance-- now if you can do it, then the way they burn up (that is, light) the vein of a candle (that is, its wick), in the same way please burn up my neck-vein, please punish me in this way'. The point is that when they light the candle's neck-vein, then it becomes illuminated; in the same when they touch fire to the lover's neck-vein, then the wound will be more radiant-- or rather, one more wound will come into being. It's also possible that the whole verse might have been said in an extremely bitter tone-- that is, 'We say nothing, the wound in our neck, through the tongue of its condition, complains of your cruelty (or announces that we are your slave); now if even that displeases you, then please light our neck-vein and burn it to ashes'.

The affinities among 'head' and 'neck' and 'wound', and between 'candle' and 'vein', are clear. The rhyme too has been well versified. If the meaning of 'neck-vein' is taken as 'pride' (which in the idiom is the more correct meaning) then the meaning of the verse entirely changes, and the theme becomes didactic. Then by 'gathering' is meant 'gathering of the world', and the addressee of the verse is not the beloved, but rather the people of the world. That is, in the gathering of the world, when a man displays his wounds, then it's because his head is full of the breezes of arrogance and pride. If it would be possible for you, then burn up your neck-vein (that is, pride) the way that the 'neck-vein' of a candle keeps on burning. Then it becomes radiant, and also shows humility-- that is, it's radiant and also begins to melt because of weakness.

[See also {977,3}.]



Note for grammar and linguistics fans, about diije and kiije : In SRF's commentary he treats diije as a short form for diijiye , the polite imperative ('please give'). Nowadays that view, along with that usage, is widespread among Urdu speakers. But it appears that, historically speaking, diije in fact evolved as a form of the passive subjunctive, so that it corresponded to the modern standard passive subjunctive diyaa jaa))e ('it might/would/should be given'). Then presumably its resemblance to a contracted form of diijiye gave rise to the modern usage. A parallel case is that of kiije , which nowadays is treated as a short form of kiijiye but historically speaking was a form of kiyaa jaa))e . For more on this issue, see *the discussion on the Ghalib grammar page*.

Most occurrences in Ghalib's divan are of kiije , with only a few uses of diije . Even in Ghalib, there's not a single usage of diije or kiije that can't be quite well read as a passive subjunctive. And since Mir was much earlier than Ghalib, the odds of this older usage being reflected in his poetry are much greater. So I've translated the present verse with a passive subjunctive, and will do so in similar cases throughout my commentary.

That being said, however, most of the time the difference is very small. For the polite imperative can in any case be used in a kind of abstract, impersonal way. And the subjunctive, including the passive subjunctive), can be used as a very polite way to propose action, so that it resembles a polite imperative. Thus in practice, within a two-line ghazal verse it's almost impossible to tell the difference between the older and the modern uses.

So one might well ask, why go on and on about this? Well, we grammar fans always like to know what's going on, grammatically speaking. And we always keep our analytical tools sharpened, because in the worlds of Mir and Ghalib we so often need them.