aag sii ik dil me;N sulge hai kabhuu bha;Rke to miir
degii merii ha;D;Diyo;N kaa ;Dher jyuu;N ii;Ndhan jalaa

1) some single/particular/unique/excellent thing like fire burns in the heart; if it would sometime flare up, then, Mir
2) it will burn the heap of my bones like kindling/fuel



ek : 'One, single, sole, alone, only, a, an; the same, identical; only one; a certain one; single of its kind, unique, singular, preƫminent, excellent'. (Platts p. 113)


sulge hai = sulagtii hai


sulagnaa : 'To be kindled, be ignited, be set light to; to light; to burn without smoke or flame, to burn clearly or brightly; to be inflamed, be excited, be roused, be irritated'. (Platts p.670)


kabhuu = kabhii


bha;Raknaa : 'to break or burst forth into flame, blaze up, break out; to take fire; to fly into a passion, become very excited; to be over-heated; to break, crack (as a vessel); to be dislocated, be displaced'. (Platts p.188)

S. R. Faruqi:

To call one's body a 'heap of bones' is a very subtle style, because by way of implication [kinaayah] it has also made clear that within the body all the flesh has melted away, and only bones have remained; and also that the body is of no importance, it's only a worthless skeleton. By using the simile of kindling/fuel he has made the feeling of contempt even stronger. In the whole verse is an intense 'mood' of pain.

In the first line, he has used the break [between metrical feet] after hai the way usually vuh or jo would be used; in this way tension has been created in the line. In the style there's melancholy, but also a kind of sarcasm, because there's no expression of sorrow that the body has become a heap of bones, nor is there any sorrow that when the fire would flare up it would turn even that heap into dust. it's a verse of great dignity.

[See also {293,7}; G{86,7}.]



The use of ek in situations like this is a superbly clever Mirian and Ghalibian device (though not theirs alone of course). Its range of meanings (see the definition above) extends from the dismissive ('single, only') to the greatly laudatory ('excellent, preeminent, unique'). They are both shrewd enough never to combine it with any other adjective; we never see ek achchhaa or ek chho;Taa or any such limiting construction, so that we are invited-- and compelled-- to decide for ourselves what it might mean. However, when the ek appears in a context with a negative verb, the meaning seems to be limited to something like 'a single'.

Here's a fine example of how aware Mir was of the expansive possibilities-- including numerical wordplay-- of an unadorned ek ; it's from the first divan [{336,8}]:

miir-o-mirzaa rafii((-o-;xvaajah miir
kitne ek yih javaan hote hai;N

[Mir and Mirza Rafi' [Sauda] and Khvajah Mir [Dard]--
how singular/unique/excellent these young men [habitually] are!]

In the present verse, the ek refers to 'something like a fire' [aag sii], which itself is, by no coincidence, ambiguous. It's not exactly a fire, but is it (now) 'merely' something minor, something a bit less than a fire? Or is it something 'excellent, preeminent, unique', so that it's more than just a fire? Or is it something 'certain, particular' with its own nature, something that's just a bit different from a fire?