chhaatii se ek baar lagaataa jo vuh to miir
barso;N yih za;xm siine kaa ham ko nah saaltaa

1) if she had pressed us one time to her bosom, then, Mir
2) for years this wound in the breast wouldn't have pained/pierced us



saalnaa : 'To penetrate, pierce, prick; to perforate, bore, drill; —v.n. To prick, smart, ache, pain'. (Platts p.627)

S. R. Faruqi:

Between barso;N and saaltaa there's the pleasure of a zila [because the latter contains saal , 'year']. Mir used saalnaa in another place as well, in the fifth divan [{1753,6}]:

ve din kaise saalte hai;N jo aa kar sote paate kabhuu
aa;Nkho;N se ham sahlaa sahlaa talve us ko jagaate the

[how those days torment us, when we came and sometime found her sleeping
having caressed/teased her foot-soles with our eyes, we used to awaken her]

One interpretation (or one aspect) is also that if the beloved had pressed the wound in our breast to her own breast (that is, by way of sympathy, or perhaps with the intention that the wound of passion would occur) then we wouldn't feel so much stinging from our wound. Another pleasure is that we would feel not only a longing that we would press the beloved to our breast, but also a longing that she would press us to her breast.

It's also a fine aspect that the effect of once being pressed to her breast would have lasted so long that the wound in the breast wouldn't have pained us for years. It's worth noticing that here siinah means 'heart', and is also a word of zila with chhaatii . Janab Shah Husain Nahri has declared that in the Dakkan, saalnaa is usually used in the sense of 'to pierce, to make a hole'. If this meaning is considered, then more pleasure is created in the verse-- that it wasn't a heart but, so to speak, a needle or an awl that was continually making holes.

[Compare {711,9}.]



The adverb barso;N is another example of what I call 'midpoints'. It's placed in an enjoyably flexible position-- it can apply either 1) to the length of time the wound has in fact pained the speaker; or 2) to the (hypothetical) length of time that the wound would not have pained him, if the beloved had once embraced him. The first reading gives information about the speaker's actual relationship with the pain (it went on for years), and the second reading gives information about the (hypothetical) consequences of her embrace (the pain would have vanished for years-- though not necessarily forever). Does the choice of one reading or the other greatly change the verse? Not in this case. But the very undecideability means that our minds can't rest in one single reading, and the resulting mental buzz is a definite part of the pleasure of the verse.

The word siinah also evokes siinaa , 'to sew', which is used for stitching up a wound; this sense resonates enjoyably with the literal meaning of saalnaa as 'to prick, to pierce' (see the definition above).