mar rahte jo gul bin to saaraa yih ;xalal jaataa
niklaa hii nah jii varnah kaa;N;Taa saa nikal jaataa

1) if we had just [gone and] died, without the rose, then all this disturbance/mischief would have gone!
2) the inner-self didn't only/emphatically 'emerge' [in death]-- otherwise, it would have emerged like a thorn!



mar rahnaa : 'To die; to be dead; to lie dead'. (Platts p.1025)


;xalal : 'Break, breach, chink, gap; hiatus; interruption; rupture; disorder, derangement, unsoundness, corruptness; confusion, disturbance; ruin; —flaw, defect, imperfection; damage, injury, harm, mischief, prejudice'. (Platts p.493)


jii nikalnaa : 'To expire, die'. (Platts p.412)

S. R. Faruqi:

The first line is weak. But in the second line, by calling the pricking of life a thorn he has made a very fine metaphor. Life is normally dear, but but to us life was a torment, the throbbing of the pulse pricked like a thorn. In the pricking of a thorn there's the excellence that although there's no great trouble in it, the distraction and discomfort of it are more burdensome than the pain of grievous wounds.

If a thorn is pricking him, a man can't rest comfortably, but neither can he really apply himself to any task. We were absorbed in the affairs of the world, but for us life was as if a thorn would be pricking. Such a person isn't incapable or an invalid, but feels a constant restlessness. He has construed restlessness as a ;xalal . The wordplay of 'rose' and 'thorn' is fine.



It's hard to capture the full flavor of mar rahte -- it conveys impatience, a sense of getting it over with once and for all . ('Gone and died' is the best equivalent, but since there's a real 'gone' at the end of the line, it does risk creating a false effect of repetition.) The versatility of ;xalal (see the definition above) works most enjoyably here-- it so well captures the whole range of irritating things, the general vexation of life (when you're in the mood to feel it that way).

The second line is cleverly framed. It plays on the fact that jii nikalnaa , for the inner-self or life to 'emerge', means 'to die'. But of course, for a thorn to 'emerge' has a literal, physical sense. There's a final burst of pain, then an experience of blissful relief. This is how the speaker would experience death. But he is also speaking pettishly, in a mood of irritation-- does he really mean it?

Note for grammar fans: The second half of the second line could also be taken as an independent clause ('something thorn-like would have emerged'); in this particular case, though, there's hardly any difference between the readings.