dil se mire lagaa nah tiraa dil hazaar ;haif
yih shiishah ek ((umr se mushtaaq-e sang thaa

1) your heart didn't 'attach' to my heart-- a thousand pities!
2) this glass/mirror, for a whole lifetime, had been ardent for a stone



lagnaa : 'To be attached (to, - se , or - me;N ), to be joined (to), be connected (with), to be fastened ... ; to be or become fixed (in or on); to come to a stand-still; to be inserted (in); to be planted or set (trees, &c.); to be added (to), to be appended; to fix itself (in or into); to take root, to become rooted (in); to be settled (on or upon) ...; —to be applied (to); to be put, or laid, or imposed (upon)'. (Platts p.962)


shiishah : 'Glass; glass-ware; a glass bottle; a looking-glass, mirror, pier-glass, &c.; a pane of glass'. (Platts p.740)

S. R. Faruqi:

The style of implication is fine. Only through implication has the speaker said that his heart is glass and the beloved's heart is stone. With mushtaaq-e sang he's used the idiom lagaa very well. Having used the past tense, he has suggested that now that ardor too is finished. 'A whole lifetime' is an entirely realistic expression, there's not a touch of exaggeration in it; it too alludes to the fact that now life is over.

The theme of the ardor of the glass/mirror of the heart, Atish too has well expressed in a verse. But in his verse there's not the same 'mood':

diivaanah hai dil yaar tirii jalvah-garii kaa
mushtaaq nihaayat hii yih shiishah hai parii kaa

[the heart is mad, beloved, for your glory/appearance
extremely ardent is this glass/mirror, for a Pari]

In Atish's verse there's more verbosity-- but alas, that those who came after him were not vouchsafed even his style! Mir's throne remained decidedly empty. Only to the extent of having 'mood' do some verses of Nasir Kazmi and Ahmad Mushtaq seem to be true imitators (or creative followers) of Mir.

[See also {1039,3}.]



The first line looks even tediously conventional: oh alas, you never loved me, what a pity! A kind of throwaway line-- except that we know he will redeem it somehow, and that he's cleverly keeping all his options open.

In the second line, only through 'implication' do we know that 'this glass' is the speaker's heart. And only through the context of the verse do we know that the 'glass' is here not a wine-glass (the more common meaning), but a 'looking-glass' or mirror. Mirrors in the ghazal world are usually made of polished metal, but they can also be of glass if the poet so chooses. Ghalib too had both metal and glass mirrors at his poetic disposal; for discussion see G{16,2}.

The heart is a glass mirror because it's fragile and delicate, and always helplessly yearns for the sight of the beloved. And because it's the heart-mirror of a mad lover it's desperate for a 'cure' for its endless, fruitless suffering. Nothing but death can be a cure for such a life: thus this 'cure' can only be to bash one's head (or in this case, one's heart-mirror) against a stone and die. Mir himself makes the situation grimly clear in


How can we be sure that the heart isn't a wine-glass? After all, a wine-glass too contains a vital ruby-red liquid that is constantly pouring out of it; and a wine-glass too could be broken by a stone. The only way we can really tell is to go back and reconsider the first line. Then we realize that the desired 'stone' would have been the stony heart of the beloved. And she herself is notoriously fond of mirrors; she might well have chanced to juxtapose her heart to the speaker's heart, by approaching and making use of such a fine crystalline mirror. There's no way she could be thought of as juxtaposing her 'heart' to a wine-glass.

Then we realize something else both enjoyable and grim. As any first-year student of Hindi/Urdu knows, the verb lagnaa means basically 'to be attached, to adhere'. Its transitive form, lagaanaa , is the verb for putting up pictures on the wall, and similar activities. Even though you can be wounded that way [cho;T lagnaa], the wound is something that attaches itself to you and adheres to you and sticks with you. This case, however, is unique-- if her heart had 'attached' itself to the speaker's, the result would have been no no sort of 'attachment' at all-- but rather a sudden crash, as her stone heart smashed (deliberately? cruelly?) into his glass heart and released him into a welcome death. We only now realize that the speaker was longing in the first line not for some sort of romantic merging ('two hearts that beat as one'), but instead for a sudden liberating (and mystically superior) end to it all.

Note for grammar and translation fans: The second line is a 'since' case, a construction in which Urdu and English grammar really diverge. Where in English we'd say, for example, 'She has been here for two years', in Urdu the linguistically least marked and most common form would be 'She is here since two years' [vuh do saal se yahaa;N hai]. Thus the second line has a glass that 'was ardent since one lifetime' [ek ((umr se mushtaaq thaa]. That's so confusing and messed-up in English that even a deliberately literal translator like me can't stand to do it. As SRF points out, having thaa instead of hai locates the whole long-term process firmly in the past. This part at least I've been careful to show with 'had been' in my traslation. For more examples, see {485,7}*; {1201,7}.