mai;N nau-damiidah-baal chaman-zaad :tair thaa
par ghar se u;Th chalaa so giriftaar ho gayaa

1) I was a newly-opened-winged garden-born bird
2) but from my home I rose up and went away-- so, I became captured



damiidah : Blown, blossomed, shot forth, opened out, expanded, vegetated (a plant); blowing, blossoming; sprouting; broken forth (as the dawn of day)'. (Platts p.527)


baal : '(P) Wing, pinion: arm' (Platts p.124)


baal : '(S) Young, childish, infantine, juvenile, immature, not full grown; puerile, ignorant, uninstructed, unwise; —s.m. Infant, child, boy, youth, minor'. (Platts p.124)


par : '(H) But; still, yet, nevertheless, however'. (Platts p.234)


par : '(P) Pinion, feather, wing, quill'. (Platts p.234)

S. R. Faruqi:

The affinity of :tair and par is interesting. In structure and theme both, this verse has influenced Ghalib's verse below:


By saying nau-damiidah-baal (one whose wings would have newly opened) and chaman-zaad (one who would have been born in the garden itself; that is, who wouldn't be a forest-dweller), Mir has created grounds for the capture. In Ghalib's verse there's a universal 'mood' that has a color/style all its own. That is, the capture was not a specially unfortunate fate, it can fall to anyone's lot.

Mir has changed his theme a bit, and has used it twice more. In the second divan [{840,6}]:

pachhtaa))e u;Th ke ghar se kih juu;N nau-damiidah par
jaanaa banaa nah aap ko phir aashiyaa;N talak

[we regretted having left home, for like one with newly-opened wings
we were not able to go again as far as the nest]

In the third divan [{1299,5}]:

bah rang-e :taa))ir-e nau-par hu))e aavaarah ham u;Th ke
kih phir paa))ii nah ham ne raah apne aashiyaane kii

[like a newly-fledged bird, we rose and became a wanderer
so that we did not again find the road to our nest]

In the present verse, the special feature is that the 'newly opened wings' and the 'garden-born' are both qualities that are proofs at once of strength (freshness, energy) and weakness (inexperience). The word par suggests that the intention is to emphasize the freshness and energy. But the second meaning is also suggested, that within that very strength, weakness was incorporated. Between baal and par is the connection of a zila.

[See also {254,8}.]



In fact the wordplay in this verse is spectacular. The Indic word par here definitely means 'but'; but of course the Persian par , 'wing', can't possibly not be noticed. Similarly, the Persian baal here definitely means 'wing', but the idea of 'newly opened wings' can hardly fail to evoke the all too apposite Indic baal , 'child, immature or ignorant person'. (See the definitions above.) And the presence of damiidah too reminds us that birds are caught in a daam , a 'net, snare'. This mesh of wordplay binds the verse tightly together, Ghalib's verse, by contrast, is powered almost entirely by the single potent slash of sa;xt .

To what exactly does that par apply? It's located at the crucial hinge point of the verse. Here are some possibilities:

=I was a fledgling, my wings barely had feathers yet-- 'but' I foolishly left the nest too soon, so I got caught

=I was 'garden-born', so I didn't know the ways of the larger world and the cruelties of the bird-catchers-- 'but' I left my home and ventured out anyway, in my ignorance, and naturally got caught

=I was 'garden-born', so I knew the ways of the garden-- 'but' despite my sophistication, I was unfortunate, and ended up getting caught

=I was a fine young bird, eager to try my wings-- 'but' instead of peeking cautiously out of the nest, I rashly flew right up-- right into the net

With a few cleverly crafted phrases, Mir has opened out a whole panoply of possibilities. Depending on where we place the interpretive emphasis, the weight of the verse falls very differently, and the tone is affected accordingly. I call this structural tactic, for want of a better name, 'stress-shifting'.