dam-e .sub;h bazm-e ;xvush-e jahaa;N shab-e ;Gam se kam nah thii mihrbaa;N
kih chiraa;G thaa so to duud thaa jo patang thaa vuh ;Gubaar thaa

1) at the moment of dawn, the happy gathering of the world was, not less than the night of grief, gracious/favorable
2) for what was a lamp-- so it was smoke; that which was a Moth-- that was dust



mihrbaa;N : 'Loving, affectionate, friendly, kind, benevolent, beneficent, favouring, indulgent, gracious, propitious; compassionate, merciful'. (Platts p.1100)

S. R. Faruqi:

In the second line the wordplay of 'commonality' [muraa((at ul-na:ziir] is again interesting, especially because smoke is a part of a lamp, and is a shared characteristic of both Moth and dust. He's also very finely mentioned the qualities of the night of grief, in a style full of images; and in his expression he's made use of 'implication'.

Ghalib has versified the theme of this verse very excellently in the final verses of his ai taazah-vaaridaan 'verse-sequence':

G{169,6} [and extending through v.12].

Mir's verse is not equal to it, but the honor of primacy definitely goes to Mir. Mir also finely included the word mihrbaa;N , because apparently this is a term of address; if it would be taken as vocative, then the tone of the verse remains casually spoken, melancholy, and dignified. If mihrbaa;N would be considered to be a quality, then within the melancholy a sarcastic tone enters as well, and the tone itself becomes that of casual speech.

There's also the 'implication' that in cities, the scene at dawn is usually that smoke from the lighting of stoves rises from the houses, and from the sweeping of the road, dust hovers there. Thus the reading emerges that the beginning of the hustle and bustle of the gathering of the world, like the night of grief, is clouded with smoke and dust. In rhe 'gathering of the world' the word 'happy' is sarcastic; that is, that gathering that's called a 'good' one at daybreak presents a scene like that of the night of grief.

Another aspect is that the 'happy gathering' is in any case at least good enough so that even if its outcome would be like that of the night of grief, its prime can be full of hustle and bustle. But the prime that would arrive at such a pathetic outcome-- what is its excellence, and what its color and style? After all, everything is one; whether it be the night of grief or the gathering of joy, both are just the same.



This verse, like {45,1}, features an enjoyably swingy internal rhyme at the halfway-point in both lines (although here, more sustainably, it's a different rhyme scheme for each line). And the second line consists of phrases that perfectly correspond to its four metrical feet, which increases the sense of rhythm.

One tricky word is mihrbaa;N . To read it vocatively seems slightly forced, since there's no warrant for any 'gracious, favorable' person as an addressee, or even for any addressee at all. Yet if (as I prefer) we read it adjectivally, then it seems to become sarcastic, as SRF observes. Since the 'night of grief' notoriously isn't 'gracious' or 'favorable' at all, what does it mean to say that the enjoyable gathering was fully that much 'gracious, favorable'? It's easy to see how the elegant gathering (ultimately) generates smoke and dust, as presumably the 'night of grief' might also do. But why, other than sarcasm, might this be a sign of grace or favor? Is there anything going on besides sarcasm?

In view of the classic ghazal trope of returning at dawn to the scene of the gathering, we're expecting the second line to set up a contrast between how things were at night and how they are in the morning. But then the second line, in its primitive and thus protean grammar, actually offers unexpectedly complex possibilities. Has the lamp turned into smoke, has it vanished and been replaced by smoke, or has it simply been giving off smoke? And was there formerly a Moth where there is now a pinch of dust, or is the Moth himself being (metaphorically?) equated with a pinch of dust? Part of the problem is the uniform past tense-- all those well-positioned uses of thaa that sound so nice and swingy. Instead of clearly separating the before-and-after scenes, the single verb tense blurs them together.

Broadly speaking, the second line looks to be offering us two parallel halves: A is supplanted by B, C is supplanted by D. This show of parallelism makes it all the more piquant that the halves aren't entirely parallel. For when an oil lamp gives off smoke as it burns out, it can easily be refilled, given a new wick, and prepared for the next gathering; by contrast, the moth who has turned into a handful of dust is gone forever. Was Mir thinking in such minute terms, or might I be over-reading? It's hard to say; but there was certainly enough metrical space so that if Mir had wished, he could instead have used a candle (which is 'dead' at dawn, and thus is truly parallel to the Moth), rather than an oil lamp. Is there thus a kind of progression from the short-term, reparable 'death' of the lamp that has run out of oil, to the absolute, irreparable death of the Moth?