ab dekh le kih siinah bhii taazah hu))aa hai chaak
phir ham se apnaa ;haal dikhaayaa nah jaa))egaa

1) now take a look-- for even/also the breast has been freshly split open
2) then/again, by us, our condition/situation will not be shown



S. R. Faruqi:

The verse's realism [vaaq((iyat] is worthy of note, especially with regard to the fact that the thing it's mentioning (the breast's being split open) is itself non-realistic. But the style of expression is that of daily life. The breast has just now been split open, stop by and have a look. After a while we won't be conscious, or perhaps we'll have already died, or perhaps we'll have grown accustomed to the wound in our breast. Right now it's a fresh new thing-- that's why there's an ardor for showing the wound; tomorrow this won't be there. In the light of this style of expression, Western critics' depiction of reality (a topsy-turvy version of which Hali had wanted to popularize) seems meaningless and ineffective.



That little bhii in the first line reminds us that the normal thing to be ripped open is the collar (actually a shirt-opening); for discussion of this, see G{17,9}. The first line makes it sound as though instead of just the usual fabric-ripping, this time there's an extra spectacle: accidentally or on purpose, the breast has been torn open as well. Now is the time to come and have a look!

What exactly is the connection between the two lines? The possibilities depend on which part of the second line we choose to emphasize (a device I call 'stress-shifting'):

='then' -- we won't be able to show anything at all in the future, because then we'll be dead

='by us'-- in the future our condition will be shown by other people, not by us, since we'll be dead

='our condition' -- the splitting of the breast is the unique and perfect way of showing our condition, and it can only be 'freshly' done once, so we can't do it again

='shown' -- we've made this one effort to show our condition, and we'll never again be able or willing to make any such effort

SRF raises the question of 'realism'. Realistically, the speaker who makes such a statement ('my breast has just been torn open') must be dying, which is perfectly possible in the context of the verse. But since this is the ghazal world, there are other options as well. Maybe the speaker won't be dead-- he'll simply be bored, or blase, or annoyed, or ready to move on to new thrills. SRF praises Mir's matter-of-fact, 'realistic' everydayness in such a bizarre situation. Could we call it one more show of 'magical realism'? But really it's hardly worth raising the question of 'realism' in the first place; the only form of realism in the ghazal world is an avoidance of incoherence, haphazardness, and self-contradiction.

Note for grammar fans: on the 'passive of impossibility', see {48,1}.