dil nah pahu;Ncha goshah-e daamaa;N talak
qa:trah-e ;xuu;N thaa mizhah par jam rahaa

1) the heart didn't arrive as far as the edge of the garment-hem

2a) there was a drop of blood-- it congealed, and remained on the eyelashes
2b) a drop of blood was congealing on the eyelashes



S. R. Faruqi:

The verse's eloquence [balaa;Gat] is worthy of praise. The heart's real purpose is to arrive as far as the beloved's hands, or-- even better-- to encounter the beloved's heart. But in the verse the speaker has nowhere made mention of this; rather, he's said an unrelated thing: that the heart didn't arrive as far as the corner of the garment-hem. The real point is that in the heart there wasn't even the strength to arrive as far as the beloved's hands, or to encounter her heart. Exhaustion had made it so feeble that its longing was only to arrive at the edge of the garment-hem. But even this longing was not fulfilled.

The heart was only a dropful of blood-- it did come as far as the eyes, but it was unable to drop down on the garment-hem. If it had been an ordinary tear, then it would have dropped on the garment-hem. But it was after all a drop of blood; and it's a characteristic of blood that it quickly congeals. Thus the heart reached the eyelashes and paused; it congealed and remained there.

It's also a fine style that he has called the heart a drop of blood as though this would be a well-known thing-- that the heart is after all a drop of blood. Although it's clear that griefs have turned the heart into blood. Just as he's made it clear that the heart has been turned to blood by griefs, and that the cause of its being turned to blood is lack of success/access. The whole theme is pathetic [dard-naak], but in the tone there's not even a suspicion of sighing and lamenting. There's not even any intensity-- as though he's said something in the ordinary course of events. He's composed a fine verse.

But with regard to intensity of tone and uniqueness of image, Qa'im Chandpuri has composed this theme peerlessly in two verses of a ghazal:

nah dil bharaa hai nah ab nam rahaa hai aa;Nkho;N me;N
kabhii jo ro))e the ;xuu;N jam rahaa hai aa;Nkho;N me;N

[neither has the heart filled, nor has there now remained wetness in the eyes
since at some time we wept, blood has congealed in the eyes]

vuh ma;hv huu;N kih mi;saal-e ;habaab-e aa((iinah
jigar se khi;Nch ke lahuu jam rahaa hai aa;Nkho;N me;N

[I am so absorbed that, like the bubble of a [glass] mirror
having been drawn from the liver, the blood is congealing in the eyes]

But the aspect of the failure of the heart that is in Mir's verse-- in Qa'im's verses there's nothing of that rank.

Qudratullah Qudrat has made this theme very lightweight. In the second line there's embellishment [ta.sannu((] as well, and because the heart isn't mentioned the meaningfulness is lessened:

ashk ab aane se kuchh yaa;N tham rahe
la;xt-e dil mizhgaa;N pah shaayad jam rahe

[now, here, tears have somewhat stopped coming
the pieces of the heart perhaps congealed and remained on the eyelashes]



In the second line, the 'midpoint' placement of the thaa invites us to read it either as the verb for a separate first sentence in the first half of the line (2a), or else as part of a progressive verb [jam rahaa thaa] for a sentence consisting of the whole line.

If we think of a 'drop of blood', it indeed seems logical to think of it as not being able to drip down from the suffering lover's downcast eyes and land on the hem of his own garment. The physical behavior of blood-drops is being invoked.

But if we think of a 'heart', it's also easy to imagine that it would be seeking to reach the beloved, and reaching 'the edge of the garment-hem' would be a kind of definition of the minimum possible contact-- one that the lover always longs for, usually in vain, as in Momin's verse:

daaman us kaa jo hai daraaz to ho
dast-e ((aashiq rasaa nahii;N hotaa

[her garment-hem-- well, it might be long,
the lover's hand doesn't reach it]

In the present verse, the lover's heart doesn't reach even his own-garment-hem, much less hers. He wants to beseech her, he wants to detain her-- but in vain. He might seek for substitutes, for garment-hems that are (relatively!) more graspable:


But how much good can that really do him?

in the present verse, there's a notably dual possibility: are we thinking of simply a passive dripping down, or of an active movement toward the beloved? Its effect is to call attention to the 'A,B' structure of the verse, with two lines that grammatically and semantically are entirely independent. Of course, we're invited to make the well-established identification that SRF makes (heart = blood-drop), but we're not required to do so.

It's piquant to make the identification, but surely it's even more piquant to recognize that the identification is only the most probable answer to an eerie question: what happened to the heart? Did the heart vanish, and leave behind only a single congealing blood-drop as a trace? Or was the heart's failure sympathetically mirrored by the compassionate blood-drop that congealed on the eyelashes? Or did the speaker belatedly realize that there had never been a heart at all, and the so-called 'heart' obviously failed in all its movements because it was really only a blood-drop after all? Adding a touch of mystery does no harm at all to the central theme, and in fact opens it up in some very enjoyable ways.

Note for meter fans: In the first line pahu;Nchaa has to be scanned long-long, as though it were phu;Nchaa .