sarsarii tum jahaan se gu;zre
varnah har jaa jahaan-e diigar thaa

1) careless/carelessly, you passed from the world
2) otherwise, (in) every place {was / would have been} a different world



sarsarii : 'Easy, facile, careless, without attention or consideration, without due consideration; summary; cursory; hasty, hurried; trivial, trifling; —easily; cursorily; hastily, in haste; gratuitously, for nothing'. (Platts p.654).


varnah : '(contrac. of va agar nah ), conj. And if not, otherwise, or else'. (Platts p.1189)

S. R. Faruqi:

He has composed this theme in other places as well. In the first divan [{471,2}]:

rakhnaa nah thaa qadam yaa;N juu;N baad-e be-ta))ammul
miir is jahaa;N kii rah-rau par tuu ne sarsarii kii

[you shouldn't have set foot here like the heedless wind
but Mir, you, a traveler in this world, showed carelessness]

From the fourth divan [{1500,10}]:

gu;zre basaan-e .sar.sar ((aalam me;N be-ta))ammul
afsos miir tum ne kyaa sair-e sarsarii kii

[you passed through the world like the cold-boisterous-wind, heedless
alas, Mir, what a careless tour you made!]

The wordplay of .sar.sar and sarsarii was so pleasing to Mir that he also versified it in a Persian masnavi:

ay .sabaa gar suu-e dihlii ba-guzrii
ham chuu .sar.sar aah ma-guzar sarsarii

[oh spring breeze, if you pass by the direction of Delhi
ah, don't, like the cold-boisterous-wind, show carelessness]

But the truth is that what's in the present verse hasn't come in anywhere else, because in all those verses nothing has been said about the situation of the world, while in the present verse by saying har jaa jahaan-e diigar he's placed a whole world of meaning before us. 'In every place there was a new world'-- that is, in every place there was something new, there was something interesting that through its beauty, uniqueness, or elaborateness had a status [((aalam] of its own. If people want to praise something, they present it by saying [in Persian] 'it's in a class by itself'; but Mir, by calling every place a 'world' of its own, has pushed the idea one step further.

By saying diigar , he's also alluded to being variegated [digar-guu;N]-- that is, constantly changing, or subject to upheaval, or becoming ruined. Then, by calling the passing of a whole lifetime 'careless(ly)' [sarsarii] he's also alluded to the fact that the world is so colorful and wide and complex that to spend even a lifetime in it is the same as to pass through it merely 'carelessly'. Or if the passage in the Qur'an would be kept in mind where the Lord, mentioning some of his signs, says 'Undoubtedly these are signs for the thoughtful/attentive ones' [2:164], then the meaning emerges that the people who are not thoughtful/attentive (who pass carelessly) are not able to understand that in everything in the world there's a wisdom, a whole arrangement and order. He's composed a fine verse.

[See also {1232,2}.]



SRF explicates the didactic sense of the verse, and it's a clear and powerful one. But isn't there a passionately romantic possibility as well? The lover reproaches the beloved for dying-- for so casually, carelessly, inexcusably 'passing from the world'. For 'otherwise'-- when the beloved was alive (or if the beloved had been alive), then everything was transformed (or everything would have been transformed).

In the first line, sarsarii is excellently positioned. It can be either an adverb ('carelessly') or an adjective (perhaps a rebuke-- 'careless one!'). And in addition, just consider its range of meanings (see the definition above)-- from the casual and playful ('easy, facile'), through the neutral ('hasty, hurried'), to the reproachful and morally culpable ('without attention, without due consideration').

Are we also meant to hear in it an echo of the word .sar.sar , that 'cold boisterous wind' (Platts p.744)? As SRF points out, in others of Mir's sarsarii verses the .sar.sar is made powerfully and enjoyably present. Nothing explicit in the present verse activates the homonym, but who's to say it doesn't hover vaguely in the vicinity? After all, as those other verses show, gu;zarnaa is an excellent verb to use for the passing-through of a gust of wind.

In the second line har jaa can be either the subject ('every place' is what was, or would have been, a different world) or an adverbial place-expression followed by an invisible ghostposition ('in every place' there was, or would have been, a different world). In such an abstract context this may seem a small distinction, but in a poem eleven words long, every nuance must be considered and taken into account.

The strong, conspicuous repetition of jahaan is further emphasized by the jaa jahaan sequence in the second line. We're left in no doubt about where our attention should be focused.

Note for grammar fans: Here's an example of the clever use of varnah , with its two possible senses. It can refer simply to the past (things were different), or with the same verb can equally well be contrafactual (things would have been different). Ghalib too makes creative use of this conveniently double set of possibilities.