un ne to te;G khe;Nchii thii par jii chalaa ke miir
ham ne bhii ek dam me;N tamaashaa dikhaa diyaa

1) she had grasped the sword; but longingly/daringly, Mir,
2) even/also we, in a single/particular/unique/excellent moment/breath, 'showed a spectacle'



jii : 'Life, soul, self, spirit, mind; heart; courage; disposition; affection, regard; strength'. (Platts p.411)


jii chalaanaa : 'To long (for), hanker (after), to covet; to put forth spirit or courage, to act bravely, to brave, venture, dare'. (Platts p.412)


dam : 'Breath, vital air, life; —a moment, an instant; ... —spring, elasticity; vitality, energy, vigour, stamina, spirit, mettle; ... —edge (of a sword'. (Platts p.525)


tamaashaa dikhaanaa : 'To show (one) a sight or spectacle, &c.; (fig.) to give (one) a trouncing'. (Platts p.336)

S. R. Faruqi:

For a sword too, they use 'to move' [chalnaa] and 'to cause to move' [chalaanaa] . The beloved had only just grasped the sword, when I 'caused to move' my inner self like a sword. And jii chalaanaa has two meanings: 'to desire from the heart', and 'to show bravery and courage'. Here both meanings are very fine and suitable.

Between te;G and dam there's also the pleasure of a zila. 'Spectacle' too is a word that forms a zila with the grasping of the sword, because the grasping of the sword and the slaughter of people are things of spectacle. That is, people gather to see them.

And death too is a spectacle, as Momin has said:

kiyaa tum ne qatl-e jahaa;N ik na:zar me;N
kisii ne nah dekhaa tamaashaa kisii kaa

[you slaughtered the world in a single glance
nobody saw the spectacle of anybody else]

By 'showed a spectacle' can also be meant that we ourselves, with courage and bravery, cut off our own head and created a spectacle: 'Look, here's how one sacrifices one's life!'.

The meaning of ek dam me;N now has become something quite different: that is, we didn't delay or hesitate-- in a very brief time, in a single moment, we showed the spectacle of our dying. Or we showed the spectacle in a moment, whereas for the beloved to grasp her sword takes some time-- and there's no telling whether she's bent on slaughter or not, whether she'll consider me worthy of it or not. In deciding all these things there can be delay. But we showed our spectacle in a moment/breath, very quickly, or suddenly.

[See also {696,5}.]



The excellent and beautifully exploited wordplay of jii chalaanaa is what energizes the whole verse. Of course as an idiomatic expression it here has an array of suitable adverbial possibilities (see the definition above) that are fully operative. But as SRF points out, chalaanaa is also often used for 'moving' or 'wielding' a sword. So the first line really gives us the irresistible picture of two fencers: one draws her sword, but the other responds with a flourish of his 'inner-self' or jii -- which is the kind of word that everybody knows and nobody can ever exactly define (but see Platts's attempt above). Together, lightning-fast, in a single intertwined moment the two would indeed make a 'spectacle'.

In the second line dam provides a brilliant complement, with its meanings of 'moment', 'breath' (with the sense of 'vital breath' or 'life' that echoes jii ), and 'the edge of a sword' (that of course evokes te;G ).

What kind of spectacle did the lover provide? Tantalizingly, the verse provides no direct information, though it's hard to doubt SRF's view that, one way or another, the spectacle culminates in the lover's death. (But see also the idiomatic aptness of the definition above.)