ham ve hai;N jin ke ;xuu;N se tirii raah sab hai gul
mat kar ;xaraab ham ko tuu auro;N me;N saan kar

1) we are the one through whose blood your road is entirely roses/mud
2) so don't you make us wretched/contaminated by mixing us in with others!



gil : 'Earth, mud, clay, bole'. (Platts p.911)


;xaraab : 'Ruined, spoiled, depopulated, wasted, deserted, desolate; abandoned, lost, miserable, wretched; bad, worthless, vitiated, corrupt, reprobate, noxious, vicious, depraved, profligate; defiled, polluted, contaminated'. (Platts p.487)


saan'naa : 'To impregnate (with); to rub in; to knead, mash, mix up (as flour, dough, earth, &c.); to rub, smear, stain, soil, defile; to implicate'. (Platts p.630)

S. R. Faruqi:

The interpretation of jin ke ;xuu;N se is not only blood flowing on the ground; rather, ;xuu;N can also mean 'murder'. That is, when you murdered me, then because of this your street became entirely a rose-garden. If in place of 'rose' [gul] we read 'mud, clay' [gil], then the interpretation becomes that my blood has flowed to such an extent that your street has filled up with mud [khich;Rii]. This interpretation is supported by saan kar in the second line.

In any case, the theme of the verse is the lover's dignity and his longing for distinction. He is ready to die-- or rather, dies most happily-- but he doesn't consent that his corpse would be trampled and ground down along with others. In this theme there's a strange and extraordinary ironic tension. Death is acceptable, and it's obvious that the meaning of death is that union was not vouchsafed; thus perpetual separation too is acceptable. And this death and perpetual separation is the fate of other lovers as well. Thus to die a collective death too is acceptable.

That is, as long as he would remain alive, all that treatment is acceptable that the beloved would impose on him and others. But after dying, he has not accepted this dishonor to his corpse-- that he would be given a place among the corpses of others. It's possible that this theme might have remained very close to Mir's heart, because he used it in various ways as long as he lived. In the first divan [{591,6}]:

lo;Te hai ;xaak-o-;xuun me;N ;Gairo;N ke saath miir
aise to niim-kushtah ko un me;N nah saaniye

[Mir writhes in dust and blood with Others
please don't mix in such a half-slain one with them!]

From the second divan [{815,8}]:

rakhnaa thaa vaqt-e qatl miraa imtiyaaz haa))e
so ;xaak me;N milaayaa mujhe sab me;N saan kar

[she ought to have retained my distinction at the time of murder, alas
thus she put me down into the dust, mixing me in with them all]

From the second divan:


From the sixth divan [{1898,7}]:

aage bichhaa ke ni:t((a ko laate the te;G-o-:tasht
karte the ya((nii ;xuun to ik imtiyaaz se

[having spread out the leather-dropcloth beforehand, they brought the sword and basin
that is, they did the murder with a singular distinction]

From the sixth divan [{1904,5}]:

saan maaraa aur kushto;N me;N mire kushte ko bhii
us kushandah la;Rke ne be-imtiyaazii ;xuub kii

[he killed us among other slain ones-- even my slaughter
that murderous boy did with a fine lack of distinction!]

The word saan'naa is very powerful and effective. but it's possible that to some 'delicate' temperaments it might seem cumbersome. It can be seen in Yaganah's poetry too:

miraa paa))o;N phislaa to parvaa nahii;N
magar tum mire saath naa-;haq sane

[if my foot slipped, then I don't care
but you were mixed up improperly with me]

See also


Janab Abd ur-Rashid has presented a number of examples of saan'naa , among which some are extremely excellent. For example, from Sauda:

ma((muur hai jis roz se viiraanah-e dunyaa
har jins ke insaan kii maa;Tii ga))ii saanii

[from the day the desolation of the world became inhabited,
the dust of every kind of human has been mixed]

Abd ur-Rashid also copied down, through Ahmad Mahfuz, this verse of Riyaz Khairabadi's:

te;G hii kyaa haath me;N qaatil ke thii
ay ;hinaa tuu bhii to saa))ii jaa))egii

[what a sword there was in the murderer's hand!
oh henna, even/also you will be mixed in]

Since I've seen this verse in the riyaa.z-e ri.zvaa;N , it occurs to me that it's possible that Riyaz's verse too might have been before Yaganah's eyes.



Has the lover's blood made the beloved's street into 'roses' [gul], or 'mud' [gil]? The two words of course look identical, in the diacritic-free form in which they're usually written in Urdu. The evidence is beautifully balanced. In favor of roses is the red color, the radiance, the traditional ghazal-world tribute of passion to beauty. In favor of 'earth, mud, clay' is the 'mash, mix up' physicality of saan'naa , and the sense of ;xaraab as 'polluted, contaminated' (see the definitions above). Mir has almost required our minds to go back and forth between the two very viable possibilities.

For further discussion of Mir's repeatedly expressed, almost obsessive hatred for any kind of 'mixing' of himself with others, see especially


Also, in the second line should we read tuu or to ? The former works well with the tone, and with the tirii in the first line. But the fact that it's scanned as a short syllable gives me pause. It feels and sounds much better to shorten to than to shorten tuu . In terms of meaning, it hardly seems to make much difference.

Note for script fans: The spelling ve instead of vuh seems to be meant to emphasize the long syllable that it here represents, and also its pluralization.