ko))ii to aabilah-paa dasht-e junuu;N se gu;zraa
;Duubaa hii jaa))e hai lohuu me;N sar-e ;xaar hanuuz

1) some blister-footed one passed through the desert of madness

2a) it goes on only/emphatically being drowned in blood, the tip/head of the thorn, now/still
2b) he goes on, only/emphatically having drowned in blood the tip/head of the thorn, now/still



S. R. Faruqi:

In this 'ground', the rhyme-word ;xaar is obviously easy. But in the verses that both Sauda and Ghalib have composed in this ground, the rhyme ;xaar hasn't been versified very well. Mir, making good use of ambiguity, has created an extraordinary mood in the verse. Either it's the blood from the feet of the blister-footed one that has drowned the thorn-tips in blood, or else this is some other person's blood, and it's expected of the blister-footed one that when his blisters burst because of the thorns, then the blood on the thorn-tips will be washed away and the thorns will also be watered. In ko))ii to the suggestion is that other people too have passed through the desert of madness, but no one among them was blister-footed.

It would also have been possible to bring sar-e har ;xaar [at the head/tip of every thorn] into the line. For example, ;Duubaa jaa))e hai lahuu me;N sar-e har ;xaar hanuuz . But perhaps Mir gave up the idea because in sar-e ;xaar is more generalized, in the sense that in this way the word 'thorn' represents the whole class of things called 'thorn'. For example, in comparison to 'every man is anxious about what to do', it is more powerful to say 'man is anxious about what to do', because in this way reference is made to the whole human species. In the first sentence there's only exaggeration; in the second sentence there's universality.

In the 'passing through the desert of madness' there's also a suggestion that before the speaker, whatever blister-footed ones there were had perhaps not managed to pass through the whole desert, or else they had halted/paused; or they had gone back. Or (what's most probable) before crossing the whole desert of madness, their life had left them.

[See also {99,4}.]



In {99,4}, SRF provides a definitely less favorable opinion, and a slightly different reading, of the present verse. It's remarkable how rarely this happens.

Sometimes SRF seems to be reading the first line as one of those colloquial cases of the perfect used as a future subjunctive. The only reason to read it like this would seem to be an intuition about the larger context, since there are no hints at all in the line that we are meant to do so. Nor can I entirely correlate my readings of the second line with SRF's commentary. But then, that doesn't happen too often, either. But then when it does, sometimes we just can't figure out where the problem lies. He explains from his perspective, I inquire from mine, and sometimes we meet in the middle and sometimes we don't. This particular verse just doesn't inspire me to make great efforts in that line.

Note for grammar fans: For the second line I see two possibilities. (Of course, jaa))e hai is archaic for jaataa hai .) One possibility (2a) is a passive: ;Duubaa hii jaataa hai , 'only/emphatically being drowned', referring to the thorn-tip(s). The other (2b) is a kar-deletion: sar-e ;xaar ;Duubaa [kar] hii jaataa hai , 'only/emphatically having drowned the thorn-tip(s), he goes on'.