gird-e sar phir ke karte pahro;N paas
so to ham log us ke aas nah paas

1) having made a circuit around her head, for many watches we keep watch/guard
2) thus, then, we people are neither her companions nor her neighbors



pahar : 'An eighth part of a day, a watch'. (Platts p.285)


paas : 'Watching, guarding, taking care (of), observing; observance, consideration, attention (to), regard, respect, sake; custody; watch or term of three hours; a guard'. (Platts p.217)


paas : 'At the side (of), beside, alongside, near, about (the person, &c.), in the possession (of); at hand, close by, in the neighbourhood (of)'. (Platts p.217)


aas-paas : 'Vicinity, neighbourhood, proximity; neighbours; companions; —adv. & postpos. Around, about, on every side; in the vicinity (of -ke ). (Platts p.47)

S. R. Faruqi:

paas = protection, guarding

In the verse there's nothing special, but Mir's special style is evident nonetheless. Having made a circuit around the beloved's head, the lover, for many watches, guards and protects her; in this there are two kinds of pleasure. By 'keeping watch' is meant that she should not meet with anyone else, should not mix in bad company. By 'protection' is meant that she should be kept safe from disasters and the evil eye. In both cases, 'to make a circuit around her head'-- that is, to keep making oneself a sacrifice for her-- is not devoid of pleasure.

Then, paas can also mean 'a watch'-- as in, 'one watch of the night passed'. In the first line paas is a Persian word meaning 'protection', etc. In the second line paas is a local word meaning 'near'. This kind of repetition in the rhyme is considered correct by Urdu and Persian poets. Their dictum is that if in the rhyme there would be repetition of word and meaning both, then the rhyme will be considered incorrect. That is, if in both lines paas had been used with the same meaning, then it would be considered incorrect. The critic Tusi has written that in Arabic such a rhyme is considered incorrect in any case. Shams al-Din Faqir's opinion is that in rhymes of this kind there's the beauty of 'adornment, rhyming' [tar.sii((].

This is true, but when the very foundation of the rhyme is on opposition, not repetition (because repetition is a condition of the rhyme), then it seems merely deceptive to say that 'if the sound would be the same but the meaning different, then the rhyme becomes correct'. But our venerable elders among metrical scholars, in imitation of Persian, have accepted this deceptiveness.

Well, leaving aside other points, the dry wit of this verse is also fine. One meaning of so to is 'therefore' as well; this is an additional pleasure. Between pahraa meaning 'watchmanship' and paas meaning 'one portion of the night' there's the pleasure of a zila as well. Then, among paas and pahraa and soto (meaning 'oh sleepers!'), there's another zila.



These three verses from Mir's jang-naamah were added by SRF to SSA, right after the end of the siin section. I've given them the number of the ghazal before them, with an 'x' added, because it's hard to say where they belong; these verses of course have no number in the main divan sequence of Mir's ghazals. The jang-naamah from which they come is on pp. 375-377 of volume 2 of the kulliyat; these three verses are from the first of two inserted ghazals that form its conclusion, and within that ghazal they are verses 1, 3, 4. Other such cases of insertion: {1807x}; {1853x}.

This is a fine verse for wordplay; there are all the possibilities mentioned by SRF, plus a slightly altered use of the idiomatic aas-paas ('vinicity; companion; around'). And there's a bit of 'meaning-play' as well, since 'to make a circuit around the head' evokes not only the rounds of a watchman and the 'making oneself a sacrifice for someone' gesture, but also the reverent circumambulation [:tauf] proper to a Muslim religious pilgrimage (for Hindus, the same kind of circumambulation is called parikrama ).

The second line hardly adds to the meaning at all, and is mostly a vehicle for bring in the aas-paas ('vinicity; companion; around'). Still, the wordplay is a real treat.